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Do You Typically Edit In Color Or Black And White?

When you edit, do you learn toward color or black & white for the majority of your images?  How do you decide?  Does it depend on the subject matter, the message you wish to convey, or something else?

I love color!  99.5% of all my work is in color.  It probably says something about my style as a photographer and maybe even something about my personality.  When I originally posted this image on the MCP Facebook Page, I assumed everyone would love the color version as it seemed so vital to the image.  I took this photo in Curacao, a Southern Caribbean Island.  After posting, I had a number of people ask to see my original and some saying they’d prefer a tighter crop and conversion to black and white.  So I edited that way too and posted this showing all three.

As you can see I used the MCP Fusion Photoshop actions to edit the photo. The color edit used the Color Fusion Mix and Match action with One Click Color brought to 100%, Sentimental and Summer Camp each activated and adjusted to 15% opacity.  I also cropped the image.  Without a flash, it was difficult to expose the dynamic range since bright areas were in the background, while the subject had dark skin tones.  If I exposed for the skin, I would have blown out highlights.

For the black and white, I started the edit from the color version.  Sometimes I will start with the original.  Experiment – if you use one on top of the other, it often is too intense.  It was not here though…  I ran the Black & White Fusion Mix and Match Photoshop action.  I left the One Click B&W at the default.  Then I activated the Reminisce layer and adjusted to 26% opacity.

Make sure to leave a comment and let us know about your overall shooting and editing preferences as it pertains to color.  Feel free to also tell us which you prefer for this specific image.  After writing this post, I am missing the islands.  I’m ready to go back again.

for fb ba copy 600x475 Do You Typically Edit In Color Or Black And White?

 Do You Typically Edit In Color Or Black And White?

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Toni says:

    I personally prefer black and white images, but my clients mostly prefer color, so I process mostly in color, throwing a few black and white images into the mix.

    For your image here, I really do prefer the black and white. There is just too much color in the background that competes with the subject matter for attention. I like the tighter crop, too.

  2. 2
    caro jo says:

    definitely the BW version!

  3. 3
    Laurie says:

    Really like the b&w version but normally for me, I love color. :)

  4. 4
    JFlip says:

    The cropping really makes it. The b&w is very good. Personally, I would prefer the color cropped to the same extent as you did the b&w with a bit more blurring of the background.

  5. 5

    For the year 2012, I am only using Black and White film. In July 2011, I took my camera out of an extended hiatus for the final Space Shuttle launch; I used Kodak Ektar 100.

    I made a return trip to see Atlantis return home. Since it was a night landing, I figured color would be wasted, so I shot Kodak BW400CN at ISO 1600. Doing so, I rediscovered that Black and White film has a classic look about it.

    So 2012 is a year of experimentation and learning, working with different B&W filters. My wife is understanding of my 2012 New Year’s Resolution. A friend of ours is not interested in B&W; she wants color. I’ll resume shooting in color next year, but it won’t be exclusively color.

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