"The color format of this scene is softer, much calmer, and the focus is on the strongest color, the color of the boats. Even though the cropping of the color photo is a little tighter, these two images were photographed minutes apart on the same day. You can see the impact of the B&W image right away!" - Nawfal Nur -
Sometimes it’s about the Format
There is an easy way to decide if a photograph may look better in Color or B&W. Of course, the nature of color photographs makes the color prominent and when you look at color photos your mind immediately focuses on the rich hues of the scene. However, with B&W photography, the focus zooms in on the emotions, textures, key sections of interest (eye leading), and the over all impact of the photograph.
Consider the follow aspects of a photograph: EMOTION, TEXTURE, EYE LEADING and IMPACT.
What EMOTIONS do you want to get across in the scene?
What TEXTURES do you want the viewer to virtually feel in your photograph?
What is the first thing you focus on when looking at the photograph; this is what I term ‘EYE LEADING’.
What over all IMPACT did you intend your image to communicate?
In this example, I photographed the scene to show the anger in the clouds…the turmoil that the clouds possess before a major storm.
The fluffy, rain-filled mass of dark clouds jumps out at you when you look at the photograph in B&W format.
My eye immediately focuses in on the stormy clouds in the B&W version and that is what I intended when creating this photograph. In color, I see the pretty fishing boats first.
In B&W, the impact is exciting and you get the feeling that there is going to be an environmental confrontation about to happen. In color, that energy seen in the B&W version, just isn’t quite there, it is only a pretty seascape.
So, when deciding on the format of your photographs, you can put them to this photographic litmus test: compare the color and B&W formats, consider what you wanted to achieve when taking the photograph and then see which format adheres best to the intended EMOTIONS, TEXTURES, EYE LEADING, and IMPACT.