Author Topic: Which is Better : Colour or B & W  (Read 4931 times)

Offline VikramF

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2014, 01:07:27 PM »
I frequently see/hear people say "Should I convert this to B&W, it'll look better"; or observe a lot of people who try to 'rescue' a shot by converting it to B&W. Truth be told, if you fiddle around enough with plugins and whatnot, you will likely get a serviceable result, but you'd have learned absolutely nothing.

Imho, that is just plain wrong. You need to decide that the output will be converted to B&W

B&W to me is about contrast and light. Tonal contrast. Textural contrast. Focus contrast. You need to see colours in shades of grey. What does red look like, what does green, etc etc ... Once you see colors as values ? degrees of light and dark ? you?ll see a scene in your mind?s eye in black and white, and can make your compositional decisions based upon the larger areas. Notice light and shadow and the interplay of both, and then arrange them within the frame so the eye is entertained.

Tonal contrast is about contrast in brightness. Anytime you can contrast a subject against a lighter or darker background, you get this contrast. It's that simple. In fact, of the three contrasts, tonal contrast is the strongest and most dominant. A strong tonal contrast can clearly define and structure your black-and-white photo, but if it's in the wrong place, such as the background, it can overwhelm other contrasts (even if it's out of focus). To start seeing tonal contrasts: Shoot in monochrome mode but in RAW. That way you can see the B&W jpgs on the camera, but the full file is saved as a color RAW file for processing.

The part below is in response to a post from drgap:

In this case, you're lucky that the guy was wearing a black coat and the back ground is light. It's a fairly monochromatic scene to begin with - however I do think that his face is too close in tone to the background.

What I would have done to emphasise the tonal contrast is to meter the lightest area and add +1.5-2 ev to it, so I get nice whites. Then in PP, would have looked to get the deepest blacks as well (which you haven't got). I would also have chosen to focus on hie eyes instead of his mouth.
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Offline LightWave

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2014, 01:12:14 PM »
Vikram you really tried hard to crash it didn't you ;)
So many colons, semi colons, inverted single and double quotes. Trying some sort of SQL injection LOL!!! ;)
Glad to see it stuck.

Sorry for OT post.

Offline sambk

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2014, 02:53:53 PM »

What I would have done to emphasise the tonal contrast is to meter the lightest area and add +1.5-2 ev to it, so I get nice whites. Then in PP, would have looked to get the deepest blacks as well (which you haven't got). I would also have chosen to focus on hie eyes instead of his mouth.

Vikram, many thanks for this writeup. I do not want to hijack the thread but, I have a simple basic question.  I hope OP doesn't mind...
You say 'meter the lightest area / focus the eyes' If we take the pictures in this thread as an example then the brightest area is either near the top edge or the bottom edge. What metering one should use in such cases?

Offline VikramF

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2014, 03:08:28 PM »
Vikram, many thanks for this writeup. I do not want to hijack the thread but, I have a simple basic question.  I hope OP doesn't mind...
You say 'meter the lightest area / focus the eyes' If we take the pictures in this thread as an example then the brightest area is either near the top edge or the bottom edge. What metering one should use in such cases?

I said I would do that. I'd use spot-metering. However, for you or others, metering habits shouldn't be changed too often as it takes a little while to understand through experience what results that little micro-chip inside the camera gives. That way once you understand what results you get through spot, matrix or center weighted metering, you should ideally stick to them. The aim of the game imho is understanding consistently what the camera gives you as readings.

In my case, when I shoot people, I use spot metering with the AE-lock button. So I spot meter for the area I want, adjust +/- EV as per my experience and then focus and shoot. This means that the focus point and the metering spot aren't the same - which is a workflow that works for me as it gives me consistent results.
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Offline LightWave

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 08:28:37 PM »
That spot metering with AE lock is a wonderful thing. You might take time getting used to it but once you grasp it it is splendid.

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Offline sambk

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2014, 08:36:32 PM »
Many thanks Vikram and Dr.Rajesh.
Well it sounds esoteric but definitely worth working towards getting there, slowly!!!

Offline Aditya Aima

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2014, 08:52:15 PM »
BW..

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Offline drgap

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2014, 07:37:23 PM »
Thanks Vikram
Shall try it out the next time I am in field...

Offline Hankosaurus

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Re: Which is Better : Colour or B & W
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2014, 03:13:13 AM »
drgap,

However you got there, I like the B&W one better. Far better.

:)
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