Monthly Archives: October 2014

Color versus Black and White

So what makes a photo great in color or black and white? I’ve found that both should, of course, have a good composition. But sometimes color should perhaps be the main focal point, like a photo of fall colors. In a black and white photo, all of the color has been removed which makes us focus more on the composition, shapes, values and visual interest.

I try to compose a photo with shapes and textures that make for a more abstract image, with broad areas of values and lots of grays. For some reason, the photos I choose to keep in color tend to be less abstract and more about a subject, like a particular season or if someone is wearing a bright color. It looks strange to me to see photos of tropical places in black and white because it’s so much about warm weather, bright colors and a very particular light.

I found some interesting takes on the question of whether a photo should be in color or black and white:

  • If color plays no importance for the strength of the image, it should be in black and white.
  • A black and white image typically portrays emotions better over a color one.
  • A stronger tonal contrast sets itself up well for a black and white image. It allows you to fill in the rest of the blanks with your mind.
  • Color should add a point of visual interest through the image, enhancing upon what is there.

We almost missed the sign for the farm at ├×orvaldseyri where there is a dormant volcano. It took about and hour to walk to the volcano, fifteen minutes to ascend to the top of the volcano and just a few minutes to decide to go back down. I'm not afraid of heights, but this big crater was so deep and scary!

We almost missed the sign for the farm at ├×orvaldseyri where there is a dormant volcano. It took about and hour to walk to the volcano, fifteen minutes to ascend to the top of the volcano and just a few minutes to decide to go back down. I'm not afraid of heights, but this big crater was so deep and scary!

I think it’s really a personal decision. For me, if the color image doesn’t really say anything or need its colors to convey a certain message, I just think that maybe it would be better in black and white. I believe the composition is the most important part of the image, as well as a broad range of values and angles. Perhaps this composition works well in both color and black and white.

Posted in Abstraction Tagged , , , |