Black and White…or Colour?

The theme for Jake’s Photo Challenge this week is: Black and White however, I am not a great lover of black and white photographs. Yes, I know they can be “Arty”, but to me they look rather bland and soulless. (Please feel free to disagree) Perhaps, because I am rather a colourful person I can’t appreciate subtle shades of grey.

For example, here is a black and white photograph of a pretty beach called Praia do Camilo in the Algarve. Taken on a beautiful summer’s day the colours of the sea (in the colour photograph) against the formation of the sandy cliffs look quite effective. Do you think the black and white photo reflects the scene in quite the same way?

Praia do Camilo - Portugal

Praia do Camilo – Portugal

Does the view look as appealing in black and white? Can you appreciate the wonderful shades of blue which makes the sea look so inviting?

Praia do Camilo

Praia do Camilo

When would you take a black and white photograph in preference to colour?

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43 responses to “Black and White…or Colour?

  1. You are right, PiP…our senses tend to respond more to things that are in color…but black and white can compel you to look more closely.

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  2. Definitely color for this gorgeous shot. Black and white has its place in moody portraits, gritty street scenes, etc. A shot of an old lamp post in an old city in the fog would be even more mysterious in b & w. Other than that, I prefer color!

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  3. Hi Find and Outlet…I see what you mean. I like the idea of a foggy streetscene with an old lampost in the foreground. Photography is an artform in itself

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  4. In this case the B&W photo does not express the sunny atmosphere of the original in color. I agree with Find an Outlet on this.
    I used B&W where your imagination can take you further in the image than the colored one, where the mind and the mood are more important than the actual photo.
    I do hope I’m making sense ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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  5. Hi Piglet

    Opportune that you should post this today as we went to The Photographers’ Gallery in London this afternoon – as you know I’ve taken an interest in photography recently (can I plug? http://www.chiptheduck.co.uk/photographs).

    The (free) exhibition was very good overall and well worth the visit – some photographs were awful and some excellent as is always the way with subjective things. Worth going for the excellent.

    But probably 40% was in black and white. Apart from being boring, I think it’s a cop out. Using colour and light are the most important things – don’t bother if you only want to do half the job.

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    • Hi Chip,
      “Apart from being boring, I think itโ€™s a cop out.” ๐Ÿ™‚ I know what you mean.

      I can see in some cases B and W does create a different mood, but more often than not IMHO it detracts rather than adds. However, Marion Driessen’s interpretation of the theme was for me great.

      We had some photos taken at Christmas once and they were all in black and white. I was upset as I’d spent a fortune on the pigging tree and colour co ordinated decorations. They just looked “murkey” in shades of grey and rather depressing. I suppose it’s horses for courses ๐Ÿ™‚

      I love your parrot photos BTW!

      why don’t you join in the weekly theme?

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  6. Your photos is amazing in color. Definitely the better choice for this photo!

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  7. For this photo . . . I prefer the color shot which makes the people on the beach “pop.”

    For other photos, I sometimes prefer the mood cast by B&W.

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    • Hi Nancy, so if my understanding is correct re. BW photos; they are really to capture “mood” Interesting idea re people on the beach. I wonder if I can recreate this photo keeping some colour there and the rest in BW. And people ask me what I do all day!

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  8. roamingtheworld

    Is that in Lagos? Looks so familiar.
    In this case, I prefer the color one. There are too many beautiful colors.

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  9. Methinks it is ‘horses for courses’ – scenic and family photographs are certainly better in colour, but I DO love black and white for close-up and all mood work. We are all different: just as life has unlimited grey tonings [NO, I am NOT talking of a rather familiar book series ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ! ], so I CAN see dozens of shades of grey even in your beach photo ๐Ÿ™‚ !

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  10. You’re so right, PiP. Colour definitely has the edge over black and white.

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  11. Color makes this photo come alive, but I also like B/W photos depending on the subject which can create a mood and surreal feeling.

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  12. I love portraits in B&W. I was once told that you take a colour photo of someone and you see what they are wearing. Take a B&W and you see their soul. A bit overly deep I thought but I could see where they were coming from. Colour can distract. But I like distraction! I take mainly colour pics but I think B&W has its place especially in high contrast images. I like destaurating an image, so it’s not quite black and white and then re-enhancing subtle areas of colour. That can be effective.

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  13. Of course I have to be colourful too, to match to my blog name! I certainly prefer the colour photo, otherwise the lovely beach scenery looks too dull…
    I used to enjoy looking at old b/w photos of people and sometimes the photographer would add a few touches of colour to the cheeks and lips, but that would be for portraits mainly.

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  14. Both colour and b&w have their place in photography. B&W gives focus to a mood. Like standing on the outside looking in. Observing from a distance. Whereas colour draws you into a picture so you can feel you’re actually there.

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  15. What a beautiful beach…. The black and white shot makes it more artistic, but the colored one makes you want to jump into the water…!

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  16. Actually, I do prefer the black and white shot on that one above… but I get what you mean… It all depends on the type of photo taken. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. I prefer the colour shot for the pic above. I did a short photography course and was told to always shoot in colour because with digital photography you can always convert a shot to b & w if you wish.

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  18. Well, it’s no contest in this shot, Pip, but I do think it can contribute atmosphere in certain circumstances. And I go back a ways so I don’t mind Memory Lane.

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  19. I think black and white photographs can have a certain high class style to them, if used correctly. The beach just isn’t such a great setting I guess, when you’re at the beach you want to see the sun and beautiful blue water. Black and white just doens’t show that. I think, for instance in an antique shop it would look great. The beach does look fantastic though, the coloured picture I mean ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  20. For regular photographers depends on the subject, but there are spectacular B&W photos. Look at Ansel Adams photos.
    Here’s an event to try your techniques in color and B&W, birdwatching festival in Sagres http://www.birdwatchingsagres.com/index.php?lang=en

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  21. The Algarve definitely needs to be in colour! Cath

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