Deciding Between Color and Black & White

How do you decide if the image you’re taking should be in color or black and white? For a black and white image to be effective, you must shoot it with intent. Simply stripping an image of color won’t cut it. Photographer Sean Tucker talks about this in a recent video, and shares how he chooses whether an image should be in color or black and white:

The notion that black and white is a pure art form is outdated. If you still take that notion seriously, it’s probably time to let go. Art boils down to what you want to present and what personal choices you want to make.

“Most of the time I know whether an image will be color or black and white when I take it.”

Ideally, you should be clear about whether you want to present the image that you’re about to take in color or black and white. In the video, Tucker clearly explains how he makes that decision. There are two important factors to consider.

To keep it short, if the colors add some value to the image, keep them. However, if the colors make are irrelevant or causing distractions—but the lighting and contrast make the shot worthwhile—then black and white is the way to go.

Tucker also walks you through some of his photographs and explains his thought process behind why he presented them in color or black and white. In doing so, he also shares his photo-editing process for both color and black and white images.

If you’re looking to decide whether you should continue your photography journey in color or black and white, be sure to watch the video till the end.

For further training: The Art of Black & White Photography Course

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