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Thread started 03 Jan 2012 (Tuesday) 13:14
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Is there a problem with having too many B&W images in a portfolio?

 
Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 13:14 |  #1
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Looking at my recent portrait photos, I feel as though quite a few would benefit from a B&W conversion due to the strong contrasts with snowy scenery, and it seems like my B&W images always get the highest praise, however I'm worried that if I don't include a good mix of colour (at least 40-60) potential clients will be scared off thinking that's all I can do, am I just paranoid?


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jwp721
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Jan 03, 2012 13:51 |  #2

May not be your case but....... B&W is often used as a crutch to fix images that were not exposed properly to begin with. If you find that the majority of your images look better in b&w or that more people comment positively on your b&w images.... then you may want to have someone review your color images.

Personally I think a mix of 10-20% b&w is about right.... but my clients may have completely different tastes than yours. It is all about knowing your potential clients and the style you are trying to create for yourself.

John




  
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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 13:57 |  #3
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Yeah, I know it's sometimes used as a crutch, but sometimes you just see an image and know it has perfect tones for B&W, it's not that I think my colour photos suck, it's just that the ones that I find fitting for the B&W conversion just feel better..maybe it's just me.


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ssim
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Jan 03, 2012 14:21 as a reply to  @ Shadow on the Door's post |  #4

I think that too much of any one thing in a portfolio is not necessarily good. A portfolio should be representative of your capabilities both photographically and in post. It's a personal choice and you will get a feel for the effectiveness of your portfolio by the customers reaction to a certain degree. Some people put too much selective coloring in their portfolios (for example) and IMO this is just as bad as too many monochromatic images. It does give suggestion to the viewer of your style but do you want to go to customer and have them think that this is what you predominantly do.


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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 14:22 |  #5
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I suppose the thing is that the style of my B&W looks so different than my colour, I guess my problem may fall back to the fact that I still haven't found my own "look".


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Jan 03, 2012 14:37 |  #6

Check this link out http://www.helenbartle​tt.co.uk/index.php (external link)
I bet Helen get's a ton of clients even though she is incapable of shooting color. ;)

If you stick to what you love about photography, it will eventually define your style.


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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 14:39 |  #7
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While that would be awesome, I dream of doing professional commercial work..how many record companies, ad agencies, etc would want to hire someone who only shoots B&W? I just need to figure out my colour style..I really like cinematic processing but again, that's pretty niche.


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gonzogolf
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Jan 03, 2012 14:49 |  #8

Your portfolio should show what you can do, what you are capable of. If you rely too heavily on one style, thats what people will expect of you. If its loaded too heavily with one style, you are sending a message thats what they should expect of you. For portraiture, thats not a bad thing necessarily a bad thing because people might hire you for your style. For commercial work, you probably need a balance.




  
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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 14:53 |  #9
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so you're saying it's bad to have a style?


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gonzogolf
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Jan 03, 2012 15:00 |  #10

Shadow on the Door wrote in post #13640591 (external link)
so you're saying it's bad to have a style?

I'm saying a style can help or hinder depending on the work you want to do. If you do portraiture, or architectural work then having a style can help get you work. It gives people some idea that they can look at your work and then imagine that style applied to their job. But its a double edged sword. If they look at your style, and lets say its pronounced, lots of high contrast, or black and white, or other styles and they are looking for something else then they wont go any farther. If you want to do commercial work then it might be better to show more versatility without too strong of a style influence.




  
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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 15:07 |  #11
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ugh, this is so frustrating..in another thread I was told that my portfolio was lacking because it was too diverse and I hadn't developed a style, I can't seem to get a straight answer on these things.


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gonzogolf
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Jan 03, 2012 15:10 |  #12

Shadow on the Door wrote in post #13640661 (external link)
ugh, this is so frustrating..in another thread I was told that my portfolio was lacking because it was too diverse and I hadn't developed a style, I can't seem to get a straight answer on these things.

Sorry, like it all comes down to what sort of work you are trying to get. The style thing cuts both ways.




  
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Jan 03, 2012 15:26 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #13

I don't think style has to be all inclusive of your work either. You could have one style for your color work and a totally different style, or look, for your black and white images. For portraits for example, you might have one gallery of portraits done in color showing that style and another gallery showing b&w portraits with its own unique style. I think that might be more effective than mixing a certain percentage of b&w portraits amongst the color portraits in a single gallery.


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Shadow ­ on ­ the ­ Door
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Jan 03, 2012 15:30 |  #14
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Well the way I have my site set up, my best shots are all displayed on a home page slider, with a menu above to go to the specific sets. I don't have a ton of work to showcase right now so if I divided everything into black and white and colour, I would have some very small galleries. www.jamesrphoto.com (external link)


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tonylong
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Jan 03, 2012 15:36 |  #15

I personally seldom do a B&W conversion so can't give you an answer from my own experience.

There are some "greats" whose work, at least that which you commonly see, is B&W. In fact, Ansel Adams took a fair number of color photos later in his career, but never printed any -- it wasn't until after he died and the trustees of his photo collection went through his transparencies that they discovered thousands of unpublished/unprinted color photos! He just wasn't happy with the process for printing color photos back then...but of course that process has come a long ways, and now there are books, or at least one book, with some very nice Adams color prints!

Anyway, one thing you could do, something that I've considered if I ever "seriously" delved into B&W processing, is to have a "section" of your portfolio/online gallery dedicated to B&W, and then one for color photos. That way your viewers could have a choice, and some folks may really enjoy the B&W style, whereas others may be more interested in what you can do with color and may stay out of the B&W section entirely...


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Is there a problem with having too many B&W images in a portfolio?
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