After a recent post I was asked why I always shoot in Black and White(BNW). The short answer is I don’t, but in general 90% of my work isBNW. I occasionally shoot in colour and like so many things in photography it all depends on the light.
Because of chronic illness I only photograph for limited periods. At the start of the week I check the weather for the week and work out two or three hours where I can get some shots in. My BNW work is mostly shot in high contrast light in the evening. If there isn’t much sunlight during the week then I’ll still go out but this is where I may use colour.
Firstly I’m a great believer in setting up your camera for one or the other. This allows you to see the shots as they will be, especially if you use a mirrorless camera like me. I use a Fujifilm XT2 or XT10, I tend to use Pro Neg Hi colour profile for any colour shots. But occasionally if the colours dictate I may use Velvia or Astia.
So the if the light dictates I would use colour but the main reason would be if a colour or colours catches my eye. The shot below was taken about 15 minutes after France had won the World Cup. The fans were celebrating decked out in Red,White and Blue and the Tricolours were flying. The bar was under an awning so was well shaded. I just didn’t see this image in black and white.
The next one was taken at Aberdeen station concourse, and the predominance of yellow caught my eye so I waited until the composition was pleasing to my eye. I wanted the front layer of yellow to have two elements and the sign in the rear corner completes it for me.
The next one doesn’t need much explanation. It comes form a wall of images by the street artist Bortusk Leer in Aberdeen. Thanks to my daughter for standing in to give a sense of scale. This was shot around lunch time in contrasty light but the vivid colours begged for Fujifilm Velvia simulation.
The next one doesn’t need much explanation. It comes form a wall of images by the street artist in Aberdeen. Thanks to my daughter for standing in to give a sense of scale. This was shot around lunch time in contrasty light but the vivid colours begged for Fujifilm Velvia simulation.
The final image is a bit less obvious, I tried it initially in mono but I liked the feel of the image in colour. I shot it in blue hour after some rain and just preferred the colour one. Ultimately there are no hard and fast rules you soon get used to seeing in colour or mono. What I would say is decide which you’re using before you start shooting and set your camera up accordingly. Don’t just shoot in colour all the time then convert in post.