When should I do black and white photography and when in color photography?

These days we have plenty of amazing tools to make photos. In the good old days, we used to have just two… color film, and black and white film. So let’s go back to basics and learn a bit about when to use which one.

In this modern day and age, you don’t have to pick between the two all the time. if you shoot one photo in black and white, you can instantly change back to color. And vice versa. With analog photography, you had to finish your film before you could change. Mentally restricting you to this, can help you to get better results and get more creative.

Advantages of color photography

Color photos pop out more easily. You can also use color to tell your story. A blue photo shows the cold atmosphere, while a more yellow photo shows warmth, green grass tells the story of life and spring, and so on.

You can use colors to direct the attention of the viewer to a specific subject. It is used to make contrasts, and to make you feel certain emotions.

Advantages of black and white photography

So after all these advantages of color, why would you even consider black and white? Well, BW-photography has a more timeless feel. You can photograph a subject now, and it can still feel relevant in a couple of years… or even decennia.

In situations where colors distract you from the subject, it’s a good idea to use black and white. You don’t always control the environment around you. That’s one of the reasons why street photography is often in black and white.

How to photograph in black and white on a Huawei smartphone

When you open the camera app on your Huawei-device you can swipe from left to right. A menu with different modes opens up. There you choose the second option called Monochrome. That’s it. You can now start photographing in black and white.

For your ease, the screen is already converted so you see what you photograph. I am not completely sure how it works on other smartphones, but I can imagine it’s the same as explained above.

So should you shoot in black and white or color?

Shooting in black and white if you know you’re going to make it in black and white seems obvious. However, it can have some advantages for the end result to shoot it in color first. That’s why I always shoot in color, you never know the photo might end up better with some beautiful tones.

But how do the colors in a photo affect the black and white end result? Well, if you go in depth and start to use filters in your editing, you notice that if you use yellow and blue filters, the brightness of the blue objects (often the sky) changes. So colors help you to change certain parts of your photo, even if you don’t actually end up seeing the colors.

How to convert a color photo to a black and white photo

There are plenty of apps to help you with this. I will go through the most used ones here.


Upload your photo like you usually do and choose next in the upper right corner. The screen with all the filters pops up. You can choose a filter first. Some are already in black and white. Below you see the edit button too. You get several edit buttons, the sixth one is ‘Saturation’. Choose this option and turn the slider completely down and tap on ‘Done’. Tadaam, you can now go into finetuning the contrasts and brightness.

More information about all the sliders on the Instagram? Check out this blog post: How to edit your photos on Instagram?


Add your photo to the library, select the photo and choose the slider-button at the bottom of your screen. The saturation editor in this app doesn’t really desaturate the photo. So you can’t use it for a good black and white photography. However, VSCO offers plenty of filters that convert your photo to black and white. Pick the right one and enjoy your timeless masterpiece.

More information about all the sliders on the Instagram? Check out this blog post: How to edit your photos on Instagram?


Open your photo in the app and choose ‘tools’ in the bar below. In this app, you have two options.

The simple one:
Select the first option ‘tune image’. Press the photo until you get the tool-menu and pick ‘saturation’. Swipe to the left and your photo is desaturated to black and white.

The advanced one:
Select the last option on the fifth row called ‘Black and white’. The tool converts your photo automatically to BW. So, why is it advanced then? Well, you can decide to different modes of black and white. Different colors in your photo will change the outcome in black and white.

Are you into black and white photography? Or do you prefer color? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.