Why Are So Many Photos in Black and White?

Things weren’t always like this. When I first started out in photography, the majority of my images were in colour. But upon encountering the world of photo editing and Lightroom, I saw that there were so many ways of tweaking the photos I made. This also led to frustratingly long editing times, which my being a beginner did nothing to ameliorate.

My transition to black and white photography came from a number of directions. While reading websites about how to improve my photos, I came across posts that encouraged using the filter function of the preview and setting it to black and white. Since I used a mirrorless camera that was a simple affair. The rationale for that was to strip away the distractive power of colour and enhance concentration on other composition elements in the frame.

A second impetus was my – flawed – assumption that if I were to strip away the colours in my photo, my editing time would decrease as I wouldn’t have to worry about colour management. Silly me.

The third and decisive factor was that, over time, I simply began liking the look that black and white photos have. I learnt to appreciate the range of tones in an image and started composing my shots using aspects of scenes that would be nicely enhanced by a black and white treatment. Furthermore, such photos make it occasionally difficult to tell when they were made. I rather like this timeless quality of monochrome photos, since they aren’t dependent on whichever colour palettes are in vogue at any given point in time.

Of course, colour photos have their place and I shan’t stop making them, but as of now I see myself being more of a black and white photographer.