By Kerry Drager
Think of the olden days of photography, and black and white comes to mind. Then along came color, and black and white slipped into the specialty or boutique realm. In recent years, however, black and white has seen a resurgence of interest. And why not? After all, B&W offers a certain mood, and a classic, if not elegant, quality. Stripped of color, black and white can communicate its visual strengths very clearly.
I totally agree with the thoughts of BetterPhoto instructor Deborah Sandidge, who says: "As much as I love color photos, black and white holds a timeless appeal. ... With black and white imagery, light, shadow, contrast, textures, patterns all become more important. Converting an image to black and white allows the foundation of a photograph to become very clear and more meaningful, telling a different story."
If your camera has a special black-and-white shooting mode, most people (including myself) still highly urge you to shoot in color and convert the images to black and white in the digital darkroom. This way, you aren't locked into just one version (B&W). You can have both color and black-and-white at your disposal.
One of Deb Sandidge's favorite techniques for converting photos to black and white is with Nik Silver Efex Pro. See her photos below. In black and white, she points out, "it looks as if it could have been taken long ago, creating a nostalgic look. I like the color version, it's fun and reflects Cuba as it is now, (although it's virtually unchanged, including the cars). Portraying the scene with the vintage appeal of black and white just seems to fit."
Also, says Deb, you can create a faded color vintage look "by reducing the opacity of the filter layer."
Note: Deb Sandidge for her online Photoshop courses Photoshop - Enhancing Digital Images and Creating Works of Art and Digital Infrared Photography.