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I’m in love with black and white photography. There’s just something about it that pulls me right in. It can take an ok photo to a great photo. Sometimes color is necessary to help portray your story, but there are times when converting to black and white just makes your photo that much better. Be sure to be thoughtful when deciding whether an image should be converted to b&w or not. If you’re not sure when it is appropriate to convert, keep reading for 5 reasons to convert to b&w.
Also, since you’re here, I thought you’d might be interested in a few other blog posts:
- A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White
- The Best Beginner’s Photography Tutorials
- 9 Photography Tips for Moms
- Watch Me Edit: How to Convert An Image to Black and White
Let’s get to the good, juicy stuff now.
I’m always drawn to a good black and white. I love my color edits, as well. But there’s just something about b&w that always draws me in. It can enhance the emotion, mood, and overall image. Here are some examples of why I choose to convert to b&w.
1. to enhance the details
I love love love converting my macro shots to black and white. I find that it enhances the water droplets and makes them sparkle. It also enhances the details. Of course I love my macro shots in color, too, but I always convert to black and white if I feel like it will enhance a certain part of my image. For the image above, it helps bring out the main focus more, since the whole image is green! The subject gets a little lost in the color image.
But in the b&w image, you can clearly tell what my subject is.
2. when the white balance is just off
I really try to make the white balance work for every image….but let’s be real here, it doesn’t always work. Lightroom has plenty of resources in adjusting your white balance. But, let’s be honest here, sometimes it’s just off no matter what we do. There are times when there’s just too much green. When there’s color casts. Sometimes, the b&w conversion just makes it easier.
Another example of when you would convert because the color is off is if your subject is wearing some bright clothes that distracts from the moment or scene. Think about what the colors are doing to your image before you press the shutter button. Have b&w already in your mind in situations like these, it will make editing and shooting much easier!
3. to add drama and enhance a mood
I really love how dramatic a b&w image can feel. I usually like to convert any image I feel like has any sort of drama. Sure the color image looks great, but the black and white takes it to the next level. It can really enhance the mood of an image.
I love converting an image to b&w to also eliminate some distractions (like in the image above). By converting to black and white, I was able to pull the shadows down in the background and create a minimalist image.
4. to enhance the light
I’m a firm believer that the light has to be amazing in a black and white to make it a good black and white. Don’t convert your images that have flat light – they’ll stay flat! Instead, use b&w to your advantage to enhance the light even more.
I tend to find that the more amazing the light is, the better the black and white will be.
5. to make an image feel classic
The first word that comes to mind every time I view a black and white is classic. Black and whites just have that feel to it. Choosing to convert to black and white will give them that timeless, classic feel. The above photo was just begging to be converted to b&w. I love the colors and tones in the color one…but the b&w one is what I had envisioned when I took the image.
Choosing to convert to b&w is a personal and artistic choice. Whether you want to enhance the mood, get rid of distracting white balance, or just simply make an image classic, black and white is definitely a powerful tool in photography. Have fun converting your images to black and white in Lightroom and try to convert images that seem like they need a little bit of help. You never know, you just might like the outcome.
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Alyssa (sometimes going by Aly) is a hobbyist photographer who loves to teach. Her love of photography started before she ever had any kids. Now a mom of two, she loves to photograph her kids, flowers, and landscape. She specializes in capturing her everyday life. She loves to teach fellow beginner photographers how to take control of their cameras and get the images they dream about getting.