[C&C] Color or B & W

Discussion in 'Photo Critique' started by ajramirez, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    This is a recent shot. I cannot decide whether it works better in color or B&W (or whether it works at all). Please let me know your opinion and critique and edit as you deem appropriate.

    8282963cropped.


    8282963BW.

    Thank you,

    Antonio
     
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  2. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
  3. john1027

    john1027 SC Regular

    187
    Jul 11, 2010
    Alexandria, VA
    B&W; but if you left the color in the flower with the B&W that might be a nice variation also.
     
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  4. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    There is an ugly box in the background, which is rather distractiong. If you had removed the box before taking the photo, I would prefer the color version. But as they are, I prefer the black and white version.
     
  5. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    The B&W with a little levels adjustment an a touch of sharpening perhaps.
     
  6. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    I had a similar dilemma with this one but in the end I put both up on flickr because I thought they each had merit.

    DP1
    2417066524_b63ca1cc70_b.

    2417066514_cec14a1f9b_b.
     
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  7. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I like the B&W in both images.
    The intent of the shooters is certainly more clear.
    That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.
     
  8. Wouter Brandsma

    Wouter Brandsma  

    116
    Jul 7, 2010
    Depends on what you had in mind Antonio. You took it as color, keep it in color. If you took with B&W in mind (of course at the moment when you took the photograph) keep it B&W. Of course digital photography is a wonderful thing with many opportunities, but also kind of gives something indefinite. Before it was simple, you had B&W or color film. Now we mostly end with a digital color photograph that we can process in so many ways.
     
  9. kathyh

    kathyh SC Top Veteran

    734
    Jul 13, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    Kathy
    B&W. I find the little bit of colour on the far left of the colour photo distracting. In the B&W it adds a little bit of texture.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Antonio, I am so glad you posted this question here. I have been wondering if this might be a good forum for people to discuss their photos when they wanted constructive feedback and you've just answered me.:2thumbs:

    I like your image of the shrine and icon in the background with the rose in the foreground best in black and white. I think it allows me to see the connections between the two more readily without the distraction of strong reds and greens in front (a candle?) of the icon of Mary (I'm assuming it is Mary). Additionally, the rough texture of the stones, the shrine...all being in black and white have more cohesion and yet still allows the emphasis on that delicate "rose" which I think (even for those who don't know the historic iconography of the Christian religion as it evolved due to Latin Western cultures, and thus don't know that the rose has always represented Mary, Jesus's mother) can readily understand the rose as a representation of life, hope or at least beauty.

    That's my early morning, first cup of coffee, art history, photographic response, and I'm sticking to it.:wink:

    Antonio, you know it might well be interesting, since I believe you do have the software abilities, to isolate the rose and add the very slightest, wash of pink color to see if you'd like it that way. I don't know how it would look in this case but I think John's suggestion could be worth exploring. I also would be interested to see if Will's suggestion of "sharpening" or adding a bit more "clarity" - not sure of the right terms - to the black and white might make it more powerful.

    Thanks so much for starting this thread. When I first saw this new thread and didn't know who'd started it, I thought it might be Ferry's since I'd just seen two versions of one of his photos via Flickr and his blog, one version in color which he's posted here as well but black and white on his blog. I do think it can be helpful to post two versions to get feedback or as I call it to get out of our digital darkrooms and see our images out in the open. So thanks for starting the beginning of a possible trend here.

    P.S. Will, I like yours both in black and white and in color too. They do different things to me. I appreciate them both.
     
  11. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    So, the consensus seems to be that it works better in B&W. I agree, and I thank everybody for taking the time to comment.

    Will: Your suggestion about sharpening and a levels adjustment is right on the money, but the problem is not that the photo is not sufficiently sharpened, but rather than the only part that is in focus is the rose. The photo was shot with the Lumix 20mm at 1.7 at a fairly short distance, and the depth of field does not extend beyond the rose. This was done, in part, to make sure the statuette of the Virgin Mary was rendered very out of focus, and also because the shot was taken in very low light. A smaller aperture would have rendered more of the rock behind the rose in focus and may have worked better.

    John1027: Tried your suggestion of leaving some of the color in the rose. Makes for an interesting shot, but I believe I like the straight b&w better.

    Thank you all kindly.

    Best regards,

    Antonio
     
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  12. Wouter Brandsma

    Wouter Brandsma  

    116
    Jul 7, 2010
    Not so fast Antonio. Maybe you didn't read my question. You know tried to figure out what worked best in post-processing, but did you have a B&W or color photograph in mind when you took it? All too often I think people use B&W as a solution to fix a photograph that didn't work to well in color.

    And why do think it works better in B&W?
     
  13. Prototype

    Prototype SC Veteran

    207
    Jul 9, 2010
    Illinois
    Brian
    That's an interesting thought, Wouter. I must admit, I don't have color or b&w in mind when I take the shot. I always shoot color (i.e. RAW) and decide after reviewing the file. I'll have to try your method of deciding at the moment of capture.

    The problem is, I don't have a clue when it comes to post-processing black & white. With my DP1, I either slide the saturation slider all the way to the left and make contrast adjustments or use monochrome white balance. For JPEG-only cameras, I use GIMP. But my preferred B&W method generates a lot of noise. While that's not always a bad thing, it seems the photos are best viewed medium size. I uploaded a few of this black & white experimentation to my gallery on this site.
     
  14. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    The sharpening wasn't meant as a way of improving the focus but rather to slightly enhance the graininess. The focusing and depth of view you used was spot on.

     
  15. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Wouter,

    I did read your question, and it is a very interesting one at that. I must say that I initially visualized the photo in color, but decided to try a b&w conversion just to see how that worked. Most of my photography is in B&W, as I find it more difficult to compose in color, and most of the time I do have a B&W photo in mind at the time of exposure. Not this time, though.

    I actually like both versions, but for different reasons. I believe the B&W is more about textures and shapes, while the color version presents a more realistic depiction of the scene. I agree that the red on the candle and the box with the image of Christ may be a bit distracting on screen, but it is actually much more subdued on the actual print and does not stand out quite as much. I made prints of both the B&W and color versions. I do believe, however, I like the B&W version a bit better.

    I took a photo seminar a year ago, and the teacher placed great emphasis on visualizing the photograph before triggering the shutter. I believe that is what you are also getting at, and is a concept we would all do well to put into practice.

    I very much appreciate your comments.

    Best regards,

    Antonio
     
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  16. Wouter Brandsma

    Wouter Brandsma  

    116
    Jul 7, 2010
    Exactly Antonio. With film visualizingthe photograph was very important. You either used B&W or color film and very often you exposed with the end result in mind. Digital creates a lot of new options, but also kind of postpones the permanent moment of a photograph. With film it was definite. B&W or color, with digital when not previsualized, it is something that is eventually determined in the end (with always the option to do it differently).

    When you have a camera with an optical viewfinder you could switch the LCD screen off. When you use the LCD screen or an EVF either set the camera on color or B&W, based on your intentions. When you use an application like Lightroom and you want B&W you could import the photographs with a preferred B&W preset or keep them in color. Or use the B&W jpegs instead.
     
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  17. SeanStacy

    SeanStacy New to SC

    1
    Oct 14, 2010
    In my opinion the B & W picture of flower is looking much better than the colored one and also unique.
    Outdoor Banner Stands
     
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  18. Mayank

    Mayank SC Veteran

    230
    Jul 16, 2010
    India
    Antonio, I would go for the color one because the subject (the flower) stands out beautifully and so do the thin leaves. In B&W, it all blends together into a somewhat abstract image. You could also try playing with channels in B&W conversion to make the flower and leaves stand out in a more dramatic B&W image.
     
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  19. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    Antonio, I'm with Mayank here. I prefer the colour version for two reasons. First, I think the rose is much more striking against the rock in the colour version. Second, because I find the out of focus shrine on the left intriguing rather than distracting. I look at this photo and I see the rose first but the blur of colour on the left draws my eye and I understand the meaning of the rose better.
     
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  20. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    When I was shooting film, I never shot black and white. I like looking at good black and white photographs, but I have realized, that I simply prefer shooting in color. Every time I like one of my own photos in black and white better than in color, I realize that I just have not found the correct colors yet and that I have to adjust some more parameters in Lightroom. I speak only about myself, your mileage may vary.
     
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