Black and white or colour ?

The question of whether to show your photographs ( whether to you alone or the world) in colour or black and white seems to be a vexed problem for many.

Happily I have a very simple answer, which I’ll come onto in a bit.

If you shoot in raw, you can put your mind in neutral at the picture taking stage as to whether you’re going to be finally producing a colour or black and white picture.

But if you’re making jpegs directly you have to decide which way to go. (One of the reasons I wouldn’t want a Leica monochrome is that your choices are made for you).

The secret is to ask yourself a simple question: will converting this picture to colour add anything ? With street photography it rarely does.

It’s all a matter of highlighting your main subject(s). The street environment is usually cluttered and a riot of colours competing for your attention. Your job is often to cut away at this mess and transforming to black and white often achieves this at the press of a button.

Similarly you may have a picture crying out for all the glorious colours to be mashed together. Making it black and white would be a sin.

There is a saying that goes as follows “when you photograph a person in colour you show their clothes. When you photograph them in black and white you show their soul”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top