View Full Version : Posting Preference - Colour, Greyscale, Duotone?

07-11-2005, 04:31
Hello everyone

I'd like some advice. In using film, I've generally been a transparency user because I've not spent much time in a traditional darkroom.

Many RF users seem to prefer monchrome film. There are some amazing monochrome images in RFF user gallleries with beautiful tones that are testament to this.

I don't yet have the scanning / photoshop skills to produce such images. I look at my gallery and I think "my monochromes are all over the place, and they just don't leap out and show the tonality that others achieve."

Perhaps this is because my "monochromes" are created from colour transparencies or c41 print film, and when I scan some of the HP5+ I've been shooting it will have more of a monochrome feel.

In the meantime, because I feel like I'm cheating trying to get monochrome out of colour originals, please let me know which of these you prefer.

They were taken with a Bessa L and CV Heliar 15/4.5 at around f8..

07-11-2005, 04:42
I like the second one the best. It seems contrastier and with a wider range of tones. There are members here who regularly shoot in color and then make monochrome files and I respect their work a lot but I can't help thinking that their results would look so much better if they used B&W film.

Personally I don't like toning and prefer a straight grayscale. Just a personal preference. :)

07-11-2005, 04:49
They all have their own points so I'm going to sit on the wall ;)

I think in reality you should post the images which you prefer the way you like to see them. Always remember it's your photography and your art which is what really matters.

07-11-2005, 04:54
I prefer the original, but for a monochrome, I like the second image better. The third has some artificial warmth that isn't shown in the original scene.

I too shoot color exclusively. I've been experimenting with the channel mixer in Photoshop doing some mono prints of some and finding that you can do quite a bit with this in bringing out or subordinating some of the colors in the scene.

back alley
07-11-2005, 05:40
i'm with tony, do what feels good to you.

i like some colour work and your first shot is a good example where showing that explosion of green works nicely. but for me, i prefer b&w for almost everything.
only you can really decide.


07-11-2005, 21:28
I like the greyscale one best. The impact of the colour image is lessened by the (lack of) colours present. They detract from the pattern which is more prominent in the greyscale one. The warm and cold ones are overdone in my opinion. The key here is to play it subtly.

07-11-2005, 21:51
only you can really decide.Very true. Yet we can also benefit from hearing the views of other RFF members. Not just "which is better" but "what makes it better."

I too have been wondering about B&W's position in my photographic efforts. My recent project has been people working, portraits while "doing their thing." This is sort of documentary, and who they are in the context of what they do. So, which is more appropriate for this, color or B&W? I immediately chose color as more realistically descriptive. But I've done a few in B&W that work well too.

Years ago I had a project of shadows often more solid-seeming than the objects that cast them. B&W of course; a bright yellow object would grab too much attention from its shadow! I had another project shooting mannikins (those still intrigue me) and there too B&W seemed better able to show their abstraction of reality.

B&W is one more step removed/abstracted from life, and discards color that would distract from the purpose of the photo. Textures, and wrinkles, and shapes, and expressions, and shadows and graphic designs then take precedence. Yet color is useful in making rich designs too, and I like to see the lively sprays of green in the first photo variation. The dead branch carries the eye from the main spray on around to the others.

B&W can be fine for landscapes, and color can be fine for landscapes, but I think if well-used for landscapes, each will be very different landscapes! Say, a small scene of jagged rock & dried twigs and a black beetle laboring across the sun-hot rippled sand... that's a B&W shot!

If I have any indecision about taking color or B&W film for an outing -- and sometimes I do -- I think I must not have a very clear idea of what I'm after that day... and should think again before setting out!

So thanks for bringing it up, jmilkins; it can help others think out what they're doing too!

07-11-2005, 21:57
I like the first one (color) best.