There is such a timeless aesthetic associated with black-and-white wedding photography. Removing the colours from the photographs somehow removes the association with the modern day. I suppose this isn’t just in relation to wedding photography. Any photo that is in black and white has this effect. When it comes to wedding photography though, there are so many great moments that happen throughout the day. It’s a great opportunity to use this desaturation technique to enhance the image’s purpose.
Black and White or Colour?
How to decide whether or not a photo should be in black and white is primarily personal preference. Through using my experience as a professional photographer specialising in capturing moments. Here is my opinion on whether or not a photo should be in Black and White to colour.
When I’m shooting on a wedding day I’m not specifically thinking about black and white or colour. I’m primarily focusing on the moments that are happening around me, what the light is like and what composition I should use to illustrate the atmosphere and mood. It’s only during post-production I really think about making a photograph black and white or colour.
Approximately 95% of my wedding photographs that get delivered are in colour. So my default “setting” if you will is to deliver the images in colour.
When will you change an image to black and white? I hear you say!
I make an image in black and white if I believe that the moment within the photograph is so special, that I don’t want anything distracting from the moment itself. For example, the image above is a beautiful moment between a bride and her father during their sorrento wedding at Villa Zagara. The colours are actually super nice in these images if you look at the full blog post in the link. There are plenty of similar images of the duo dancing under the tungsten lights on the Amalfi coast. But this specific moment of the dance, to me, was perfect to select for black and white. This exact moment in time isn’t about the colours but 100% about how much this man adores his daughter.
I get a lot of comments from my couples about this photo. Perhaps a stronger example of why I make a photo black and white when boils down to making the moment a priority over the colours or anything else distracting from the moment. It’s still one of my favourite wedding photos I’ve taken. Firstly because I just think it’s a great-looking image. Secondly and more importantly this moment will mean so so much to the bride and her family. This is my job at the end of the day. To capture what matters most to people.
Creative Black & White Photography
Another reason for me selecting an image to be in black and white is from a creative perspective. Now we all know that creativity is super subjective so this really is my own creative brain taking the lead here. Though maybe you’ll agree it was a good choice in this example below. This photo contains several of the world’s most famous alcoholic drinks. That are themselves black and white. I thought making the whole image desaturated would harmonise the image, bringing it all together to make a great photograph.
Black and White Portraiture
Almost all of my work is documentary based. I spend most of my time shooting everting organically and naturally. Capturing moments, setting the scene, and making photos of the events as they happen. Though when you have a professional photographer at your fingertips, you’re looking absolutely incredible, you have the perfect setting and you want a few snaps to illustrate this. I love to make portraits of my couples.
Here on the Amalfi coast, this newly engaged couple Yana + Travis had me over to make some great photos of them. I’ll mention more of this further down, but most of this photoshoot was shot and delivered in colour. I love to mix it up a little adding variety to the final set of photographs. You can see more portraiture BW photos in my full portfolio.
Timeless Wedding Photography
This is one of the more self-explanatory reasons I use. I’d like to think you’ll agree that there is not a lot in this photo that illustrates the time period that it was taken. I think there is something quite magical about that. Trends, colours, and fashion can all fade so removing the colours from this photo mean that it’s much less like to age. Of course, it helps that in this specific image, it’s a timeless-looking car and the dress is stunning too. Though the desaturation brings it all together for a timeless wedding photo.
One final reason I’ll share with you that I’ll choose to desaturate an image is when there are several photographs of the same scene. I’m just giving a little variety to the final set of images I’ll deliver to the couple. This photo, believe it or not, has a rainbow in it. Yet I still made this one back and white. There were many images with the rainbow in though I thought the contrast of the bride’s white dress and the dark background made for a great BW image. Hope you like it!
39 Black & White Wedding Photographs
Here are some more images that I love in BW and I really hope you like them. You can see much more of my colour work in my portfolio and access my blog posts. Thanks for reading 🙂