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While the inception of photography started with black and white manifestations, experimentation with color slowly started getting infused into the monochromatic images. Quickly, color photographs became the standard. Even though many photographers decided to stay loyal to the artistic essence of black and white photography, many more shifted to the refreshing and appealing color photography.
Technology has enabled us to try and test both the modes of black and white as well as color to decide for ourselves which one we like best. Post-processing edits have turned this task simpler. That being said, this easy process has also made it difficult for many photographers to decide which mode their photos will look best in.
It isn’t uncommon to find yourself stuck between the two. To make this decision easier for you, we have a few ways to help you decide which one to choose. Let’s find out.
Impact of Color on the Image
This is subjective. Even though we see in color, it is not always necessary to include color in an image. You would need to look at an image and decide whether color is a distraction or adds meaning to the photograph.
For example, color is vital when photographing a rainbow. The essential strength of an image of the rainbow relies on color. If that is not the case in your photo, you can consider switching to monochrome. This will help in emphasizing the other visual qualities of the image, thus making the image stand out. In black and white photos, you can focus on the contrast and use strong backlight to make the photo unique.
If the image has subdued colors, it is highly likely to look better in the black and white mode.
Mood of the Photo
A large part of the mood of the photo depends on whether you choose black and white or color in your photos. Mood is one of the abstract ideas that can be communicated through a photograph. This also lies in the creativity of the photographer.
The human brain can relate to the colors in a photograph. For examples, we associate the colors orange and red with comfort and warmth. Similarly, there are various colors that can evoke joy or sadness of the viewer. This can help provide cues to the viewer about the image and can help put perspective on the photograph and transport you to that place mentally.
Black and white photos can help in providing dramatic moods to the photograph and can make them look timeless since such photos are free of the restrictions that color places in a photograph. Additionally, black and white tones can also lend a mysterious effect to the photograph.
When the colors are removed from the photograph, the tonal difference becomes prominent. This tonal difference is detected by the presence of the shades of black, gray, white and their varying shades. A high contrast image portrays a lot of black and white and less of gray and the other shades.
To decide whether to select the color or black and white mode, is ins important to look out for the characteristics in an image that emphasizes the presence of contrast, light and shadow. If you can locate these, you can consider shifting to black and white for that particular photograph.
Texture in photography can be a little challenging to achieve. It takes years of experience and a trained eye to capture textures as you perceive them in the photographs. Enabling the viewer to experience textures in color photographs can be extremely tricky. However, with black and white photos, it isn’t a difficult feat to achieve.
For example, textures can be identified easily when you photograph wood in black and white. Human skin can also look more prominent and textured in black and white mode. In addition to that, subjects like stone, metals etc. can also look more textured in blacks and white mode. Directional light can help in enhancing the texture of a photograph considerably.
Deciding whether to select black and white mode or color can be a great brainstorming activity. If you are a photographer living in the UAE and are planning to arrange team-building activities, you can consider including photo-team building in the UAE.
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