Full disclaimer: I love both color and black and white photographs. Most of the time, our clients want their pictures in full color. They want to show off the gorgeous outfit that they’ve chosen for the occasion, display the rich hue of their hair, or let everyone see that incredible eye color that shines when the light catches their eyes exactly the right way. Deciding between color and black and white, however, might not be as easy as you think.
CAPTURING THE SOUL
There’s something about a black and white picture that you’re never going to get in a color photograph. If you want to capture everything about a person, the color just gets in the way. Black and white, on the other hand, gives a look at the soul that’s impossible to ignore. While a color photograph can certainly capture the essence of something, it’s black and white photos that should truly strike fear into the hearts of those primitive people who once believed that pictures could capture their souls.
SMOOTHING AWAY PERFECTION
Black and white photographs are much more forgiving than their color counterparts. In a black and white picture, it’s much more difficult to see blemishes: instead of standing out in shades of red, they blend with the rest of the skin. Are your cheeks a little shiny after a long session outside? Sweating a little bit? Black and white photography will smooth all of that away as though it isn’t there. Those things are distractions, taking away from your beauty. When you use black and white photography, on the other hand, you allow everyone to see just how beautiful you were in that moment.
COLORS DRAW YOUR ATTENTION
Think about the emotional associations that go hand in hand with color. Red, for example, might arouse either anger or passion, while blue is a much more calming color. When you add color into your pictures, it distracts from what the image is actually saying as it clouds your emotions. Your eye is automatically drawn to the brightest color within the picture first. Is that your shirt? Your eyes? Now, ask yourself this: where is your eye drawn in a black and white image? How do you view it differently? In some cases, colors just get in the way of seeing the image as it really is.
CONSIDER WHAT COLOR ADDS TO THE IMAGE
Sometimes, the difference between color and black and white photography is simply what you’re hoping to get out of the picture. Take a look at the color version of your pictures. What does the color add to them? How would they be different if you removed the color or tried the black and white version of the picture instead? Don’t just dismiss black and white photography out of hand because you feel that it’s old-fashioned or fear that it won’t convey what you’re looking for. Instead, take the time to consider what the color adds or detracts from the image, then decide what you really want out of the picture.
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Take a look at JC. I have two pictures of him: one in color, one in black and white. The color photograph allows you to see all those important details: his hair, his eyes, his clothing. On the other hand, all of those features take away from getting to know the real JC. In the black and white picture, you can see who he really is–and in many cases, that’s exactly what you’re after from your photography session.
Whether you’re looking for a color session or photographs shot in black and white (or some mixture of the two), contact us. We’ll work with you to create the photography session you’re dreaming of and come out with pictures that will display you exactly as you intend.