5 Obvious Times To Convert A Photo To Black and White
choosing to convert a photo to black and white can be the decision that takes your photo from just an okay photo, to a great photo. sometimes a photo containing color is necessary when telling a story or creating a compelling image, while other times removing the color makes the image so much stronger. while editing your images, be sure to be thoughtful when making the decision to edit in color or in black and white. if you are unsure on when it is the right choice to convert a photo to black and white, check out what 5 times it is an obvious choice to make the conversion.
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5 Obvious Times To Convert A Photo To Black and White
editing in color is definitely my favorite, but there are times when it is very necessary to convert a photo to black and white. i love that a black and white image can enhance the emotion and feel of an image and take on an entirely differently feeling, by simply choosing to remove the color. here are five examples of why you should convert a photo to black and white and the noticeable change that it brings to the image in mood and appeal.
1. When Your White Balance is Just…Off
let’s face it, sometimes our white balance is just plain off. during times like this, you can either try and correct your temperature and tinting in lightroom or you can choose to convert the image to black and white. for the image above of the self portrait and coffee mug, i felt that the white balance was off and the tones in the table were not appealing to my eye. by converting this image to black and white, it took on a more simple feel and instead of the eye moving around the frame in the color image, the eye is immediately drawn to the hands on the coffee mug in the black and white image. where the color image was really flat in light, the black and white image took on a little more depth by showcasing the shadows in a more noticeable way.
2. To Create A Mood
black and white edits are really fun in that they can help to create a certain mood in an image to portray emotion. in the image above of the two puppies staring out the door, i was trying to capture a sad moment of them watching my husband drive away on a business trip. by converting the image to black and white, i felt that the melancholy mood was enhanced and, by removing the distracting green reflection from the trees on the glass door, i was able to place the viewer’s focus back on the dogs and their expressions.
3. To Showcase Shadows
if you have an image that has really great shadows, it is really fun to edit in black and white to showcase them more. color images are wonderful for shadows as well, but a black and white is really great too. in the image above of the baby, i loved how the light was coming into the crib and creating distinct lines on the sheet. by converting the image to black and white, notice how the lines are more pronounce as the shadows were darkened. this makes for a really visually pleasing image, in that there is a very distinct difference between light and dark, creating balance.
4. To Remove Surrounding Distractions
there will be times when you are photographing in an environment with a lot of distractions, whether that be a busy public area or a living room full of toys on the ground. for moments like these when there is a lot of visual clutter, you may choose to convert a photo to black and white to tone down the surrounding distractions. in the image above of the my dog and i, i found the surrounding color to be too distracting. i didn’t like the distraction of the red door or the colors in the reflection on the floor. while i really love a good reflection image, i found this to take away from the sweet moment that was occurring between the subjects. by removing the color, i was placing the viewer’s eye back on the subjects and the subjects now pop in the scene better instead of blend into the scene in the color version.
5. To Make An Image Timeless
simply put, there is something so very timeless about a black and white image. we all know that editing styles come and go, but a black and white edit is fairly timeless. i find that timeless black and white edits lend well in images that showcase a timeless moment, such as a newborn. in the image above of my daughter and i, i really loved the color edit but i also wanted a classic black and white edit as well to create a more timeless feel. it is important to note that, when i edit images for my clients (family and newborn clients), i edit each image in color and black and white because i want their images to be timeless and to be enjoyed for many many years and wouldn’t want an edit that is popular in 2017 to distract from the image’s beauty in years ahead.
choosing to edit an image in black and white instead of color can really help to make an image more powerful whether you are removing distracting elements, encouraging a timeless feel, creating a mood, covering up bad white balance, or really bringing out the shadows of an image. have fun playing around with your edits in lightroom and try converting some of your images to black and white to see what a difference it really makes and if it makes you fall in love with your images in a new way.
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