Novita by the power of three: Deciding if photos are better in color or black and white?

Novita by the power of three

A tough decision many photographers face is deciding how the final image should look. This holds especially true in any type of portraiture. Many people are drawn to black and white, as often it’s more flattering to the model and as such, many people correlate black and white with more professional portraits.

Quite often I process photos in both color and black and white, but only post one version or the other; it’s not always an easy decision. The example above includes the full color, the same image with more muted tones, and the black and white version. Now, as a side note, it’s not always desirable to shoot night photos in total darkness; generally it’s more preferable to shoot right before dark so as to include more ambient light. Unfortunately, living on the equator, that gloaming period drops quicker than George W’s ratings.

If you ask me which one I prefer, I’d probably say the original. Novita has beautiful golden skin, and I think the original displays that glow true to life; I’m a bit biased though. The second includes a bit more processing, using adjustment layers, curves, and some color tweaks. This is more typical to fashion magazines and those that favor such manipulation. I’m not sure if it works or not this time. Perhaps if there were other colors in the image it’d be more successful. The final black and white is slightly harsh this time; once again, shooting in total darkness has that effect. Black and white definitely has its appeal in many photographs, but in this case I feel the lighting was too strong to make it work.

If anyone has a preference, let’s hear it. Do you find that you generally prefer color or black and white photographs?

They can also be seen individually via the photoblog here: In full color, muted tones, and black and white.