Black and White Photography – in-camera vs post-processing | Digital Photography Tutorial
Digital cameras often give you a choice of shooting in black and white or in colour. At one time, this choice was dictated by the film you loaded into your camera, meaning that you would have to shoot a whole roll of film before you could switch. With digital, you can quickly switch between black and white photography and colour photography simply by selecting the relevant option as and when appropriate.
However, before you jump in and select that black and white photography mode on your camera gives some consideration to what this will actually acheive.
In-camera vs Post-Processing
If you decide to produce black and white photos direct from your DSLR camera, you are conciously deciding that you are not interested in the colour aspects of the scene your are shooting. Is this correct? Are you sure that you will never want to see that image in full colour?
If you have any doubt that the image you are taking may look better in colour, don’t switch to black and white in-camera. Instead, shoot in colour and convert the image to black and white in post-processing.
While shooting directly in black and white has a benefit of instant feedback – you can see if the image works well as a black and white photograph, it is a fairly destructive process – you are discarding that colour information upfront and will not be able to recover it later.
However, if you shoot in colour and convert to black and white in post-processing, you not only retain a colour print for future use, but also have the ability to convert it to black and white with your own preferences, not the camera’s choices. This means you have more control over the curves and levels and can make minute adjustments as required that may not be possible with a black and white image.