Converting a Color Photo to Black and white

A tree decorated with Christmas lights converted to black and white.

A tree decorated with Christmas lights converted to black and white.

Why convert a color photo into black and white?  The answers vary depending on what artistic and photographic elements you want to stand out in the image.  With the black and white image seen here I wanted the contrast between the lights and shadows to be more prominent than the different colors of the lights and trees.  I also wanted the textures of the tree limbs and branches to stand out more in the black and white photo.

The original color photo (seen below) is brighter and shows less of the contrast between light and shadows.  The colors of the Christmas lights and trees becomes more prominent and pulls your attention away from the textures of the tree branches and limbs.

The Christmas lights on a tree. Image was taken outside at night.

The Christmas lights on a tree. Image was taken outside at night.

This image was created using a Canon Rebel XS, 18-55mm IS lens.  The settings were as follows; 18mm, F3.5, 1/4 shutter, ISO 800, no flash, hand held.  The small white circle in the upper opening between the branches of the tree on the right hand side of this image  is the moon.

How often have you converted a color image to black and white?  What photographic and artistic elements do you look at before you consider converting a color image?   Which version of the photograph here do you prefer and find more appealing?  How often do you notice contrasts of light and shadows and textures when you create a photograph?

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About Douglas Wilks Photography

I am an advanced photographer who lives in western Montana. I create a variety of strong images using a DSLR, computer, and digital software. I am available for hire for full time, part time, or projects. Most of my images are of landscapes, still life, and events. I am always looking to improve my skills, network of friends and professionals, and portfolio. I look forward to creating new friends, contacts, and others who are interested in photography.
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