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Oomphing BxW Images

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

If you’ve followed my blog or even spoken to me about photography, then you already know what oomphing means.

To Oomph = verb.  Annie Tao’s process of editing images  🙂

I was taking a gander at some photos online recently and saw some BxW images that were plain as can be.  I thought BxW would be a terrific blog subject because there are various ways you can process (or edit) BxW images.

Using a recent photo I took at a client photoshoot, I will explain why I changed it to BxW and what some other versions of BxW are out there yonder!

Original Image (Straight-Out-Of-The-Camera)

My thought process:

* There is a lot going on here with the color of the baby’s pants and the livingroom background.

* I wanted to highlight the parents’ facial expressions, which is why I love this photo.

* Changing this image to BxW would accomplish all of this:  place attention on the parents’ faces and take your eyes off the background and baby pants.


BxW #1:  Plain & Un-Oomphed

Most people have access to photo editing software, so anyone can turn a color image into a BxW image.  You can even do this when you walk into the photo section of a drugstore or Costco!

There’s nothing wrong with this image.  Many photographers will stop right here.

To me, it’s a little flat.  So let’s continue with our BxW journey…


BxW #2

Do you see a difference?  Do you think it’s better or worse or the same?

It’s a little brighter, but I find the highlights slightly unappealing.


BxW #3

This version is grainy.  I actually like this better than the first two because it has more character.  Looks like a photo in a newspaper.


BxW #4

This version has a lot more grays.  This would look great on certain photos with less emotion, but I think the steel gray hues make this family photo feel a little cold.

It doesn’t convey a mood that matches the image.


BxW #5

This version is soft and dreamy.

It looks like a scene in my head after I’ve fallen and lost consciousness!  Ha ha.  Or maybe a scene in a movie about Heaven.  Again, not the mood I’m looking for.


BxW #7:  My Oomph-ed Version!

This is what my final image looked like.  (You may have already seen it in the sneak peek.)

Do you see how it’s different than the other versions?  What version do you prefer for this image?


There are a kajillion ways you can edit a BxW image.  I only shared a few with you just to give some examples.

My point is that there are many ways to edit a BxW image, so pay attention to how you edit your image if you’re a photographer/amateur photographer/enthusiast.  Notice what kind of mood your editing work places on the image and think about whether that is the mood you want to convey.

And if you’re not a photographer, notice what kind of editing work photographers are doing to their BxW images.  And if all they’re doing is converting it to BxW without putting anymore thought into it, then run for the hills.  😉

There should be just as much thought placed into editing BxW photos as there is in editing Color photos!

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