How to decide if a photo should be color or black and white

Apr 30, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How to decide if a photo should be color or black and white

Apr 30, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Sometimes, it’s not so easy to decide whether a photo should be in color or black and white, especially if you’re still new to photography. So, how do you know whether you should leave it in color or convert it to black and white before delivering the photo to a client? In this video from Denae & Andrew, you’ll hear some thoughts and tips that could help you make a decision.

YouTube video

In the video, Andrew takes you through some of his images and his thought process about leaving them in color or making them black and white.

Put simply, you should choose color when it’s obviously the thing that pops out the most in the photo. If color helps to separate the subject, you should definitely leave it.

On the other hand, if color is just a distraction from the subject, the photo will look better in black and white. Also, you can isolate subjects with lines, shades and contrasting shapes rather than by using color – in this case, black and white will work better, too.

Essentially, some photos work well in both version, and this is when you should rely on your personal preference and taste. Here you can find some additional tips on how to make the decision. What can take your black and white photos to a higher level is planning ahead. For me personally, it’s still difficult to see in black and white, but you can practice it to make sure that photos will look great once you convert them.

How do you decide whether you should leave the photo in color or convert it to black and white? Any tips you’d like to share?

[How I decide if a photo should be color or black and white via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “How to decide if a photo should be color or black and white”

  1. Trino Pam Avatar
    Trino Pam

    If it’s boring in color, just B&W!?

  2. Len Metcalf Avatar
    Len Metcalf

    Decide before you take the photograph. If you are thinking Monochrome when you are taking it you will inevitably take better bw images. Trying to rescue a poor colour photograph by changing it to bw leads to poorer work.

  3. Richard Doktor Avatar
    Richard Doktor

    As I see it:
    If the color is the main interest, let it be in color.
    If it has (mainly) texture and less(er) color, it probably will be better in b/w.