Another advantage of digital photography is that you don’t have decide if you want a black-and-white image, you can have it both ways by shooting in color and converting later. Color images can be attention grabbing, while black-and-white can translate into a very emotional image. How can you decide which images would make a strong black-and-white?
Elements that make a black-and-white photo work:_
1. Vast tonal range.** Think of Ansel Adams and his zone system with ten tones ranging from black to white.

2. Dramatic skies and clouds. Storm clouds, especially, add to the feel of the image.

3. A strong graphic quality. Photos that have a lot of lines, textures, shapes and light, for example.

4. Good contrast. Contrast gives definition to the image by separating outlines and shapes. One way this can be accomplished is with side lighting throwing nice defining shadows.

If you don’t like the way your photo turned out in color, converting to black-and-white might save it. Here are two types of images that can be improved by converting into black-and-white:

1. If your photo has a lot of digital noise from a high ISO, the graininess is more pleasing in black-and-white.

2. Shots with a lot of distracting or competing colors look better in black-and-white because it keeps the attention on the subject.
—Melissa Macatee
Contributing Blogger