Battle: Black & White vs. Color


All of these images are great, and choosing the Winner is going to very tough. Be sure to vote below, and leave a comment stating why you voted the way you did!

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    The leafs on the color photo are a bit strange, they seem to be put there without a plan, as in the bw photo the leafs become one with the model, this works for me. And the pose of the bw girl is much more interesting

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    David J. Crewe

    The black & white feels more dramatic and pulls attention into the eyes of the model, where as the color one i’m distracted by that leaf in front of her face on the left. I think the positioning of the subjects help as well. looking off camera gives a nice sense of disconnection and drama to the image (b&w).

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    Eddie Sebastian

    My love for Black and Whites have always been exactly that, a love for absence of color, but it was never a reason for a dislike of color. I love them both, in fact, whether an image pops with color or not, it is the image itself, the concept, the reasoning behind an image that holds me. Now my reasoning for my vote.

    Altho’, I like the color portrait, I feel there’s so much yellow and green in it that I can’t focus on any particular part of the image and that one big leaf, is just out of place for me. But it is still a beautiful portrait.

    As for why I pick the Black and White, I’ll first start with what I don’t like about it. It is the texture surrounding the eyes. It shows way too much texture compared to the rest of the visible skin, which seems a tad blown out. Now what I do like, is the fact that it is purely an image void of color, and emphasizes form and texture, due to the control of tonal latitude is, in my own opinion, extraordinary. I can really take in all of the image and focus on what is pleasurable about the portrait, and that’s the concept of the image.

    Fantastic work on both images, Mark.

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    Mark ODonnell

    I am going against the grain. I love the color photo. Because of the choice of warm complimentary colors it’s like candy for my eyes. I love the B&W also but I think we analyze B&W images differently.

    Which leads to my other comment. I was having a discussion with some friends (non photographers) who had seen the Leibovitz exhibit recently and was surprised that the majority really liked the B&W images the most. When I asked them if they could tell me why they liked the B&W images their descriptions of the B&W photos included terms like “shade, shadow, light, contrast, etc” which is totally opposite of how they described the color photos which included terms like “person, pose, subject, and color”.

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    Mark O'Grady-Photography

    Firstly thank you Aaron and Phlearn for featuring not one, but two of my images for this Phlearn Battle. I really am flattered and was blown away to come to the site and see them both there as I’ve been a fan of Phlearn since the beginning. Much of what I have learnt about photoshop has been from Phlearn so much kudos to you guys for all your hardwork and helping me improve.

    I shot both images in the same shoot so the lighting setup I used was fairly similar with a few tweaks. In both cases I used a 48cm beauty dish with the grid removed and metered for ISO100, F9 @ 1/125

    BW – This was quite a simple setup, I placed the beauty dish quite high about 7 feet and fairly central (maybe a few inches to the camera right). I also had a gridded reflector aiming at at the white background turned down as low as possible to give a small hotspot on the background.

    Colour – In this one I used a similar setup to the black and white image but the beauty dish was further to the camera right. To soften the shadows I added a Lastolite triflector in front of the model and just out of frame. This helped to kick some light back onto the leaves.

    The triflector is great at helping you shape your light and shadows with alot of control rather than using lots of lights.

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    Tim Shahady

    This is a great battle. Both images are striking, but I do like the color but a bit more. The colors used are so perfect between the makeup and the leaves. I do prefer the model’s pose in the B&W.

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    The whole why doesn’t black and white look weird to us is something I’ve never thought of before, but I’m wondering if we see more in black and white than we think, like towards the outer edges of our eyes and in low light, I’m just thinking of this: and then making a total guess based on that info!

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    Sarah Allegra

    I really love the color palate in the color image, but the sense of story, emotion and drama in the black and white are what sell me on it. In general, I tend to prefer color over black and white, but this time, the black and white wins for me 🙂

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    Marco Rabadan

    First off. Loving the Phlearn website. Thanks Fstoppers for poiting me to it. and second….both images are stunning. I think in this particular color image the color is very distracting. And i absolutely love the contrast on the BW shot. Both great shots but went with the BW one.

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    Larry Williamson

    (I know my comments are a little late. I’m just catching up after an extended trip)…

    B&W is always considered “the” art form and I wonder sometimes if people prefer it (or say they do) because then they look or sound more “arty”? Maybe not. That said, I often prefer B&W and a lot of my work is done B&W for that reason.

    But in this case I really much prefer the colour version. The B&W is gorgeous. But it’s the colour version that keeps pulling me in. I am especially drawn to her eyes. That make up does it for me.