The Advantages of Black and White Photography
Classic, clean, and crisp
By Natalie Tsang
September 26, 2011
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you will have several photographers at your wedding. There will be the guy that you hired and an army of guests with their point-and-shoots, fancy SLRs, and smart phones. How do you distinguish your wedding album from the rest?
One way is to go the black and white route. But what about your beautiful centerpieces and the gem-like hues of your bridesmaids' dresses? Part of a wedding album is about capturing your special day as it is, but another is crafting a long lasting, romantic story. Not only has black and white been around forever and proved to be a really versatile medium, black and white film is also more durable than color film. It will not fade or darken over time.
Black and white photography is classic. It has a timeless quality that is both elegant and nostalgic. Although you probably agonized for days about a wedding palette, in later years, it might look dated. The human eye is drawn to color and the human face. By shooting in black and white, portraits become more intimate since there are no other distractions.
Clean and Crisp
Black and white wedding photos have a very simple and clean quality. Since it eliminates color "noise," shapes, tones, textures, shadows, and highlights that the eye once glossed over, suddenly become more visible.
Black and white wedding photography works well in all lighting scenarios. A picture shot on an overcast day is less obvious in black and white than in color. An overly bright sky is less loud in black and white photos.
In the case of close-ups, black and white wedding photography can smooth out skin tones. Your photographer can take pictures of you applying makeup without capturing blotchiness or redness.
Black and white photography has existed for so long --the entirety of photographic history -- each photograph seems like a work of art. If your wedding dress has a pattern such as embroidery or beading, black and white photography can really showcase it and even give the photograph an abstract quality.
It also shows the world in a way that is not visible to the naked eye. Since shapes, lines, and shadows are more visible in black and white, textures takes on more significance. Everyday objects are seen in a new way. Spectacular items like taffeta wedding dresses will shine.
If you still have doubt, most photographers first shoot in color and then convert the film into grayscale, because it achieves a more nuanced and crisper appearance. You can choose to have just a portion of your photographs in black and color.