Most of us see our world in colour, therefore the choice to intentionally remove this and use black and white for your wedding photography may seem more than a little strange! Afterall doesn't this mean that you will ultimately end up losing a lot from the images?
Black and white photography is possibly the oldest and most well-documented formats of photography, Yet despite the arrival of colour film as far back as 1935, it has managed to maintain a lasting appeal. It can be thought-provoking, emotive, event contemporary, but why?
When we look at a black and white image, we are instantly looking at something unfamiliar. The lack of colour in a photograph instantly changes the way in which it is viewed. An image can instantly feel more dramatic, the composition stronger and the subject clearer. As elements, that may otherwise be distracting, loose impact, the narrative of the image becomes stronger and in turn, we are pulled towards looking deeper into each photograph.
Colour, as you see, can often be distracting, which is what I love to use black and white images in my wedding photography stories. The simplicity of black and white allows the narrative of my storytelling to stand out, while the people and their emotion take focus.
By processing an image in black and white you can draw the viewer into the shot and almost be able to show them the reason it was initially taken, that raw, natural, uninhibited moment captured between a couple on one of the most important and probably emotional days of their lives. Emotive black and white documentary wedding photography is centred around human interaction, so being able to show this emotion quickly and clearly, is crucial. Whereas colour can evoked the complete opposite by drawing the viewer’s eye away from the narrative.
One of the most common reasons people want to have their wedding photos taken in black and white these days is because it lends a certain timeless quality to the photographs, a classic elegance almost that time cannot touch.
Black and white photography provides a wonderful range between the blackest of blacks and the whitest of whites. Bold and colourful makeup is no longer distracting and elements such as skin discolouration dissolve into the darkness, the subjects become more natural-looking and the simplest of images become a work of art. It’s not hard to see why many of the top fashion photographers have built their entire career on shooting almost completely in black and white. There are many very good reasons black and white photography has not been made redundant and still exists very prominently today.
Even from the earliest days of photography over 170 years ago, black & white photography has endured the test of time, even into the present day with the coming of colour photography. It has, over the years, proven itself as a stable part of photography. A part that isn’t going anywhere and only seems to be increasing in popularity with both photographers and the general public. The black & white photography legacy that was left by some of the greatest photographers such as Yousuf Karsh and Ansel Adams still inspires and encourages all types of reportage wedding photographers, both amateur and professional to work in black & white. In other words, black & white photography is seen as a beautiful art form that holds a great deal in the hearts and minds of both photographers, publishers and the artistic world and still survives to this day to help educate, inspire and move people from all walks of life in various different ways as these moments are brought to our eyes in a more artistic and emotive way.
So, why would you not want to have one of the most special days of your life captured in this thought-provoking, raw and atmospheric way?