Critique: Black and White vs. Color

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by flosseR, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    Ok this was shot 2 days ago when the person in the shot was exactly 2 days old :)
    Personally I love the way the black and white version turned out but some people have told me the color one looked better. What could be improved here? Which one is better?

    Thanks for any constructive criticism. and yes he looks like his mom not like me, thank god :D

    Olympus E-510, 50mm stationary , F2.0, ISO 100, 1/100sec

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  2. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2008
    I like the way the blue color complements the skin tone. And congratulations!
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Black and white is harder to do well. You have to squint a bit and blur it so you don't see the cute baby that all humans are programmed to like. (another good trick to turn a B&W photo upside down to evaluate it.) You have to see it as just abstract tones, lines and shapes and it has to work at that level. If not then why remove the color? Your composition is tight and simple enough that it almost works so I think answers could go either way.

    One advantage of black and white that you did not take advantage of is that you can do some pretty extreme "darkroom tricks" with B&W and it will not look faked. With color your post processing options are limited if the shot is to look real. This is a good reason to choose B&W, because, say you want to make the lighting more dramatic or completely change the tone of the background from dark to very bright or to add light on the subject.

    With B&W you can do things like seriously darken the edges to make the subject appear brighter because the eye sees tones as relative. B&W printers use 100 tricks like these.

    My opinion of these two shots... I don't see much reason to do a "straight" B&W conversion. I think the color shot could be improved by tonning down the color. So for the "look" of a classic 160 speed portrait film with it's soft color and good skin tones. The lighting was a slight bit harsh for this subject.

    Don't take the above the wrong way. I think saying "nice shot" is never helpful
  4. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    B and W looks good. I might burn some of the shadows and add some vignetting to highlight the subject.
  5. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    +1 for lowering the saturation a bit on the color one. Both are decent, the color one just seems slightly oversaturated. I am on a terrible monitor right now though, so maybe it's great, don't take offense. Congratulations.
  6. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
  7. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    The color one is better and there's no reason to go B&W. The reason the color is better is because the blue of the blanket and the orange hue of the baby are complimentary colors on the color wheel and they look really nice together.
  8. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I really don't like the red speckling, that almost looks like a rash, on the baby's cheek. Makes the baby look unhealthy, which hopefully isn't true. That speckling is not nearly as noticeable in the B&W version, but quite apparent in color.

    Also, the color version seems a bit warm. I think others have called this saturated, maybe that's really what I'm seeing, but the color is a bit off. If I were editing I'd cool it down a tad and see how it looked.
  9. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    With a little work I would say the B&W. You can't simply desaturate in photoshop or some other program to create a B&W photo from a digital color photo, you'll watch to adjust the levels and such. The B&W does look less snap-shotish.

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