One of the most important creative decisions you’ll make when editing your photos is choosing between color or black and white. When does a photo look better in monochrome? What should the highlight of your photo be if you want to go for a black and white image? How do you know which option lends a better mood to your photos? JT of the Run N Gun YouTube channel answers these questions and more in one of his latest rundowns of useful photography tips.
In his video below, JT shared the criteria that he uses to help him determine when to edit his photos in black and white. Color and monochrome each have their own pros and cons that can make or break your final results. It’s often not an easy decision and there are a lot of considerations, but his tips should help make it a little easier for you.
Lighting is one of the main considerations for opting to edit a photo into a black and white final image. Going monochrome is an effective way to emphasize the light and the strong contrast it creates in an image.
Texture is another reason to opt for a monochrome final image. Because it simplifies the image into dark and bright section(s), black and white is also a great way to make the details of textures and patterns more prominent.
If your color photo has white balance issues like the distracting color in JT’s image, converting it to black and white makes for a quick solution.
Distracting hues, like a stray, non-complementing color against the predominantly muted tones of JT’s example, can also be easily addressed by converting it to black and white.
Going the monochrome route is also a tried and tested way to add or heighten the mood or drama of your shot. While it’s also possible to achieve in color, some scenes will greatly benefit from the way black and white simplifies the image and heightens the contrast.
In the end, it depends on the artist’s personal taste or simply what you like as a photographer. Another way to look at it is to go for the option that represents your creative vision as you were taking the shot.
Check out the Run N Gun YouTube channel for more of JT’s photography tips and tricks.