When To Make A Landscape Photograph Black And White

Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape photography in color most of the time. While there are some amazing monochromatic landscape images around, my personal feeling is that I see in color, the world has color, and so its beauty is typically best expressed in color. But, there are times when monochrome can work really well, as in the image below. So the question for the landscape photographer is, how can I know when an image might work best in black and white? Today I wanted to share a tip I heard that has helped me with that question.

I don’t remember which photographer this idea came from, but the tip I heard was that you should only include color when color adds to the story of the image. While I’m not sure I’d personally go that far, I do find the concept helpful. For my own purposes, I tweak the idea a bit: if the colors in the image seem kind of pointless or out of place, try processing the image in monochrome.

In this image that idea worked perfectly. The main reason it worked in this case has to do with the flow of the waterfall. The day I visited, the waterfall wasn’t all that strong, which revealed a lot of boring rock. There were some patches of vibrant color, but the rock was so dull that the colors around it did indeed seem out of place. By processing the image in monochrome, I was able to circumvent that issue and still come out with a pleasing photograph.

So just remember – if colors aren’t at home, try monochrome! Hope this helps you out like it has me. Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!

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