The Virtues of Black and White for Weddings


Although color photography was born after black and white photography and went on to become the more popular of the two, many are now harkening back to the days of black and white. Why? Black and white photography is dramatic. It is stark. And, in certain cases, it can be more powerful than color portraits. It allows photographers to capture contrasts, shadows, and even light and dark with a depth color cannot. Lastly, and black and white photography can be the perfect medium for certain types of images from newborn to wedding photography - anything reflecting deep emotion.


Why Shoot in Black and White for Weddings:

When you shoot in black and white, you are shooting your subjects at their “purest” or their most “raw” selves. There is no color to divert the eye or to enhance or distort the subject or the overall image. Black and white takes it down to its barest. Thus, black and white usually leaves the picture at its most dramatic. For a wedding, the results can be stunning. 

..., автор — Krzysztof Serafiński на

For the Photographer:

Shooting in black and white means there is no complicated photo editing afterward. If you were to check the histogram before shooting, you are no longer looking for color balance. You only need to check for light and contrast. You use brightness and shadows in an entirely different manner.

Black & White wedding! :), автор — Fülöp Péter на

Using Black and White for Wedding Portraits:

There certainly are some shots in a wedding you might want to shoot in color like when shots of flowers where you'd love to capture the colors. However, taking some pictures in black and white allows the photographer to represent the root emotions of a wedding. 

It provides a different perspective on a shot - one that allows the viewer to hone straight in on the subjects. That perspective is why many photographers like to use black and white for particular types of photography where emotion can play a central role such as with newborn pictures or weddings portraits.

Black and white is also favored by photographers because it can take an ordinary or rather unattractive portrait and make it more visually appealing or attractive. 

Black & White / Wedding /, автор — Basti Sachs на

Some photographers consider it a type of fall-back allowing them to convert or transform ordinary or boring pictures through black and white imagery. 

Black and white photography can be far more forgiving than employing color photography. Many photographers and viewers believe that black and white portraits are more elegant or more sophisticated than color pictures. 

Just as black and white can be used to make a portrait more appealing, it can be used to elevate the look of a wedding event or venue. Where it might be considered a “simple” event or venue with not much visual interest or decorations to enhance the event, black and white photography make the event seem more visually appealing, more engaging, and exciting than had the photographer opted for all color.

Before You Use Black and White:

Any professional photographer will tell you to consult your clients about what they want from their wedding photography. Try to understand the look they are going for and the overall vision they have for their portraits. 

Often, the best thing is to take all the pictures first and convert them to black and white during the photo editing process. Taking them first in color and changing them later allows you to present both color and black and white portraits to your clients.

In the film days, it was far more complicated to shoot in black and white because a photographer had limited options. If they wanted black and white, they needed to shoot using black and white film then change it out for color. It took time and often proved cumbersome to pull out the film - especially if it was halfway through a roll. It also risked exposing film and ruining shots!! 

flower girl, автор — Mindy Watson на

Today, digital photography has removed all these issues. You can shoot in full color and then during the editing process, easily convert a picture into a black and white image. You can show clients the same shot both in color and in black and white and let them decide. For wedding portraits, the difference can be stark. Each with its beauty and merits as well as depth either through color or black and white. 

Where black and white photography was once considered outdated like an old black and white movie, it has had a resurgence in the last several decades. People have come to appreciate the merits of black and white photography better. When it comes to weddings, especially, black and white photography aptly captures the subjects at their truest and most natural selves.

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