A few times I’ve wondered if you can upload black & white photos to iNaturalist. Well, of course you can upload them, and sometimes if it’s an old archive photo there’s no other color to consider… But is it acceptable for iNaturalist to upload a B&W photo today?
I couldn’t find any guidelines about photos, or even about editing, of course I understand that an invasive editing wouldn’t be acceptable (altering components of the photo), but I wanted to ask for opinions about the B&W aspect :)
I upload black and white photos that are from my trail cam taken at night. Also I do heavily edit photos but only when the colors came out wrong. I try to make them more true to life.
Sure it is allowed, but editing so specifically for iNat isn’t the best thing if you need an id which needs colours, other types of editing can be done any way that will leave object of observation looking normal.
I would say don’t use black and white images unless there’s no alternative, because color is such an important aspect of a lot of ID-ing.
I converted a photo I have of a Common Raven to black-and-white which made the image better than the original color. Worked well in that case since color is not important with that species. I can envision B&W working well for contrast purposes with other taxa.
Of course you can post black-and-white photos! We should always try to post identifiable photos, of course, and many times b-&-w photos are fine for identification.
You could include the original in colour as an extra photo for ID purposes.
Sometimes I’ll take “artsy” or just weird photos (eg shallow depth of field, weird angle) and use it as the observation’s default image, but also include more standard, identifiable images. I’d suggest the same thing for black and white photos, like @dianastuder said.
As has been pointed out, it depends! For example some moths, like Mythimna unipuncta would be identifiable in black and white, where many of the Plusiidae would be harder to identify. Similarly with birds. A B&W Black Capped Chickadee could probably be identified fine, where some of the warblers need colour. I’ve seen, and identified, moth images that were basically purple, so the ID will depend on the species and the experience of the identifier.
Basically, B&W is better than nothing!
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