Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Black and White vs. Color Photographs with tips for the beginners.

The history of photography began with monochrome. There is nothing more classic than black and white photography. But modern photographers can opt for color or black and white images.

Is there an answer to the question: “What is better – color or black and white photography”?

Let’s appeal to the authority.

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”

― Ted Grant.

So you can suggest that black and white photography is better, can’t you?

But here’s another opinion: “One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty.” – Paul Outerbridge.

Isn’t color photography better then?

Before making a choice let’s think about benefits of color and benefits of black and white.

In almost every image color catches your eye first. A viewer figures the time from the colors: orange-yellow-brown autumn image, white-blue winter image… A photo’s color scheme helps to capture the mood: a cold tone can evoke a feeling of sadness, a warm tone – a feeling of joy.

Use color images when color is a key element in your story. A photograph of a rainbow, for example, probably benefits from vivid colors.

Black and white images appear to be timeless.  If you remove the color it will be more difficult to put an exact date on a photo. A lack of color in a photo helps to accentuate the light and shadows, forms and texture of the image.

Use black and white photography if you want to concentrate on the image itself, rather than the color.

There is no universal rule how to shoot different subjects.

People – Photos of people can be beautiful both in color and monochrome. The choice of whether to use color or black and white for an image is subjective.

 Still Lives – Both color and black and white images can be beautiful. Monochrome helps you to achieve the sense of timelessness, color can add mood and life to the image.











Landscapes – color photography works best on sunny days and in the cases when you want to demonstrate emotional context associated with the colors. Black and white photography works when you want to draw the viewer’s attention more to shapes and lines or when you have an image with muted colors (for example, on a snowy day).







Night – color surely works best because the black background enhances the other colors in the image.

Buildings – Black and white image helps to show the details of the proportion, the sharp outlines. But the location must be considered. Skyscrapers in the megacity could be best in black and white but the old homes on the sea coast are best captured in color.

Nowadays we can shoot in black-and-white or in color. Both have their pros and cons. It’s only your choice. Generally speaking, you can shoot in color and edit your photos later if necessary.

What’s your opinion on the subject of black and white vs color for photography? When do you think it is better to use either?

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