Black & White vs Color Photography

Last Updated: July 15, 2019

The Costco Photo Center is here with helpful hints and guidance when deciding between black and white or color photo printing.

To achieve the overall tone and visual impact you’re looking for when printing your photography, take a look at these best practices to consider before you print. As you find your inspiration, we’ll also tell you how to convert your color photos to black and white or sepia online with Costco Photo Center.

Converting Photo Prints to Black and White

Costco’s easy-to-use photo printing tools allow you to order your color photos as black and white prints. Follow these simple steps:

  • Log in to your Costco Photo Center account. Don’t have an account? Sign-up is free and easy for Costco members.
  • Once you’ve signed in, select My Photos. Then click on the album that contains the photo(s) you want to print.
  • Click on the photo, then click Edit Photo.
  • Under Edit Tools, click Tint, then select Black and White.
  • Click Save Copy, and you’re good to go! Choose your print size and add it to your cart.

Changed your mind? Simply click on Revert To Original to switch back to the original version of the photo.

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Why Print Photos in Black and White?

Well, there are many reasons why your photo may be better suited to a classic, colorless palate. A good rule of thumb is to use black and white when the light, form or texture within the photo is more compelling than the colored hues present. Portraits are a great subject to print in black and white, drawing attention to who the subject is rather than the color of their clothing.

Black and white works best when there is high contrast in your photo, including deep blacks, crisp whites and a wide range of grey tones that cover the entire spectrum. It’s also an effective filter if the colors in your photo are distracting from the elements that you really want to convey.

In summary, convert to black and white when the light or composition of the photo is more impactful than the hues.

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The Impact of Deep Colors

Although we’ve outlined many advantages to printing photos in black and white, colorful photos are not to be dismissed. Colorful, striking hues have the power to instantaneously demand the eye’s attention.

Looking to print your recent family vacation photo in the tropics with the breathtaking sunset in the background? Or the carefree shot of your kids playing in the wildflowers? These photos need to be seen in their full-spectrum glory with multi-tonal hues that complement each other nicely.

Remember, mood can often be communicated better with color than with black and white. Blues are usually associated with feeling calm and relaxed while contrasting red can ignite excitement and romance.

Demand Attention with Selective Color

Some photos are absolutely stunning when you mix black and white with a sharp contrasting accent color. A picturesque image of nature or a cityscape can really benefit from making certain elements within the photo pop and demand attention. Imagine, for example, showing only the glowing orange in a nighttime city shot, or only the red of the mural on a brick wall. Many digital cameras have a selective color function which easily allows you to take black and white photos while having a selected accent color. Don’t be afraid to play around with your photo to print in the best medium available.

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Shake it Up with Somber Sepia

Nobody puts sepia in the corner! The classic, monochromatic sepia tone is a great color option for your photo. A happy medium between colorful and colorless, the brownish tones of sepia make the photo feel warm, vintage, and even a bit dark and romantic when compared to full color or black and white prints.

If a nostalgic feel is what you’re after, sepia can definitely help you portray that. Want to give it a try? Costco’s photo printing tool allows you to apply a sepia tint of your photo in one easy click. Follow the same instructions as converting to black and white (see above), and click Sepia.

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There are a lot of options out there. It’s up to you to decide which printing style best illustrates the message you want the photo to portray. Click and play around with these options to see what works best. With your print medium and your intended display space in mind, experiment and enjoy the range of colors and filters available to you!