My life in the pre-digital era was pretty simple. I mostly shot black and white film, so the images were black and white. Sometimes I toned them. Occasionally, I shot color reversal film (aka “slide film”), in which case the images were color. Sometimes I had them developed as negative film (aka “cross processing”) to get funky, super-saturated colors.
Photographers now have an interesting conundrum: color or black and white?
I often find that my favourite images to process as black and white are those that have a relatively sparse color palette to begin with, and simple graphical elements. The red channel can be made darker, which is often flattering for beauty shots where the model is wearing a red lip. For the images in this set, I strongly preferred the black and white treatment; the images looked cleaner and more crisp.
Here is another interesting effect that’s possible with black and white processing.
In this image, I darkened the model’s skintone several zones darker than her natural coloration (she is a very fair-skinned model). This technique can work well with statuesque, sculptural figure photography, where a darker skintone can help to accentuate the contours and curves of the body.