The absence of color…
Anyone who reads my blog posts knows that color makes me very, very happy. Color is the first thing that I notice when taking or looking at a photo. There are times, however, when even a color-addict such as myself delves into the world of monochrome.
Cloudy, foggy, stormy days just beg to be converted to black and white. If I want the shape and/or form of the subject to be the main focus of the photo, I will also consider black and white. As part of my processing routine, I quickly check most photos in black and white just to see if something pops – you just never know.
Nik Silver Efex Pro is a great tool for converting people photos to black and white, or even sepia tone, when I want to convey an older, timeless feel. I will also use it when there is hardly any color in the photo to begin with. I cannot emphasize how much I love this plug-in. For the record, I have no relationship with Nik other than buying their software. 🙂
Shockingly, there has even been a time or two when I will convert a beautiful photo that has lots of color to black and white. In those rare cases, the color has to be a huge distraction that takes away from the expression of the subject. I was in India last year, which is arguably the most colorful place on Earth. I visited a small village and was gently accosted by some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Unbelievably, they were as excited to have their photos taken almost as much as I was excited to take them!
I loved the combination of red and blue in this photo. When I converted it to black and white, though, it seemed to fit her softer, doe-like expression more than the color version. The red seemed to convey power and passion, which were definitely at odds with her expression.
In Aperture I adjusted levels and white balance, cropped, sharpened, and added a vignette. I used Photoshop to darken the blue wall a bit so as to not detract from her face. Lastly, I converted to black and white in Nik Silver Efex Pro.
Photo 1 Info: Nikon D3S, 24-70mm at 70mm, ISO 1600, f/3.2, 1/40th, -.33ev.
Photo 2 Info: Nikon D3S, 24-70mm at 70mm, ISO 1600, f/3.2, 1/40th, -.33ev.