For a prolonged time I’ve suspected that because I moved away from film to digital this might have come at a cost; and after analyzing myself further I realized I was right.
After all, one of the key elements in Digital Photography is that is the colour camera-preview makes it too easy to just ”point and shoot and then simply check the histogram and shoot again if necessary.” This process has developed a lethargic approach to many aspects of photography that did not exist back in the film days.
Back when I shot film I shot in black and white (around 90% or more) and because I shot so much B&W it gradually developed my mind to “see” and “think” in B&W as well… even when I did NOT have a camera with me.
But it is only recently that I understood what an influence my previous mindset had on me.
If you remove any colour information the way you see and understand images change as well. If you also used to shoot black and white, just think how the pre-visualization worked back then. Since you knew that all colour you saw would be lost and not actively becoming a part of your photos you adapted your thinking, you taught yourself to “filter out” that information.
If you see/think in black and white you start to focus on things such as textures, contrasts, tonal ranges, shapes and forms. All of these small things can transform a good photo to great photo instead. I even used think using the “grey zone system” and place shade or highlight in a place I wanted it. The fact that you think about zoned system BEFORE you shoot is a very good tool if you want to be a good photographer. It forces you to reconsider parts in your photos as elements and push you to think how it should work as part of the entirety.
Just fixing anything (including colour tones) in Photoshop is not good enough and most professional photographers will tell you this with great certainty. Just look at HOW they work, they attempt to get the photo right in the camera straight away, this is part of creating a great image instead of an average image.
I suspect it’s time for me to start thinking and seeing black and white again, digital photography seems to have corrupted my thinking process 🙂