Votes, please!

I have a hard time deciding between presenting a photo to a client in color or black and white.  Some photos are obviously better in one or the other, but others are not so obvious to me.  I usually end up giving the client a copy of each, but I would still like to make the initial presentation of a shot at its best.  And I would love to be able to make a choice for my portfolio.  So, here is the debate:  Many photographers, lifestyle photographers in particular, opt for black and white photos when they are trying to convey a lot of expression.  Black and white removes the distraction, and the “busyness” of the photo.  It also maintains a timeless quality.  However, sometimes color is just pretty.  What are your thoughts?  Do you have a favorite format?  What would make you happiest as a client?  Is it redundant to receive a handful of photos on your CD in both color and bw?  Or do you like the options?  And, which do you like for this photo in particular?  Thanks for your feedback!

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  • NaDellJuly 18, 2012 - 12:37 am

    While I know that many people really prefer black and white, I myself would never pick it as my first choice. I always make sure I tell photographers that too since I know it takes time to edit and save the files a different way.
    I really just like pictures in color. I want to remember the exact color of their hair or the shirt they are wearing that is their favorite. (And personally, with red hair, I like that it shows!)
    I like the color one of Anita’s family, but it’s such a great picture, the black and white one is fantastic too!
    I think it all just depends on the client. Something to discuss while you take their pictures or set up the session. =)ReplyCancel

  • JanJuly 18, 2012 - 9:06 am

    First initial reaction…Color. After I looked at it and read your “why one or the other”…still liked the color on better. And I usually love black and white but one this one the color one just seems “Happier” and lighter.ReplyCancel

  • EileenJuly 18, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    I agree that some photos definitely speak for themselves and will tell you that it should be B&W, Cepia or Color and that others don’t. I think when you come to a photo that is just beautiful in all different formats that you should talk with your client or just include the edits in the options. I know I’d appreciate it!ReplyCancel

  • ChristyJuly 18, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    I also like this one best in color. But I often like shots better in bw, like the one of the girls kissing you did. I think Eileen is right – some photos just seem better one way or another. But I like it when you give me choices. I know I had a previous experience where the photographer gave me a shot in bw and I liked it but asked for it in color, which she hadn’t shown me. Have you thought about for a shot like this with so much expression but great color to do it just slightly desaturated?ReplyCancel

  • ChristyJuly 18, 2012 - 4:18 pm

    Maybe part of my preference on this one is the background. Looks more differentiated in color than in does in black and white.ReplyCancel

  • AnitaJuly 18, 2012 - 6:41 pm

    Dang, those are some good lookin’ boys. 🙂

    I think I like the color, but I do like when you give options. I think I lean more toward black and white or sepia when I want to hang it on my wall, and often when I want to send a Christmas card with it, but when I want to put it in a scrapbook, I usually want color, like NaDell said, to remember the exact color of their hair, or how sunny the day was, or what-not. I know it’s more work to give options, though–that’s the catch. 🙂 Sending the photos first, when possible, to pick the ones the client likes best I think is a good idea and hopefully less time “wasted” for you. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • adminJuly 18, 2012 - 9:11 pm

    Thanks, friends, for all of your comments! Your thoughts are very helpful.ReplyCancel

  • ElaineJuly 24, 2012 - 8:48 pm

    This really tells my age, but black & white was all we had at one time and Oh, my!! What a change color made! So, partly because of that, I almost always prefer color. With my redheads, they look like brunettes in bw/cepia, so that extra “life” is only in color. There are some photos I like in bw, but I would do like Anita said and print it in color & then just ask which ones they’d like to see in bw.ReplyCancel