A Haven for Vee

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Simple as Black and White

Right. Nothing could be further from the truth. Black and white photography is complicated.

I began this process by wondering about whether to take a color photograph and make it black and white with photo editing or to use a black and white photograph from the git-go. I did both. Let's compare, shall we?

I borrowed an idea of my own that some may remember from the earlier days of this blog — stacked stove grates. Exciting, right?


1. Setting the Scene: kitchen sink
in color
 side lamp on
ISO 400
I have no idea of distance
using A (aperture priority) setting with an Aperture of 2.7
macro setting


2. The same photo with color removed in photo editing


 3. taken using the Black and White setting under "scene"

(not sure that I see much difference between taking a black and white photo and removing color)


4. Black and white subjects, but taken in color mode
Dial on A
+0 Exposure Compensation
ISO 400
Macro setting


5. Ditto on all except this was taken on black and white setting in Scene
Contrast  bumped to +10

Edited to Add: Per Auntie's Suggestion


6. All of #5's info plus brightened in photo editing — it blew out the details a little too much.

(I don't like any of them. I do like the first photo of the woman floating in water here, though I didn't have a likely subject.)

~Give me a little color please~

Thanks to Donna at Cottage Days and Journeys for stretching my thinking. I'm going to let it snap back now. After all, my world is already pretty black and white.☺ Please find more black and white photography *here.*


  1. I think black and white portraiture can be gorgeous, but overall I'm a color fan myself.


  2. Good comparison here Vee that shooting in black and white or editing to it produce the same results. I don't see a difference either.
    I never thought to photograph my piano keys, the perfect black and white, or ebony and ivory.

  3. Interesting. I've wondered if it really matters taking it in b/w as opposed to changing it to b/w. Apparently it does not. Which is good to know. I always feel like I'm "cheating" when I change my photos to it in photoshop. Thanks for the comparisons!

    Have a great day!

  4. I like these photos Vee. Those stove grates are architecturally pleasing to the eye and when emmersed in white soap suds in a white sink they become art. (how do you spell emerged??) stupid spellcheck. I haven't a clue of settings, lighting etc. in my pics. I just shoot. So, I also appreciate that you stretched your mind for this. I'm lazy. No stretching here. And it's cloudy again today. The sun has yet to appear and the wind still blows although not as strong. Enjoy the day!!

  5. Great photo's. I love b/w and also color!!

    Have a wonderful day!

  6. I can see a difference in the color removed pic and the b/w pic...but just barely. I have wanted to take some of my photos of buildings I took while in Paris and turn them into black and white. But then I don't thing I would hang them, because I love color too much.

  7. I live in a very colorful world so it was a challenge for me! You did a great job explaining different settings! Happy weekend!

  8. I did a little reading in the instruction manual last night and discovered what those letter settings stand for. It made me very thankful that I'm not in a rush to learn AND even more thankful for my little non-complicated camera.

    I love the way you see things and find the beauty in shape, shades, texture, color, etc. You truly have an eye for capturing the beauty in things that I would miss, but see once you have shared them. I love the shape of the stove grates. Would I have seen that? I hope so, but am reminded, through you, to take notice of things that are in my every-day life.

    Thank you for spending some time sharing what you're learning about photography. You're helping me in my efforts to learn more than just pointing my camera and clicking.

  9. How about if you Lightened, all your B&W pics? (I can "Lighten" with just the Application on my computer's iPhoto thing.) To me (who doesn't know a dang thing about this but... lol.), the white parts of your photos, need to be a bit sharper WHITE.

    Ahh but I well know... When we post a photo, it does not necessarily look-like we prepared it to look. -sigh-

    As I said yesterday, ever see a totally B&W blog, done by an expert???? I did, long ago, and it "took-the-wind-out-of-my-sales", as to trying much, for B&W. -chuckle-

    Hooray for your joining in!!!!


  10. I love my color, so b&w photography is not my thing, except when looking at really old photos when that was all there was. You did wonderful staging here. My old point-and-shoot doesn't have a b&w option. (at least I have never noticed it). xo

  11. Ah, this challenge got you thinking, which is always a good thing, as Martha would say! I see where you were going, trying to compare B&W produced in the camera versus B&W produced in the editing. And you make it extra challenging for yourself by taking a picture of a subject that is essentially B&W in real life, except for the yellow glow from a light bulb, and with no texture. There was the rub, LOL!

    But after the experimentation was over, you redeemed yourself in spades by presenting us a brilliant photo of piano key, taken at a perfect angle and with perfect depth of field! It was a subject that could truly sing, and it is belting out a Hallelujah chorus for us. Bravo!

  12. I like number 2 picture of the oven grates with the color removed.
    Though black and white pictures can be beautiful, I like color ones best. : )
    The piano photo is really cool. I like the perspective.

  13. Since I grew up with having Black & White photos, I like the option. Sometimes, it makes the scene even better. It's something I should try also, XOXO

  14. I like your experiments and your observations. I need to get out of my comfort zone and start experimenting a bit when it comes to photography. Have a wonderful weekend Vee!

  15. Well, I don't know Fstop from zoom...but I Do know I like and I like what I see Here!
    You worked hard on this and that's what I see! Great job!!
    Happy Weekend!

  16. We do live in a colored world. But b/w seems to give a feeling of nostalgia to me. You did a great job. I have two cameras now and not having any luck find the settings for b/w from my camera. Guess I better read my book again. That was a great subject to experiment with. I see a lot of familiar names on the list.

  17. Hmmm...I have no idea what you are talking about. I just use my point and shoot:) but I could see the difference in some of the photos.

    Thanks for the tip about asking the neighbors!


    Back to my list...

  18. I see is very suttle difference in the shadows between the two. The one taken in B&W mode seems to have a smidge more detail. But then I am an extremely acute observer, not a photo expert. You did a nice job Vee.

  19. Great photos! I like the grates and the suds, really nice!

  20. Excellent ideas! Great shots!

  21. Oh mercy...I love the shots...but you lost me with the aperture and stuff!! I am a point and click!!....but pretty shots!!

  22. Interesting (lack of ) contrast between the removal of color and actual photographing in b and w. You amaze me with your energy and increasing your photography knowledge. The piano keys photo is stunning! Now why would I prefer that to your burner photos? Because the former make me think about how badly I need to scrub my stove, and the piano keys draw me to what I'd rather be doing any day than cleaning the stove. :-)

  23. Did you take the pic of the piano keys? I'm somewhat of a fan of b/w but it depends on the subject. Your sink and stove grates make a nice subject matter. ~ Abby

  24. You lost me at ISO 400.
    Love your fake ballerinas and the fake story. And your last book picture in the book post is gorgeous.

  25. Thanks for stretching my thinking too Vee! Good for you to be learning more about your camera....I need to do that!
    Have a most wonderful weekend - hope the storms are fizzling out and that Spring is just around the corner!!!

  26. a fun photographic experiment. I don't see much difference between the one taken in color and the one taken in black and white. Maybe someone with a better eye would notice though

  27. I'm glad you detailed the various settings and what you did. Very interesting. The subject of stove grates is interesting - definitely a great subject for black and white. But my favourite photo is the one of your piano keys. Great angle on that shot.

  28. Good job on the 'black & white'. My favorite? The piano keyboard. Perfect in black and white!

  29. Interestig subject and good descriptions, Vee. I usually prefer color photos to black and white, but I've noticed that portraits look very special in B&W. Also, with old fashioned film, the B&W photos last longer.

  30. Now don't get me to judging your photos. I think ... wait I need to go back and look at the for two black/whites..... I like #3. The darks are a bit darker - more contrast. The one you shot in b/w. I DO love the piano keyboard - I agree with Pat, I usually prefer color, but portraits can be very dramatic and lovely in b/w!

  31. I do love color photos, but they won't last the way black and white can, and you are learning a great deal about all sorts of photography. Good for you, Vee!

  32. Amazing how an everyday kitchen object can become such an interesting subject Vee - I think you did a great job, and you weren't even cooking!! Funny thing is, just last night I mentioned to my DH how pleased I was not to have to soak/scrub burner grates and pans since we purchased a glass topped stove several years back! But of course I can't get such interesting pics as you did.

    I love this chance to share pics - glad I found and joined in Donna's challenge.

    Happy weekend - Mary

  33. Black and white has its place, I think. When my friend Frances did our family photo shoot back in November when Ryan and family were home for Thanksgiving, it was a last minute affair! Consequently, there was quite the assortment of clothing colors...a virtual rainbow! Frances edited many of the pictures in black and white, and it was a great improvement. But beyond the wardrobe diversity issue...a few she put in black and white for aesthetic value as it made the eye focus on the emotion of the shot, and not be distracted by the details.

    This is one of the pictures... http://thinking-about-home.blogspot.com/2012/11/family-picture-2012.html ... This link has more... http://thinking-about-home.blogspot.com/2012/12/beloved-faces.html. (Don't feel obligated to look at them...just if you're interested in more black and white shots.)

    Your piano keys shot is fabulous!

  34. O DARN IT...I missed this. I absolutely LOVE black and white. I would have entered my link to my black and white photos of family on my dining room wall.
    Having only a point and shoot, all the camera settings are Greek to moi. :)

  35. They are all very beautiful, and I can't tell the difference!

  36. Very nice B&W study of the these stove grates! Wonderful blog!

  37. WOW really interesting re it doesn't make much difference using B&W settings or not on camera.
    Love Leanne

  38. It is always fun to change a color photo to black and white via editing as the composition will become more obvious and one can learn what made the photo like able.

    My current photography puzzle is figuring how to get prints made that are as lovely as the photo onscreen. Cropping really messes with printing and details that are sharp on screen look muzzy soft in print. There are lots of reasons for this according to photography sites. Looks like it will be a huge trial and error adventure to figure it all out.

  39. Oh I enjoyed watching you play with the photos - much more fun that scrubbing stove parts.


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