Old School Film Hack

Poll: Color? Or Monochrome?


I often check to see if an image looks better as color or monochrome, as many scenes with good clouds or textures really “pop” better as monochrome images, even though most casual viewers prefer imagery that reflects what they see in reality.

This is a case where I feel the monochrome image is the stronger of the two; they are both the same image, taken with an iPhone 4S — the only difference is that the monochrome version has the blue channel dropped some 45 points, to make the sky darker and the waterman’s boat more visible, as I had intended; it also has gorgeous textures on the waterman’s hovel.  The color image — to me — has too many elements competing for attention, the boat is lost to me and the textures on the hovel don’t really standout.

What is your preference?  And why?

And here’s a poll for you as well.

21 thoughts on “Poll: Color? Or Monochrome?

  1. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    I normally like B & W, but in this image, the dark(er) sky looks too dark for the sun shining on the hovel. it looks like a stormy sky on a beautiful sunny day. Perhaps a contradiction in the B & W version?


  2. Peter Belenky

    In the color version, the intense, blue sky captures the viewer’s focus, diverting it from the varied textures and angles in the foreground–the roof, wallboards, window, pier, and pilings–that should be primary. The dark gray monochrome sky highlights the foreground details.


  3. ehpem

    I prefer the black and white, but I do find distracting the four poles on the dock which really pull the eye away from the main subject in the black and white, and quite a bit less so in the colour. I might be tempted to crop them out in the black and white, at least to see how it works.


  4. Helge Riemer

    Both versions are really great, but I prefer the coloured one. The building is nearly monochrome itself (or at least duochrome) – therefore the contrast between the building and its surrounding than in b&w .


  5. martin

    as previously said, the sky in the B&W doesn’t match the sun shining on the house and beach and makes the picture “unbalanced”. thus, the colored is preferred imho – BUT having sad that i believe that with a different post-processing you could make a b&w version that kills the colored one.


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