Photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

I hardly convert my photos into black and white. Not because I’m not a fan of the genre. I am and love how black and white can convey strong emotions. However, I do prefer color because the world is too beautiful and too vivid not to be immortalized in its vibrancy. You should read my friend Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks post called The Vibrancy of Color, The Starkness of Black-and-White. Even my favorite photography resource which I use for my imagebank, Photoshelter, published a fantastic blog post worth reading titled Is Black and White Photography a Gimmick?

So last week when photographer Kim Wildman and buddy Scott Skinner tagged me to participate in the 5-Day Black and White Photo Challenge (#BWPhotoChallenge across social media), I jumped on the opportunity because I also wanted to illustrate a photo tip I use sometimes.

Before I delete a photo, I do a quick mental assessment to see if converting it to black and white could make it stronger. By stripping it off color and increasing constrast, you can make an otherwise boring color photo a lot more interesting. Mostly because black and white photography in all its glory is also a lot more forgiving than color photography and many photographers know this.

So for the challenge, I shared the following five photos focusing on street scenes around Stockholm and I’m sharing them alongside their color counterparts so you see what I mean.

Day 1 of #BWPhotoChallenge  – Medborgarplatsen in Södermalm, Stockholm 

Stockholm black and white photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

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Day 2 of #BWPhotoChallenge  – Winter scene by Central Station a few years back in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm black and white photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

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Day 3 of #BWPhotoChallenge – A waiter sets a table in Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm black and white photography

Day 4 of #BWPhotoChallenge  – Revelers celebrating International Pillow Fight Day at Sergels torg in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm black and white photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

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Day 5 of #BWPhotoChallenge – Buskers in Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm black and white photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

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So instead of just deleting that color photograph, why not convert it to black and white to see if it can be saved?

 

 

  • They really do look fantastic. I’m not usally a fan of “modern” black and white takes, but I have to admit that your photographs are simply much more striking. Thank you!

    • LolaAkinmade

      Thanks so much!

  • Great work Lola!. I’ve always loved B&W – from taking the picture to processing the film and then printing them and watching the pictures magically come to life in the tray as they developed before your eyes. But ever since embracing digital photography I have somehow managed to become stuck in a colour-only world. I loved that this project opened my eyes to the beauty of B&W again. http://www.wildwritingandphotography.com

    • LolaAkinmade

      Thanks for tagging me Kim! I really enjoyed the challenge and dabbling once again in black and white.

  • Monica-USA

    I have always loved black and white photos. They just have an air of mystery to them that you just don’t get when you have a color photo. Plus in the b/w you can make a different kind of statement than you can in color. Glad you are having fun experimenting with b/w photography. :O)

    • LolaAkinmade

      Indeed they do Monica! That air of mystery because they draw the eyes solely to the subject without the distraction of color.