I think one of the greatest gifts of photography is the way it makes you appreciate the subtle nuances of light and color. From something as simple as dappled sunlight on a leaf, to more dramatic shadowing that is best represented by a black and white image.
Sometimes when I take an image I know exactly how I want it to look when I'm done, but other images start to unfold while you are in the process of editing them. I think all photographers find this to be true. They will begin with the image and then they let it speak to them, maybe it tells you it needs to be cropped, or that the contrast needs a little boost, but each image has its own voice.
Some choices are no brainers of course, like an image full of vibrant color, or a place you want to remember not only for how it looks, but for the colors that make you want to return there over an over again.
Sort of like the way we try to capture that perfect sunset on the last day of a wonderful beach vacation. You want to be able to look at that photo 6 months later and be transported back to that very moment in time and have it inspire you to want to be back in that place the next chance you get.
But other images call for a less is more approach, and it's at these times that black and white can be such a powerful tool. For me, black and white is a "just the facts ma'am," kind of image, one where you focus on the subject matter without the distraction of color.
Black and white images evoke strong emotions and allow the viewer the chance to impart their own feelings onto a photo. In the image above it could be said that Miss Misty Belle is sad, when in fact she was just sleepy and wondering why I insisted on taking her picture when she was trying to nap. Devoid of the color it takes on a more melancholy feel and makes you really focus on her eyes.
Whether you think she looks sad or sleepy, the point is it that black and white imagery makes the emotions in photographs really pop. Perhaps this is why it is so popular these days with wedding photographers. I don't have a single black and white or sepia image in my wedding album, and although I love our photos, I am bummed that they lack that raw emotion that you can only achieve with a well done, dramatic B&W image.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think every photo should be processed as a black and white image...that would just be downright boring! But I do think there is a place and time for colorless photos, and I'm happy that I have that option with my own photos.
And speaking of color, I would be crazy to process this last image as a black and white. Imagine missing out on that blue...not a chance!
Have a wonderful rest of the week! :-)
Here is a lovely song about color...enjoy!