Well, so far we have been discussing on the basics of the photography, and I hope most of you found it useful. This week, I want to touch upon a totally different topic. This week it will be about Black & White Photography. Well, I feel almost all the pictures we take these days from a digital camera or a mobile phone are in colour, but later we do covert them into Black & White. This is what I do too. But today we will discuss on why and when one needs to convert them to B&W. Many times I have seen people just converting a beautiful colour picture to B&W and ruining it to an uninteresting monochrome. So let’s check when we need B&W?
Check the above two pictures. The left one is a taken in colour and the right converted to B&W. This picture need not be in colour at all. This kind of situation begs for B&W conversion.
Here is my daughter feeling sleepy or “daydreaming”. To support my story it needed some softer output and I thought the B&W would work well. What you think?
Here even though the colour version is also acceptable, I feel the B&W looks much cleaner. In this photo, the rim lighting on the deer is very attractive and the B&W enhances it.
Check the above two pictures, there is a beautiful sky, but my intention in this pic was to show the silhouette of the statue, so opted for B&W version. Silhouettes work well with monochromes.
It was an independence day of India and found snacks on the wheels, the interesting thing was the Indian flag. It was just an instant street photography. But when I checked the output at home it was not impressive at all, my story was not evident at all. Then I converted it to B&W. I feel the converted version tells the story better.
Whenever you have a photograph with gradual shades and light, I think there is an opportunity to go for a B&W. Monochromes make viewer’s eyes to appreciate the shades of grey without the distractions.
I believe here, B&W gives better depth to the image and the drama to the Flatiron building. Although I could have created the similar effect on colour version too.
Casual street shot here, if you check the first image, your eyes will roam everywhere especially the red bus frame in the back. On the B&W version, only the intended subject will be highlighted. I like the B&W a much better version.
When the given scene is without colours, process it as a B&W, the colour version will not be interesting as there is colour component grab the attention.
If you have a grainy picture, its a good candidate for B&W. In B&W version even an overexposed picture looks good. You can salvage your ruined pictures by converting them to B&W.
Here is another failed picture, converted into B&W and I am sure you will like this version. You can present the “calmness” with the B&W better.
Check the below pictures, these are mandatory B&Ws as there is no point in showing them in colour.
But now an important question, Can I convert any picture to B&W? The answer is, “a big No”. Some pictures are meant to be displayed in colour. When your subject is vivid in colour why would you want to remove the charm? Do the conversion only when needed. Please check the below pictures.
When you have a perfect colourful picture, don’t simply ruin it by converting to B&W. Flowers are beautiful because of their colours and the details in them. B&W will never do justice to the beauty of a flower.
Another example of how an irrational conversion destroys the picture. Some pictures need to be in colour. You always enhance the selling point of a picture.
Again a colourful picture was ruined by conversion.
So, make a thoughtful decision while you convert a picture to B&W. But please note there are some photographers who specifically work for B&W pictures. This article is not applicable to them. Here we are talking about general everyday photography. Hope it all made sense and you are going to take a good decision next time you think about a B&W. Please make sure to check out my earlier sessions here. Have a question? Post it below.
- Post atleast one or two pictures, keeping today’s topic of “Black & Whites” in mind. Apply all the things we learnt in the previous sessions. (New or old photos accepted!). You may also add the original colour version too if you have
- Let me know type of camera(mobile, DSLR, point and shoot)
- Try to put EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) so that I can comment better unless you shot the picture on the mobile phone.
- Add a tag ‘XDrivePhoto’
- Add a pingback to this post. (Basically, copy the URL of this post, and paste to your post. (Anywhere)
- Title the post as “XDrive Photo Lesson – 10 – Black & Whites”
Your ping-backs may not appear immediately as I have to enable them later. I will check your post, and I will comment on your post itself. I will post selected contribution links to this post later so that others can also see and learn from them. (Please note there is no time limit for your contributions, you can post them anytime, I will respond to them as you contribute. You can also make more than one contribution to the same topic)
Although these lessons are geared towards newbies, expert photographers also welcomed heartily. I need to learn too! There are no teachers here everyone is learning.
Cheers and Happy clicking!