Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm Not A Fan Of B&W (all the time)

I'm not a big fan of B & W, it's true.
 Maybe because in high school I took photography as an elective and we were given manual (old) cameras that only held film and shot in black and white. I would find the greatest light and colors for photos, but it didn't matter...it would be in black and white anyhow. 

I didn't like the inevitable shadows that it cast and the almost "dreary" look it gave my photos.

I rarely edit my photos into Black and White because of this...I guess I was scarred ;)

But there are times when Black and white can create an ambiance or mood to a photograph that would not normally be there. And times when it can "recover" a blown out photo or take ordinary into extraordinary.

I personally get sort of peeved when I see photos taken into black and white just because...as if switching it will somehow make every photo better. I don't think that is the case. I think some photos look better b&w, and others definitely not.

So, when is it right to switch?

1. When lighting overpowers a photo rendering it unusable...but maybe just the right b&w can recover it.

2. To get rid of background distractions and put focus on the subject intended.

3. When you want to accentuate shadows.

4. When colors or backgrounds do not coincide with each other...ex:. unplanned family photos where everyone is wearing something different and the background is not ideal.

5.To create a "moment" that needs a touch of whimsy...when the right black and white is done it can transform a photograph into something much more.

Of course these are just my opinions...

Some of my very favorite photos are black and white...but they were not just switched over just because...

So what do you think? Do you like black and white? Have something to add or take away from my reasons?
I'd love to hear!

I love Photoshop...but for some reason, when it comes to black and white, I prefer Lightroom. There is just such quickness to creating the right effect...because for me, I add, remove and add remove until I get the right tone I am looking for. The black and white here was created by me, with split toning to help reduce the black and white and add a touch of coloring.


  1. The black and white doesn't do the amazing colors in your bed any justice and I personally like to see the natural red in Eli's lips and cheeks. Besides that....what's up with the "all naturale" nature boy in the bed here? Put some drawers on him! lol

    1. I agree! I was hoping that there would be a comment saying the preference was color, proves my point! As for all naturelle, it was hot, and his underwear were washing:)

  2. Personally I love black and white images when they are done well. I agree that not every image lends itself to a good black and white. There needs to be a good amount of contrast, and an appropriate use of light and shadow or you get a muddy dull looking conversion. The best way to create a black and white image is to shoot with that in mind and not just convert later to try to save an image.

    I do love the way some black and whites create poignant timeless images. Meg Bitton. Emma Wood, Meg Axxelson, Ansel Adams, they each have a way of creating some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen.

    Of course, it's a personal preference for sure. I tend to like more dramatic, moody images so that's probably why I gravitate to b/w so much. Photography is such a personal journey. I think that's why I love it so ;)

    1. Thank you for your input! You do amazing b&w. I agree it is best to shoot that way, but I suppose for me I want to have both options later. Those photographers do it so well, yes. There definitely is an art to creating the right b&w. Perhaps, it just isn't my niche. I prefer light and color over it almost always. But in the right circumstance still love it. Thanks for your comments@


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