Only a Distraction

Only a Distraction

Someone said color is only a distraction when it comes to good photography.  I put my camera in black and white mode and went out taking pictures.  It’s true.  You pay more attention to composition and lighting when shooting in B&W.  Color is a distraction.

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Black & White Portrait

The above is a good example.  When I look at the color version, I’m distracted by the

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Color as a Distraction

pinks against the tans of the skin.   There’s also a mood in black and white that you don’t get in color.

They say most people dream in black and white.  Perhaps that is why, but I doubt it.  I’m an in-color dreamer, and I see the mood set in black and white.  As a result, I doubt that’s the reason.








Color grain (or noise) is very distracting.  However, in B&W it gives a softness.

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Grain in B&W

This picture (above) is unretouched and shows the grain, but you can also see the texture of the girl’s skin.  I won’t show you the color because it looks awful.  But, the B&W has an appeal.

Again, color is a distraction.

Defense of Color

In defense of color, color has its place.  Colors can sooth, but at times… are they really not taking the place of shades of gray?

Here’s an example…

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Shades and Tints of Orange Replace Shades of Gray

As you look at the above photo, do you start to see that everything is orange mixed with black or white?

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Now in Black and White

Once the orange is removed and all you see is black and white and shades of gray in between, you probably notice things.  You see things you didn’t see before.  You see patterns, textures, lack of textures, etc.

About the Author

D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer, a Photographic Craftsman, and is currently serving as President of Finger Lakes Professional Photographers.  He is also the Certification Liaison for the CPP program in New York.

His work has won numerous awards and is frequently published.  His specialty is portraiture (both photographic and painted).  However, he also sells thousands of landscape prints each year.