Photographing in Color

Very colorful mosaics in the interior of the spectacular Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia

Over the last few years I've developed a real fondness for working in black and white. I've always loved looking at great black and white photography but was so drawn to color that it was, by far, the medium in which I enjoyed working the most.

I photograph what my eye is drawn to and, for quite a few years, my eye was drawn primarily to color. I suspect that's the same for most folks and, of all the design elements, color really moved me.

That's less the case these days (by which I mean my bias for color) and, at the time of making a photo, I'm usually able to determine whether or not it's a candidate for rendering in black and white. If so I work harder to compose the image so as to enhance the other design elements (e.g., texture, shape, line, repetition, etc) within the frame.

St. Petersburg is a very beautiful city and visiting the church featured in the above photo was an exhilarating experience. My first response: wow! The murals, which form the basis of the church's interior decoration are a visual delight. The mural's vibrant colors are illuminated, at least during daylight hours, by a mixture of natural (i.e., daylight) and artificial (in this case tungsten/incandescent) light.

In this particular location, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, your first impression is likely to be governed by color. And, as color is so essential to your experience, that's probably a good enough reason for staying in that medium.

My recommendation is to follow your heart, by which I mean your initial emotional response. Of course that initial emotional response is stimulated by your senses, one of which is sight. If you're drawn to color then photograph color subjects and scenes and be sure to make color, whether it be muted or saturated, the main element of your composition.   

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru