In Black and White.

You know what makes this picture work? It's the black jacket. Imagine a lack of black jacket, and instead, just the white windowpane checked shirt. The silhouettes of the westie faces would be far less distinct, as would the side of the face of the shoulder leaner. The presence of the man looking into the sun would be less powerful. It really brings all 4 figures to the foreground, and it works especially well in B&W.

I made the jacket blacker than what it would be with a normal B&W conversion. The point, to create black shapes, and in contrast, to make white shapes out of the sky. None of this in-between gray business, in these areas (jacket and sky) where detail is not necessary. By blocking out these areas, I think viewers spend more time on the faces. And then, the subtle Golden Gate Bridge detail is almost an afterthought.

It seems that often people convert photos to B&W for fun. Or for a retro effect. OK, there's nothing wrong with doing that, but for me, turning a pic into B&W is a whole different interpretation of the photo. Color is a huge distraction and by removing it, the details - the shapes, the lines, the contrast - are suddenly gain importance. It can be used to give subjects so much more impact. So my message is this. The next time you're going through a set of photos, don't just convert to B&W willy-nilly, to attempt to add variety, or appear artsy. Convert to B&W because you want your photo to convey a different message.