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Black & White


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Sort of the opposite of HDR is black & white. I rarely convert images to B&W, but there are times it makes sense. For example, some of my staff at work started a softball team and I try and attend as many games as possible, taking photos in the process of course. Problem is, the lighting is HORRIBLE, but in terms of quantity and quality. Due to this, noise is usually an issue I need to deal with when shooting these events. So from time to time, I will convert one to B&W which does an amazing job of dealing with the noise. In fact, sometimes the noise adds to a B&W image.


There are other reasons I convert to B&W, mainly that the mood it relays is more impactful than the color version.


Here are a few examples of some recent images:



This is actually one of my favorites, mainly because of the subject and what was going on. She is one of my staff accountants and her husband was pitching at the time, and not doing well. It was really upsetting for her and it can be seen in her face.



To me, this B&W version conveys the mood better. I kept the eye colored, just because I like the look.



Another staff accountant, it was a bad night all around and he was taking it particularly hard.



Again, I like the B&W version to convey the mood.



To switch the mood and not give the impression that every night is a bad night, here is a person from my Accounts Payable team. She is always fun to be around and we love it when she comes to a game.



While the color version is fine, I just like the B&W version better.



Here is another one of the same person. Nothing special in this color version



But this B&W version is much better IMO, especially with the eye remaining colored. BTW, she didn’t really like this look, although I did clean up a few facial issues 


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Here are a few more:



Here are a few more color vs B&W:










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I also love black and white and have a suggestion. There IS a difference between shooting in black and white and converting a color image. When set to b&w, the camera uses the entire CMOS to get the most light saturation data possible. When shooting in cplot, each of the three colors gets 1/3 of the sensor. Converting flattens the color intensities into an average to approximate what the full image would have been but in theory is lossy. Try a session in b&w only and see if you notice the difference.

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Are you sure this applies even when shooting RAW, which is all I do? Two reasons I don't set the camera to B&W is:


1. I shot in RAW only all the time

2. I never know what image will someday be a candidate for converting to B&W, so I would be hard pressed to use that setting even if I were using JPEG


However, I will do a little experiment when I have time and shot the same scene with color and B&W settings in the camera using RAW and then compare the results.



Also, if the B&W images seem flat it may have been my poor choice of conversion, although some of them intentionally used a different setting, like the last one and the one with the guys back to us. To be honest, each one of these may have been a different B&W conversion setting, so I am all over the place. :(


The more I think about it, the more I think it is better to shot RAW, which you should almost always do, and then convert in post processing. The conversion going on in the camera can't be as good as you can do in post processing, unless your post processing skills suck like mine.

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