Reasons to Shoot Black and White Part 3: Remove the Distraction

Arches of York Railway station from the air. Reasons to shoot black and white part 3 remove the distraction. A look at why monochrome photography is a good choice for certain types of photos. Busy images or harsh colours mean you want to remove the distraction and turning it black and white is one way to achieve that. Blog series.Black and white photography is naturally simple to look at, and that is part of its charm. It narrows the image down to an expression of light and form. That doesn’t mean it is very simple to shoot, and it’s certainly not my forte.

The fact that monochrome is a more simple kind of image has helped me save a few photos from the bin. As I explained in the previous post, I quite often take a photo thinking about one point that I am trying to make or one visual that I’m trying to showcase. But then when I look at the photo on screen later, I can see that the eye is drawn to something else.

When Cropping won’t cut it

I’ve written several blogs about cropping photos and that’s a great way to polish a photo to look its best. What if I want to remove the distraction when it is in the main part of the photo? You might tell me to clone it out but although I’m pretty nifty with Photoshop, I’m not a magician.

Arches of York railway station from the air. Reasons to shoot black and white part 3: remove the distraction on Falcondale Life blog. A look at why monochrome photography is a good choice for certain types of photos.Photographers Love Red

This photo of York railway station puts the grand arches on the diagonal, which I thought was going to be a strong composition. The problem here is the red shelter. Have you ever heard the expression “photographers love red”? Red is the ultimate jump-right-out-at-you colour in a photo. If you want to know what I mean, take a walk around the wall art section of Ikea. There you will find a lot of London buses and cola bottles fighting for your visual attention – for exactly this reason.

Remove the distraction of strong colour

OK I know this shelter is not very red, but I want to remove the distraction. Also the stone buildings and platforms are warm and their texture is too different from the arches.

There’s a very light area on a car roof too. I don’t want to crop all the edges out as that would lose context.Arches of York station from the air in black and white. Reasons to shoot black and white part 3: remove the distraction on Falcondale Life blog. A look at why monochrome photography is a good choice for certain types of photos.I’ve turned the image black and white using a red filter preset and I’ve increased the contrast too. I’ve actually tried this both in Photoshop and in Lightroom and the results are similar. I think it makes for a much more punchy, architectural image. I’d love to know your thoughts on this result.

Making a shot less busy

A much more mundane photo of my camping kitchen appeared on this blog many months ago. It is in black and white for the simple reason that it is an awfully busy image full of junk. I don’t think it’s possible for a tent kitchen to look neat and tidy, and I don’t mind that. However I just did not think that the photo makes my point very well in colour because of the chaos. It is not a very good black and white photo either, but I reckon it does the job better that way.

Tent kitchen on a stand. Reasons to shoot black and white part 3: remove the distraction on Falcondale Life blog. A look at why monochrome photography is a good choice for certain types of photos.Tent kitchen on a stand in colour. Reasons to shoot black and white part 3: remove the distraction on Falcondale Life blog. A look at why monochrome photography is a good choice for certain types of photos.

Does monochrome remove the distraction in your opinion? I would love your feedback on this as I do wish I could use the shot in colour! Let me know in the comments or if you like, contact me via social media or email.

 

Photalife
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8 Comments

  1. 31st March 2018 / 11:21 pm

    I adore Black and White images. Some of my favourites are in black and white while others are of items/ people in bright red! So this was the perfect explanation for me!

    I do think black and white has a much more serene and makes me feel like the moment/ place/ subject has been captured to stay there forever (I know all photos are now days but you don’t think about it when you look at the photo)

    • 4th April 2018 / 1:10 pm

      Serene is a good word to describe monochrome. Red is a colour which kind of advances out of the picture as you look at it.

  2. 25th March 2018 / 8:40 pm

    I love using a black and white edit to hide something like a bold colour

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • 27th March 2018 / 2:42 pm

      Convenient – but also can be so striking!

  3. 25th March 2018 / 8:22 pm

    I don’t usually like black and white more but I do prefer it on those buildings, it makes them more impactful and cleaner somehow

    • 27th March 2018 / 2:41 pm

      That’s how I think too. Colour first and then black and white is usually an afterthought.

  4. 25th March 2018 / 7:54 pm

    I’d never thought of the reason why black and white sometimes works better than colour, but it probably is about removing the distraction! The most recent photo I thought looked better in black and white was a photo of my daughter – at the railway station!

    • 27th March 2018 / 2:40 pm

      There are quite a few different reasons. Skin tone is one I may include at the end of this series.

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