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Old 01-29-2015, 09:00 AM
 
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I have always been a color person. Whether it be photography or the two tattoos I have, my preference has always been color.

But as I slowly get myself in photography, I am starting to wonder then I might want to compose a shot in black & white. I have seen nice black & white pictures, usually portraits. My mind can't connect a good scenery shot to black & white, but I think I taint myself int believing without color I won't capture the essence of the beauty of the shot.

When do you make a decision to shoot black & white? Or, do you always shoot in color and then use an editor when you think the shot may look good in black & white?
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Encino, CA
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For me, it always depends on what I see in post processing. After opening in Lightroom I'll first adjust the white balance of the photo, then I'll quickly, based on whatever photo it is, take a look at it with one of the preset B&W settings. If it adds interest, maybe I'll copy it and play around with it in B&W. If it doesnt look interesting, I'll just move on to doing my regular PP.

I never shoot photos with the intention of making them B&W. It just depends on if it looks interesting in PP do I consider making it B&W.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Self explanatory
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If the mood suits the picture, especially if you can get more contrast out of it in BW than color, like shooting in mid day sun.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:02 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
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I always shoot in colour in the camera and then convert in black and white in processing. Sometimes I already know that I'll want a scene in black and white when I'm shooting, sometimes I decide on black and white when I'm processing.

My decision on whether a picture will be better in black and white includes the following considerations. Do the colours in the image detract from what/the story/mood/feel I'm trying to focus on? Are there strong contrasts, shapes, textures that I want to bring out in the image? Since we tend to notice colour, strong colours in an image can overwhelm other details.

I'm not a big fan of black and white images where almost everything is an even midtone grey and nothing stands out. So I do look for strong contrasts when making black and white.

Some examples of such decisions I made to convert to black and white.

The blue sky here was quite clear and stunning. But I wanted to emphasize the white snow and the razor sharp snowline. In colour, the blue sky and the bright yellow/green grass fought with the snow. By converting to black and white, I was able to remove the distraction of the colours and draw the eyes in to the snow only.


Here, my focus was on the multitude of advertisements and the lines and shapes of the Tube hall. I didn't care about the individual pieces and in colour, the advertisements would be too colourful and the eye would try to "read" each of them. Without colour, the shapes and lines become more important.


In this scene, the logo and some of the letters on the sign, as well as some of the reflection in the lower right were quite colourful. But I wanted to draw the eye to the texture of the wall and the statues, as well as the fact that the urban canyon creates such areas of light and dark.


The trees, flowers, and cars in the background were quite colourful. But I wanted to focus on the bicyclist here. Since he was wearing light clothing, I knew a black and white treatment would help him stand out.


The Sydney Opera House really stands out in real life. The tiles are very bright. No matter where you are, if you can see it, your eyes will go to the white shining roof. I wanted to show that quality here.


The colours of the door, his tie, her dress, as well as the plants/flowers on the ground were quite prominent. But in black and white, they go away and the expressions on their faces come to the fore.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:55 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
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I always shoot in color in the camera and convert to black and white on computer if I want it Black & White. There are cheap or free editors which will allow this. In less than 5 minutes I went from the first photo (color) below to the second photo (B&W) using flickr.com (which has an editing function) where I store and show a lot of my photos.


Taken in January 2009:





Edited a few minutes ago:



Photography can be very flexible allowing the photographer many options. Some will like the above, some will not. It's a hobby for me...
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:59 AM
 
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i like the look of b&w at times. color just didn't work as well.

manhattan skyline from liberty park in nj

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Old 05-09-2015, 04:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metalmancpa View Post
I have always been a color person. Whether it be photography or the two tattoos I have, my preference has always been color.

But as I slowly get myself in photography, I am starting to wonder then I might want to compose a shot in black & white. I have seen nice black & white pictures, usually portraits. My mind can't connect a good scenery shot to black & white, but I think I taint myself int believing without color I won't capture the essence of the beauty of the shot.

When do you make a decision to shoot black & white? Or, do you always shoot in color and then use an editor when you think the shot may look good in black & white?
It's about contrast.

Some people turn a photo in black and white because it is too cluttered in color; that's a mistake. It won't look better in BW.

You'll have to study a bit of art, and art history to learn more about various subjects. Generally, it really depends on the subject and how it stands against the background/scenario it is in.
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 14,140,979 times
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I tend to shoot black & white in-camera, because my camera usually does it better than I can in post processing. I have my function button set up to switch between film simulation modes so that I can go from color to black & white very quickly. I often shoot in black & white when the colors in a scene are less impressive to me than contrast, form, or texture. For example, this scene was comprised of mostly white (the snow), a dark green that was nearly black (the trees), and a deep blue sky. The sky color was beautiful, but it was so brilliant that it would have distracted from the light playing on the snow and the ski tracks, which is where I wanted the viewer's focus to be.



In all of these, the colors weren't strong or interesting enough and probably would have only drawn some attention away from the shapes, texture, or contrast.







Attached Thumbnails
Black & white photography - when to you opt for it over color?-dscf6717copycrop.jpg  
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:00 AM
 
70,940 posts, read 71,279,516 times
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i find when i shoot black and white i have to pay a lot more detail to the composition since bright vivid colors do not make up for some other areas you may have dropped the ball on.

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Old 05-10-2015, 05:00 PM
 
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I havent thought about B&W in years. It's only the B&W thread here on CD that made me even want to play like it was still using Tri X

The only time I consciously switched to B&W was when I went to Dachau Concentration Camp - Tours & Tickets | Viator That place of horror didn't deserve color.

Unfortunately, I only have one roll of film that I shot on my tour. My back-up camera, an older EOS A2E, loaded with B&W was stolen by a group of children at the Munich Bahnhof!
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