“To see in color is a delight for the eye, but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul. ” -Andri Cauldwell
I absolutely adore black and white photography. Seeing a well done black and white image offers the image in it’s purest simplest form. It’s the art stripped down to it’s core of light, textures, contrast, tonality, mood and raw emotion. How could any true lover of the art of photography not love that??
In terms of professional editing, a black and white image is not simply “filtered” to be a black and white. I can spend hours hand editing with the ton of variations on the scales of blacks, whites, and grays. Like the color photography I create, I will sometimes intentionally create a black and white photo. Sometimes before the shutter is even clicked I will see a picture in my mind as a black and white. I feel strongly that not every image could or should be “made” into a great black and white photo.
When I see and prefer an image in black and white, typically I am looking at a photo that has specific elements. Knowing that high contrast photos with a wide range of blacks, grays and whites is going to be well suited for the simplicity of black and white is key. Seeing very dark and light areas in a photo are sure to offer the high contrast necessary for it to work well. I can find this contrast in skin tones, clothing, and even the environment in which I create portraits. In photojournalism, storytelling can even be strengthened as it can contribute to the weight and message the photo conveys. If you wanted to read more about the styles of photography and my photojournalism experiences you can read about that here: https://www.danielles-photography.com/2016/10/26/posed-lifestyle-photojournalism-and-your-session-danielle-jackson-family-photographer/
I’m not out to do any convincing but I can easily offer seven reasons why I absolutely adore black and white photography.
- The drama. Ok, so maybe drama in everyday life isn’t the greatest, but seriously a dark stormy sky or bright white on a wedding dress and smiling bride can bring immense visual delight.
- The calming capability. (Ha- the opposite of why I might enjoy it for the drama.) Color has energy and feeling all by itself. Strip a photo of such extras and it can bring a calm stillness to a scene.
- Simplicity. Sometimes a perfect baby is just that in it’s simplest purest form in black and white.
- Highlight details. Care to get lost in dark dreamy eyes, the waves of hair, or the movement of a shirt? These can all be highlighted details that can be showcased in black and white.
- Strong emotions. Emotion in photography is second to light! Bring out the emotion in a subject that is worthy of black and white status and you’ve created a genuine work of art.
- It can create additional white space. Creating space in a frame for the eyes to rest can be very pleasing.
- Timelessness. In the beginning, all photography was black and white. Going back to basics will never ever go out of style.
I’m not adding it to my list, but you know what else is awesome about a black and white? They are the easiest to frame! I’ve written about framing options too and you can read all about that here: https://www.danielles-photography.com/2016/11/30/framing-your-photos-and-art-101-danielle-jackson-hampton-roads-family-photographer/
I always enjoy discussing black and white photography as I find most people typically have a strong preference one way or the other. How about you? Do you love it or do you always prefer to see the world in color? Don’t be shy- tell me in the comments below. It’s something I always like to know about my clients as I hand edit and wouldn’t want to offer an image in black and white if they are not big fans and know they would rather have a color version. So let me know if you are a fan I will work to create them in your session.
Source: DPJ Blog