After I’ve taken a set of photos, I go through the full set, select my favourites and transfer them over to my Adobe Lightroom app for editing. After I’ve edited them in colour, I’ve started to look through the final versions one more time and choose a few to edit in monochrome as well. Now, I have many double sets of my favourite pictures – one in colour, one in black and white. It’s often hard to decide which one is better… so I’m turning to the world (and by the world I of course mean my fledgling readership). Why does it matter which one is ‘better’? Well, it doesn’t really, but when I’m choosing photos to add to my portfolio or share on Twitter or promote in some way, it does help to have decided which version of each picture is best. Not just because I want to put my best photos forward, but because, at its core, photography is about communication and storytelling, and I want to have decided which is the most powerful way to tell that picture’s story.
Here are a few photos in both their colour and black and white forms. These are photos that I agonise over (as much as anyone agonises over pictures, which, I admit, is not a lot), as I can’t decide which version is the most striking. I think portraits tend to be enhanced by monochrome colours, though I have a few landmarks and landscapes in there too. It would be wonderful if you let me know your thoughts in the comments!
I love this photo of Imogen. I mean, I have taken lots of lovely photos of Imogen, but this is one of my favourites. I love the open look on her face, and the way the sun bounces off her hair. But I can’t decide which version I prefer!
I know that I have taken a lot of pictures of Tower Bridge, but this one may be my all-time favourite. I have never been able to decide which version I think is best, because I think the two give the picture such different moods. I love the blue accents of the bridge against the blue sky, but I also love the sombre mood of the monochrome.
This is such a glorious picture! Bansko’s mountains are beautiful. The blue and white are so striking together, but I think that the black sky and the black shadows on the mountain also give off an incredible mood.
This photo will forever be one of my favourites, as it must be, to date, the most popular photo I’ve ever taken. I took this picture at the Trump protest and it ended up going somewhat viral on Twitter. The colour is obviously the original, and it clearly resonated with the people of the world given the likes, comments and retweets. But I think the black and white version is also powerful and gives the photo a timeless feel, like it might on the wall of a museum in fifty years time, to commemorate this weird period of our history.
Bonus! I also love this version that combines the two. I am learning to use Photoshop (or, um, Jake is using it for me – I will learn, I promise) and it’s cool to be able to edit photos like this.
The photos from Snowdonia were glorious. Even the colour versions were moody, which is so much of what I loved about them. The deep blues and greens of the Welsh countryside were so photogenic (and gorgeous to look at in person, too). But the monochrome version takes the moodiness to another level and still keeps the contrast between the lake, mountains and sunlight, which I felt was key to the photo.
I took this photo of my brother in Turkey, in an abandoned amphitheatre. I like his bright red jumper and how it interacts with the gentle blue of the sky, but I also like the contrast of his dark jumper, glasses and facial hair against the lighter parts of the picture. I think the colour version almost looks like it was taken on film.
So here are six photos, in both their full colour and black and white incarnations. What do you think? Which one is better of each set? Let me know in the comments below!