It’s just a feeling. That’s really all I can say.
The decision of whether to make an image color or black and white isn’t something that can be quantified. In other words, there’s not some photographer’s checklist that you can down, and if an image has this, this, this and this in its characteristics, then you make it black and white.
You just know. Like you know when it’s going to rain before you look outside. Like you know what you want to eat for lunch. Like you know whether it’s Coke or Pepsi.
Here’s the only way I can explain it. The image below is from a shoot that we did with our friends the Cunninghams almost two years ago (has it been that long?). As soon as I took it, I was pretty confident that I had a winner. But you never know until you can get it back home and see it up close. And once I did, something changed. I thought it looked nice. The color is good, but not great, although I could have played with it some and improved it. But it wasn’t really turning me on all that much.
But then it was like my hand just automatically did the clicks to take out the color. And it went from “Meh,” to “Wow!”
Something about taking the color out made it come to life. The love between daddy and daughter just seems to pour out, and it becomes something special.
Just a feeling.