Color or black and white, which do you like? (#1)

The Conversation, Market Street - San Francisco, California
The Conversation, Market Street - San Francisco, California (black and white)

The Conversation, Market Street – San Francisco, California

I generally have a firm opinion. For a given photograph, I clearly know which I like better, the color or the black and white version. But once and I while I’m on the fence. I end up liking both.

I shot this photograph in San Francisco last week during my week-long test of the Olympus E-P5. It’s actually my favorite street photograph from the trip. I just love the gesture and expression of these two. They must be having an interesting conversation.

I shot it in color as a JPEG at ISO 3200. Black and white conversion done in post processing using Aperture 3.

Chime in with your opinion. Which do you like better the color or the black and white version?


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13 thoughts on “Color or black and white, which do you like? (#1)

  1. Definitely the black and white. The color isn’t bad, but the B&W is more defined.

    In general I prefer B&W for night shots because I find the orange of the incandescent lights to be distracting. Muddies it.

  2. It’s a close call, but I think I like the color better. I see more of the expression in her eyes. In the b&w, the skin of her face above the eyes almost blends into the building. Also, I find the buttons on her sweater have a stronger presence in the b&w, thereby pulling my focus away from the main action, their expressions.

  3. It’s not even close.

    In the color photo I’m looking at the red pavers, I’m looking at the yellow taxi, I’m looking at the golden windows, I’m looking at the gold reflections off the building on the right, then I notice the blue shirt but at that point I’m distracted to the man in the background.

    In the black and white all I notice is the facial expressions and hand gestures of the two people in front and that’s the whole idea of this image.

    The colors are pretty but not what this photo is about.

  4. While the blus shirt and lit-up widows ‘pop’ in the color version, there is something about the black and white that isolatesvthe conversation. Maybe I’m just a black and white junkie. Still shoot 6×6 TLR.

    I enjoy your posts- keep up the good work. Love my Oly and Canon digitals too.

  5. I’d take the color version. It’s rich, warm, draws one in.

    I’d probably try to isolate and lighten up the guy in the blue shirt ever so slightly, and screw it up in the process. But that’s just me.

  6. As others have said, they. Are two different pictures. The color, which I really like, is about a couple having a discussion in an interesting location. But the B&W it’s all about the couple, the environment almost fades away, so for that reason I’d have to pick the B&W

  7. Thank you everybody for the wonderful feedback and opinion. Keep them coming.

    Of course there is no right or wrong answer, just preferences. It’s neat that we have different perspectives.

  8. Being on the fence – that’s me all the time, a whirlwind of indecision. I like the mono version better as well. I am for some reason drawn to the ceiling tiles inside that building, probably because I like old time interiors.

    The strength of the image is really the animation and emotion, so really, ether works here.

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