Black and White or Color?

Black and white - snowy day

Which do you prefer?

color - snowy day

It was a beautiful snowy day,

black and white - 3

whether captured in black and white

color - snowy day 3

or color.

black and white - snowy day 4

Sometimes there are very subtle differences.

color - snowy day 4

Not long ago, we had to buy either black and white or color film. We were committed to the results. Now with digital photography we can work magic with our camera’s software or by using programs such as PicMonkey. 

Do you edit your photos?

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All photographs were taken with a Sony Nex-3N DSLR and edited in PicMonkey.

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97 Comments

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97 responses to “Black and White or Color?

  1. Lovely pics.

    I like most the color pics, there is magic in the colors.

    … and yes, I usually edit my photos, but not too much, a touch here, a touch there.

  2. I tend to lean on colour for a lot of situations. I do edit my photos and generally no more than 5-10 min. per photo.

    Clearly you are a Hallowe’en fan/goul.

    • Thanks for stopping by Jean!
      As I learn more about photography, I find exploring the black and white image interesting. Living out here in the west, the colors can be amazing!
      I am a Hallowe’en fan/goul! How did you guess! :) I am hoping to post some creepy cemetery photos later today!

  3. Black and white, definitely.
    There’s something to be said for simplicity.

  4. Gorgeous pics! I think I’ll go with color in these.

  5. Susie, sorry for not being around .. here, had some healthy problems, not able to sit, walk or lay – feeling much better now, the medicine works. I love our world when it’s colorful .. and I think they are all very good, but I prefer them in color – specially the top one, because it’s so beautiful and the softness of the snow disappear in B&W and it become bold and dramatic, when the photo is very romantic. Second photo the same .. and with the strong colors on the leaves .. give the photo a depth, in B&W it looks like another photo. Last one .. blue give a delightful softness to the photo and gives it same drama which there is in the photo. Excellent job, Susie. You and your camera is a great team and I love how you have played around with your photos.

  6. I like my black and whites to have a very strong focus/contrast…but in these images, I certainly think colour captures them quite well. ~Catherine

  7. Well, I’m a color girl. I guess I don’t appreciate the beauty of images in black and white or sepia when I know how much prettier everything is in color.

    Gorgeous photos, Susie.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  8. Overall, I prefer the color.
    but your b&w versions do add something to them.

  9. I like the option of being able to change from black and white. Some pics just look better in b&w. I use Picmonkey a lot, but mostly for cropping. Love your photos, especially the one with the autumn leaves. :)

    • Thanks Coleen! And thank you for your introduction to PicMonkey. I bought the annual deal so I can use all of its fun edits.
      I agree about black and white. It is fun to be able to push a button and instantly see if it’s the effect I was looking for.

  10. With these shots? Color! Especially the fall colored leaves against the snow. Spectacular!

  11. Great photos! Usually I’m a B&W girl, but I really like the colors in those!

  12. Susie, great shots. I like the BW of the pergola/snow, the color shot of the trees overlooking the lake and the subtle color of the bird landing on the lake. I’ve been a big user of PicMonkey for quite some time now. It does a pretty decent editing job when you want to do so quickly — for free.

  13. They are spo beautiful Susie! I love the mis of a hint of colour. You could make your own calendar like Seth lol :0)

  14. I’m always drawn to black & white for reasons unknown, but I have to say these are beautiful either way. I absolutely love the last photo, which by the way should be in a magazine.

  15. Fabulous photos – in both versions! The colours capture me, I admit, because of their subtlety. But greyscale is good too.

    I usually don’t edit the photos I take other than a little straightening, cropping and re-sizing as needed for whatever purpose I have in mind. Sometimes I have to adjust the curves to bring out detail in shadows and restore what the ‘eye sees’ as opposed to what my camera’s CCD picked up. Still, it’s simply amazing how the digital revolution has transformed photography…and yet still kept it an ‘art’..

    • I got into a discussion about that in an airport with a professional photographer. He was very defensive about what was considered art. I plan to blog about our conversation.
      These days no one should put up with a crooked photo!
      Thanks so much Matthew!

  16. Must admit the black and white drew me in more Susie – great photos all round though

  17. filbio

    I always like the black and white. It just offers such an classic look to the images and appears artistic to me. Love digital cameras as they can do so much more now.

  18. The first and third, I much prefer the color photo. And the second one I prefer the black and white; the color of the leaves is too distracting and I don’t look at the rest of the photo. Really like that first shot.

    Do I edit my photos? Yes, all the time. But 95% of the time it’s cropping. Once in a while I’ll play with the levels in Photoshop. Once in a while I’ll monkey with the contrast. I rarely alter the color unless I’m getting funky with it on purpose. I literally live with a nice Canon point and shoot camera in my purse at all times. For my purposeful shooting, I break out my Canon 50D. Absolutely love it, especially with the one professional lens (L series) that I own. Pure bliss!

  19. Susie, the shots you posted are all lovely. As for a preference, whenever there’s snow in the shot I lean in a black & white direction. My boss is a hardcore photographer. Last year we spent hours pouring over her images of snow scenes to find the right one for our company holiday card e-blast. When it comes to the shots I post on my site, I might do a little cropping and if a license plate or an address is visible, I might blur it, but I do minimal retouching. Now that I have an iPhone, it frees me from having to schlep my little Canon point and shoot everywhere, even though my Canon does take superior crappy images. Yet, the iPhone takes better pictures at night. So, go figure.

    • Thanks V!
      That is a good point about snow. It usually sets up a more monochromatic photo and the snow creates its own shape and subject.
      I would love to buy an iPhone. My droid takes great outdoor photos, but it sucks at night and has a weird focal point that is always in telephoto. I have to back up to take a picture.

  20. I didn’t like any of them, Susie. All of them had that white stuff in them…, and it didn’t appear to be sand on the beach. I do my best to ignore any trace of them til that “stuff” is actually on the ground…, and when that happens, I like to retreat to somewhere sunny and warm. As to the choice you offered…, b/w is great for clarity of form and composition…, color is wonderful for the completion of visual descriptiveness (I think that’s a word).
    How ya doin?
    Paul

  21. Too hard to choose! They’re all pleasing to the eye.

  22. I have always been partial to black and white, for what it DOESN’T give you, and thence, allows you to find on your own. On that first pair of shots,the color is ever so subtle…it reminds me of something out of Currier and Ives.
    You’re a talented photographer, Ms Colorado.

    • Oh thank you Mr. Thorn! It was one of those mornings when the lighting was perfect!
      Great point about how black and white holds back. It is the same reason why it always disturbs me when they colorize old movies….

  23. Back in the day when I used a 35mm SLR I alternated between b&w film which I could process myself and color slides. B&w when I was wandering around in city areas and color slides when I took to the woods. Caught some wonderful buildings that don’t exist and a butterfly that landed just long enough for me to snap it. I’m learning digital now and the ability to manipulate.

  24. I like the 1st and 3rd in B&W and the 2nd in colour! Gorgeous photos – the first one is my favourite!

  25. Wow, both are magical, but I like the subtlety of the colour in the eagle pic. The contrast of colours between the autumn leaves and snow is stunning!

  26. I love these in color. Lots of depth. Love.

  27. I’ve always preferred black & white…

  28. Nice shots Suzie. I edit the crap out of some of my pics, others are just watermarked. you can have the snow, thanks! 81 and sunny today, yay!

  29. In this case I prefer the colour. I like how the coloured leaves of fall are being taunted by the winter snow.
    I do edit my photos in photo shop, depending on how I am using them.

  30. B&W for me and I don’t really take many good pictures. When I get keeper all I do is crop.

    • There is something a out how black and white photos reduce the picture into positive and negative space. I love playing with balance, but like you, I often crop them to get that effect.
      Thanks for coming by John!

  31. I tend to prefer black and white, I just love the way it looks and the mood it conveys. Still, I love all the photos you posted!

    • Aww! Thanks so much Darla!
      I remember taking a lot of black and white photos for a while. Film was so expensive. Even when on vacation, I took pictures very sparingly. Nothing like now when I take thousands!!!!

  32. I like all of them. B&W has its place. The colour in the second is subdued, like that lots.

    • Thanks Nelle! It’s so great to see you!
      I would love to blow some of these up. One idea I had a while back was to print all the creepy pictures and frame them then put them out for Halloween!

  33. With the photos above, you already have such contrast, and highlights with the frame contents in colour due to the natural ability for the snow to create depth of field, along with negative/white space. B&W can aid in increasing the depth of field in a photograph when put to use in a frame that has much more colour, above the effects of the snow does this already, and so the B&W versions seem to dull themselves in a way to the eye. Giving a sense of being taken sometime ago, like those one sometimes comes across in an old book.

    Do I edit my photos? Depends on what genre of photography I’m working in at the time, journalistic no, artistic, yes, but never to out right set about to deceive without purpose, when what can be done in the field through manual manipulation, rather than turning to digital tools.

    • Thanks for stopping by and for your informative comment. I graduated in art, but never took photography. I am really enjoying my camera and am learning through experimenting. One of these days I will take a class! It sounds like you teach them!

      • I don’t take enough photos,… no teaching classes, just love what different photographers find to light each emerging soul within a photograph. All the best with the photography!

  34. I edit everything and just love black and white..:) Lovely pics Susie

  35. From these three pairs, B&W, color, color respectively. I enjoy editing my photos especially using app on iPhone :)

  36. USe of color or lack of it depends on the story/post – color/lack of it makes different focus/emphasis. Black and white is stark but sophisticated or calls earlier times. Editing is a great tool to make thing fit just right

  37. I usually like color but sometimes when a photo is in black and white you can see the details more.

  38. I love them all. That’s what I want for Christmas, a good camera. All I have now is the camera on my cell phone and it has no flash! ;)

  39. I prefer color. The only editing I do is compressing or cropping, and I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for that. I’ve never tried to figure out programs like Photoshop. Never heard of PicMonkey. Remember, I’m old and tech-challenged (I think that term sounds better than stupid).

    • I first discovered PicMonkey through Coleen Patrick who uses the program for “signatures.” There are a lot of fun effects to use. It’s pretty easy David! You’ll have to try it sometime!

  40. I have to admit that I like the color better. When it comes to editing, my favorites are the ones that aren’t quite the focus or shot I was aiming at, but in their errors, I see things I never expected.

    • I agree about the shots. A camera can be more of a toy sometimes than a tool. I have a blast with mine! Except when I go on a haunted tour and they disappear for 15 minutes….
      Thanks so much Barb!

  41. I prefer the color, as well. Gorgeous pictures, Susie.

  42. I definitely prefer the color, Susie. Fantastic photographs.

  43. I don’t edit much, usually just straighten my wonky horizon and cropping. I actually like all of these you posted in color. But the black and white ones are good too!

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