A Reason to Convert to Monochrome

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should convert our color images to black and white. Not every picture works as a straight conversiosn, that’s for sure. With my ages-old training and development as a photographer being in black-and-white, I learned to to see what might make a strong monochromatic image while looking at a color scene. In this image on right, the tonal contrast is sure there – which can make a black and white image ‘pop’ – but there are too many colors and distractions of color in this image – the red shirt on the man in background, the green tree, the brown pigeon, (there always has to be one different bird, right?!) – these all subtly pull the eye to other areas of the picture, away from the moment of the man feeding the birds with the crumbs dropping from his hand.  By converting it to black and white – I was able to eliminate those other distractions, and tonally the picture just worked so much better for me. I haven’t completely worked this black and white image.

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Brenda Tharp
Brenda is an award-winning photographer, author, keynote speaker, workshop instructor and tour leader. Her acclaimed books include Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography, and Extraordinary Everyday Photography.
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