Black & White Vs. Color


When I return retouched photos to my clients I always return the chosen photos with a black and white version. Sometimes clients appreciate this if they are decorating a room with only black and white photos, and other times some photos just look better in B&W.

Here are some examples of photos that are best presented in black and white.



Here, the contrast between the bright subject and darker background create enough variations to turn to B&W. The brightest and clearest spot is in the middle which immediately draws your eyes to the subject.

Sometimes the lighting chooses B&W as the best option for you. Many times while shooting newborns you are in low light situations working with LED light bulb nearby, resulting in off color skin tones. You can fix this by adjusting your white balance in camera or painting back color correction in Photoshop, but another option and the easiest is to cover to black and white. Example: 



When working with stage lights it can also throw off the whole hue of the photo. Most concerts blast colored gel lights making it almost impossible to get correct tones. Sometimes it is easiest to turn a scene black and white, making the subject easy to distinguish rather than have the viewer guessing why there are so many colors refracting. 



In family photography colors are usually important to tell a story. For example gender reveals are primarily blue or pink focused. However this couple chose to keep the gender a surprise until their baby arrived. They still wanted to have a maternity shoot and a pregnancy announcement, so we decided to keep the colors neutral and convert most of the photo to black and white. 


When I choose COLOR:

Here’s some examples when colors really make an image work. For milestone sessions such as birthdays, newborns, and gender reveals, and holidays color always help support the story. 


For first birthday cake smashes, the parents usually put a lot of time into making sure the outfit matches the color scheme of decor and cake. Obviously these photos are best represented in color to make the photos pop.



Newborn props are best represented in color to bring out the gender reveal. Here are a couple examples of boys and girls.