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Why do Black and White Photos have More Impact than Color Photos?


In the post-processing of photos, the photographer will usually adjust the color, texture and other factors of the photos. Among them, the "black and white" effect of the photo, mainly aimed at the color of the picture.

Since color is one of the more intuitive visual elements in photos, in some photo processing, the use of black and white effect to highlight the theme of the photo will have more visual impact. But why do black and white photos have more impact than color photos? There are basically 3 reasons.

Affective Interaction

In the aspects of colors, different colors bring variety feelings, purple associates mystery, blue with emptiness, red with passion and danger, green with life, for example.

black and white photos, affective interaction

Why does blue give a person no appetite? Because there are no naturally occurring blue foods. Why does red and orange feel dangerous? Because in nature, many of the toxic creatures is in such colors. 

Therefore humans have evolved a unique sense of caution against overly bright colors. High-saturation colors, what we call bright colors, can affect the mood of the viewer.

black and white photos, affective interaction

In addition, the hue of a photo affects viewer’s mood as well. Hue is the primary characteristic of color and the most accurate standard to distinguish various colors, any color other than black, white and gray has the properties of hue. When the hue of a photo changes, it changes the way it feels. By reducing the saturation of a color, or vague a hue, you are actually reducing and diminishing the emotional impact of the color.

From the perspective of color, black and white photos actually reduce the emotional impact of color itself and let people focus on other aspects besides color.

Further Reading: Learn to adjust your photo organizing process >

Highlight the Theme

Photography is an art of subtraction. In essence, the photo does not need to record all the information the photographer has seen, but to capture what the photographer wants to see. Therefore, for a photograph, it is not the more complete the composition, or the more vivid the color, the more real it will be.

minimalist architecture photography by Axel Breutigam

Color produces a strong psychological hint, when the picture does not need to use color to describe the emotion, you can appropriately delete the color. This is the process of subtraction. It weakens the emotion of the photo and makes people not confused by the color, so that they can observe the information and content of the image more clearly and purely. Get rid of the excess to get closer to the core.

Jose Luis Barcia's minimalist street photography

To make a photo black and white, we can use Fotosifter as a black and white photo editor.

Enter the editing mode, like we stated before, reduce the saturation of a photo, it is easy to turn photo black and white.

adjust the saturation to make photo in black and white

Or use a black and white photo filter.

use a black and white photo filter to make photo in black and white
Fotosifter

Easy and smart photo organizing and editing software for everyone!

For Windows 10/8.1/8/7 64-bit

Conclusion

  1. Some colors look good because they convey very little emotion.
  2. By reducing the saturation of a color, or vague a hue, you are actually reducing and diminishing the emotional impact of the color.

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