We have come a long way since black and white film photography. Ever since colour films came in the market people have used it to create images that look and feel more natural. But in recent times we have seen photographers avoiding colour and opting to shoot or edit images in black and white. In this article we try to understand the implications of the recent spike in the use of black and white and why photographers should not refrain from shooting in colour.
Finding inspiration from legendary photographers who shoot black and white images is one thing, but trying to emulate or copy their style is completely wrong. Many amateurs today, due to lack of guidance end up following and imitating the masters, thus losing out on creating something new. Establishing one’s own style is extremely important and sticking to shooting or editing black and white photos is not going to help. There are many well-known photographers who shoot colour. Following their work closely can lead to a lot of ideas which can in-turn help a photographer develop his or her own style of shooting. One should always remember that drawing inspiration is one thing, but blindly imitating frames and composition is unacceptable. There is a fine line between the two and the photographer needs to perfectly balance himself or herself.
Analysing images taken by other people is also an important task. Look at the colour schemes. See which colour gels well with which environment. Read about the colour wheel and learn about complimentary colours. Colours are very easy to handle and getting scared of taking colour photos will only restrict your photography. Colour photos make for much more appealing pictures and catches the viewer’s eyes instantly. The colour wheel will help you to mix and match colours in the environment or in a studio setting to bring out the best in your photo. Learning more about primary colours will help you look at your frame from a completely different perspective. Once you start shooting keeping the complimentary primary and secondary colours in mind, using colour in your photographs will become easier. Looking at images shot by other photographers will help in developing your eye to seeing and observing colours in your environment. The biggest challenge in shooting great colourful photos is actually noticing the colour. Since our eyes are used to looking at the world in colour, we take it for granted and do not notice the colours around us in everyday life.
Always shoot colour
No matter what the surrounding is and what the frame is, if you are shooting JPEG images always shoot in colour. Even if you feel that you will want the frame to be black and white, do not shoot black and white in-camera. Shooting in colour will provide you with flexibility and a lot of scope to edit in post production. Do not restrict yourself to shooting black and white as a photograph might look much better in colour. Decide what you want the end product to be, once you have seen it on your monitor. There are times when you will change your mind about it and shooting in in-camera black and white will restrict you from changing it further.
Colour correct your monitor
There will be times when you will see that the hours spent on editing one image has gone to waste because the photo looks completely different in other screens or even in print. Remember to colour correct your monitor if you want to see the true colours. Different monitors will show different shades of colours for the same image thus rendering your editing useless if your monitor is not colour corrected. There are various colour correcting tools and software available in the market. Spyder 5 by datacolor is one such tool that creates a unique colour profile according to your monitor’s display thus calibrating your monitor to display true colours.
Like any other fear, be it fear for driving, swimming or even fear of studying, practice helps with getting rid of fear. Colour is not scary at all if you know how to use it to your advantage. The beauty of colour is incomparable and if used correctly can make for astounding images. While it is okay to shoot black and white images and sometimes, undoubtedly it might work better than colour, it does not mean colour should be avoided. Human eyes love and are generally attracted to colour. Right from our childhood we perceive colour as something alluring and this holds true for photographs as well. So practise shooting colour photographs and you will eventually get things right.