To Post-Process in B&W or Not?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by aukirk, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
    I would really like to hear some feedback on the decision making process people go through in deciding whether or not to post-process an image in Black & White or Color?

    Most of my photos tend to focus on family or portraits. While I often tend to like them better in black and white, my wife and others seem to prefer seeing color. Then again, these are the same people who love blurry iPhone photos they take.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the main reason I end up converting images to black and white is because the colors look weird or the outfits are too bright. Often it feels like converting an image to black and white is the "easy way out".

    Here is an example where I prefer B&W, but imagine the my sister-in-law would react better to this image of my nephew if it is done in color...

    Attached Files:

  2. dtchan

    dtchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 24, 2010
    I like color for this one. For myself I usually convert to b/w if there is many distracting colors or background and just want to focus on the subject.
  3. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Real Name:
    Ciaran Reilly
    I think lots of B&W conversions appeal to the photographer more than the audience, in my experience, which is fine! Sometimes there's an easy answer - horrible colours, lots of nasty noise - and for me B&W is the only way to go. From them on, I try to think who the picture is for.

    If it's for sharing with family and friends then colour is the only way, for me, as you have said most people prefer colour. If it's for myself or the Interwebs, then I'll think about B&W. I enjoy trying my hand at some street photography, and in the learning process I'm finding I prefer to shoot street in B&W by default, as it helps me focus on composition and geometry, only moving back to colour if the colour in the photo is a subject in itself.

    Edit: I prefer colour for your shot above.
  4. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I would recommend (being you like B&W) that you get NIK's Silver Efex Pro and (as a trial) import your image into Silver Efex. Click through the presets on the left side of the screen to see if the image is amenable towards a conversion.

    I guess you have to buy the entire collection (which ain't bad) for $149, unless you can find the stand alone copy somewhere.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. bucky

    bucky New to Mu-43

    Jul 8, 2012