Anyone who’s met up with me, either at a wedding fair or a consultation, knows just how much I love black and white wedding photography.
Most of the work that I deliver to clients is in colour, but some images are delivered in black and white. Why?
There are some who think that black and white’s old-fashioned. After all, wasn’t it the first type of photography that later got superseded by colour? Don’t we see the world in colour? So why have black and white?
It’s true, black and white was “it” when photography was born. For many years it remained the standard until Kodak developed a reliable method of producing colour film. Today, with digital, we have colour everywhere. People use apps on their phones and computers to generate HDR images with heavily saturated colours.
So I ask, why have black and white wedding photography?
For me, the answer is simplicity. Let me explain.
Imagine the scene. A Summer wedding. Clear blue skies. Plants and flowers in full bloom. Lush green lawns. The ladies dressed in striking outfits. Colour everywhere. Perfect for photos? Yes and No.
Colour’s terrific when shooting the venue and general scenes. It’s brilliant for showing how great everything looks. But there’s a problem, and that’s when colours clash with each other. In some cases I’ll find that the colours are really distracting in a photograph. They draw the eye away from the intended subject. Your eye gets pulled around the image and might miss the focal point. This is where black and white scores.
By stripping an image back to black and white you can draw the viewer into the shot and the reason for it. I find that emotional images, those with human interaction, are often better in black and white. There’s no colour to distract. It’s the reason that documentary photojournalism is often in black and white – it’s more powerful.
Of course, emotional images also work well in colour, I’m not denying that. This is why I deliver a mix of images to my clients, and they like it that way! But I still love black and white!
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Documentary wedding photography
If you’re thinking of having black and white wedding photography (or a mix) then please get in touch to discuss your wedding photography requirements. I’m delighted to be a recommended photographer for a number of leading Dorset wedding venues and would love to hear about the plans for your special day. Get in touch with me now for a no-obligation chat.
Ian is one of Dorset’s leading wedding photographers. Based in Bournemouth and with over 20 years of experience photographing weddings across Dorset and Hampshire, Ian’s the perfect choice for couples who want unobtrusive, discreet wedding photography that captures the emotions of their special day. Read more about his own personal style of documentary wedding photography on this website.
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Blog post: Black and white wedding photography