Black and White? Color? You do not know until you try?


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We all have different preferences when it comes to our photography and that means we are making decisions on what we want an image to convey to a person who is viewing the image.  Black and White vs. color really is not a major issue.

I happen to like black and white images.  I feel that the tones are more distinctive and the ability to isolate the subject from the rest of the image is something black and white lends itself to as well as the drama and emotion in certain types of photography.


Color on the other hand can vividness of the subject in the scene and make use of warm and cool lighting in ways that black and white cannot do.


What this means is that you as the photographer are the only one who can determine the look you are going for and we are fortunate to be in the digital age of photography which makes our decision-making a heck of lot easier.  It is easier because our cameras, whether they are point and shoot, Dslr, mirrorless, or phone cameras can all shoot in black and white and color and better yet because they can do that you can actually visualize what a black and white image will look like in your viewfinder or on your lcd screen.

Cameras today can shoot a Jpeg file in a variety of color schemes or in black and white.  Remember that a Jpeg is an image that is finalized in camera.  But if you set your camera to shoot a Jpeg and a RAW file, then your Jpeg can be in black and white and your RAW WILL ALWAYS BE IN DEFAULT CAMERA COLOR.


You also have the option in certain software to create what is known as virtual copies of your raw files which in turn allow you to try different looks with each virtual copy.  In this way you can choose the look that best suits the message your want to convey about the scene.


Because I like black and white as a first choice I do have my digital Fuji X cameras set to a black and white mode plus RAW.  This way I can see what the black and white will look like and still have the raw file to work in color or black and white on my Ipad Pro or computer.


In the end the choice of whether to use color or black and white for an image is subjective. Try looking at your photos in both black and white and color to get a feel for what works and what does not work. No matter which option you go with, make sure you know why you chose it. The color or lack of color in an image should contribute to its impact.



All of the images in the little slide show were processed from a RAW file in a variety of software products.








2 thoughts on “Black and White? Color? You do not know until you try?

  1. Elliot- Beautiful shots! I really like shooting in black and white as well. I think it brings attention to the rich textures of a subject. I also think that light becomes almost a structural feature in a black and white photograph. It can define planes and angles that you might miss in color. For portraits in particular, I think black and white photographs bring out the personality of a subject and the emotion of the moment. Thanks for the post.


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