Black and White Portraits

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People often prefer an image in Black and White\Monochrome why is this?

When should you choose to make a portrait image black and white?

If you take a colour image and just simply desaturate it, it may well work, but its not that simple. It can look instantly better as you lose any distracting colours. However often the results won't be much more striking. There are many reasons for this but the best thing is to either plan for a black and white shoot or just experiment. Yes experiment to see what light gives the best image in black and white.

So how can you take it from an ordinary black and white image and make it into a great one?

There are many photography applications for your iPhone or android that do a great job of converting your image for you, all you then need to do is upload it to Instagram or flickr and share with your friends. The problem with this is that quality of the original image will have been greatly compromised by the processing reducing its size. For something to share quickly and if quality is not an issue then this is the perfect option for you. You see some great images that have been modified by mobile applications and uploaded to the internet, however being of low quality their usage is limited to internet sharing.

If you are serious about your photography then firstly you need to be shooting in RAW to ensure that the quality of the image is not compromised during processing. A RAW image will be much larger in size than a JPEG and you may need specialist software on your computer to open the file. 

Processing the image

Once you open the file in its RAW format you can make changes without affecting much of its quality, if you however make extreme changes you will see some degradation in its quality i.e. graining, digital noise.

Removing the colour

After desaturating the image, the only other three settings that I will typically use is, blacks, contrast, exposure and settings, sometimes non and sometimes all three.


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