culling and processing B&W first

I made a tiny tweak to my processing workflow about a month ago, I thought I would share and discuss, maybe someone finds it useful.

It is really basic: I added an instance of color calibration in the pipeline for my default style that makes everything black & white, using a mix a tad heavier on green (0.3-0.4-0.3), but any of the presets will do, it does not matter.

I keep this enabled for culling, basic exposure corrections, tone equalizing, and basic texture management with diffuse & sharpen and the contrast equalizer (if applicable). The idea is that a photo should look good already in BW for me to keep it, so that colors do not distract me from the first pass of processing.

Then, after having selected the photos I want to keep (maybe 10%), while still staring at a B&W photo, I think about which parts of the image I would like to emphasize or de-emphasize. At that point I disable the B&W instance of color calibration in my pipeline and carry on adjusting and tweaking colors. Of course I go back to earlier modules, it is not a linear process.

The advantage for me is eliminating distraction. Color is amazing, and tweaking colors allows so many possibilities. My brain jumps at them first if I allow it, without thinking about light and composition. So this is an artificial barrier to keep me focused until I am at the right stage to deal with colors.


Good idea. I’ll try this. I feel lots of my pics don’t stand up without colour and only relying on graphical composition

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interesting workflow, definitely a good idea, although I would probably only apply it for some subset.

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can be simulated on win11 using shortcut and/or Parameters/Accessibility settings/ Colors filters/Greyscale

Is color not important to your work? I find color to be crucial to my work and I’d worry about potentially missing out on an excellent shot where color makes the composition sing.

In my work, either the shot works well in b/w or it doesn’t, most of my color shots require the color in order to be a successful photograph.

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Yes, color is important, but reviewing my images I find that I rely on it too much, at the expense of other factors that are important. I want to focus more on tonal qualities, both during capturing and post-processing.

This is an experiment and a learning experience for me. I hope that in the long run it will teach me to make better images, with color.