March 10, 2011 /
The Beauty of Black & White
I’ve always had a love of black and white photography. Depending on the subject matter, I often find a black and white photo more powerful and striking than a colour one. By removing the colour from an image, you are reducing it down to its raw constituents – just the tonal differences between coloured objects, which appear as black, white, or different shades of gray. It can be a very rewarding and surprising area of photography. Sometimes an image that you are happy to discard because it doesn’t look good in colour can often come to life once it’s been converted into B&W. I do this with my own photos and have often come out with some pleasing results once I’ve exited the “digital darkroom”!
Of course black and white photography lends itself to wedding photography as well. There are obvious tonal contrasts between the whites of the bride’s dress and the blacks of the groom’s suit for example. I like to highlight these contrasts by processing a large number of shots taken during the ceremony into B&W.
In the wedding example below I think that the B&W image has a lot more impact than the colour equivalent and adds more gravitas to the actual act of marriage. This is, after all, the most important and serious part of the wedding day; the part where the bride and groom exchange vows in front of witnesses and make a life long commitment to each other.
Once the ceremony is over I tend to keep the majority of images in colour; the serious part of the day is over and it’s time for everyone to relax and enjoy the party! Reverting back to colour images at this point reflect the atmosphere during this part of the wedding day.
Of course using a large number B&W images during a wedding might not always be appropriate. If shooting an Asian wedding for example, colour has a larger impact and it would be a shame to lose that by using B&W.
At the end of the day its all down to a photographers style as to how many black and white images they decide to use. Some might keep nearly all their images in colour while others might keep the majority in black and white. In the days of digital photography and image processing we are spoilt for choice in the options we have to create a final image.
Here are three examples of my own work where I much prefer the black and white version. What do you think? There’s no right or wrong answer 🙂