All around us we are surrounded by colour. From the greens and browns of the countryside to the yellows and blues of the coast, colour defines our world and always will. Colour defines photography too and when it comes to photographing models in nature the use of colour plays an important role and how it is can make or break a photograph. Colour is something that makes a photo what it is but equally taking away the colour and resorting to humble, yet somewhat sophisticated black and white creates and entirely different picture.
A photograph of someone sitting in nature can be brilliantly colourful, the skies can be blue, the background green and the surface underfoot can a sandy yellow or even a field full of poppies but taking all this colour and making black and white can actually do something that no amount of colour ever could.
The balance between model and nature is redefined in a black and white photograph, the colours are important in the makeup of the frame but only for the very reason that they give a darker or lighter shade of grey of reflect light in a different way. Black and White has a complexity tied in with the simplicity and automatically gives a sense of maturity or professionalism to the scene captured. Skin tones can become softer and more radiant and expressions in the eyes and face can draw the eyes of the person viewing the image. The sophistication of black and white requires an understanding of colour and with that a portrait of a model in nature becomes a spellbinding masterpiece almost effortlessly.
But technology today has given the photographer some tools that were never really available before and black and white photography has taken on a whole new style by working with colour.
Highlighting spots of colour in an image has become possible with greater ease, it is still time consuming for any photographer but the results obtained can be mesmerising to say the least. A black and white image of a girl for example can highlight and extenuate the eyes making them glisten and stand out. A flower in the hand can have its petals tinted almost to the point that it looks artificial but at the same time, because of black and white setting extremely real. Adding spots of colour to a black and white image can bring nature out, a leaf, a petal or even a rain drop but perhaps a flower on a blouse or skirt or an entire handbag releases an artistic touch that gives life beyond what could be seen in a full colour or just black and white often with a vintage feel when done well.
Black and White or Colour, it is a challenge and an image can look superb with either and today look amazing by simply using a bit of colour inside the black and white. Take two identical photographs and make one colour and the other black and white, with no fancy effects and one will see two identical pictures each feeling remarkably different.