Why I Love Black & White Photos

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THE FIVE TOP REASONS WHY I LOVE BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHY IT ALWAYS CAPTURES MY ATTENTION.

While studying photography at the UCF School of Visual Art and Design, I noticed my eyes were always drawn toward black-and-white photos. With the right photo, one can profoundly connect to the intense emotions that a color photo seems to lack. It’s a conscious choice to remove the distraction of color; I appreciate my inner voice reminding me to visualize through the process for the sole purpose of art and the conjuring feelings it produces.
Ah, I digress. You came to this page to learn precisely WHY I love black-and-white images. Let’s summarize the top five reasons why I love b&w photography.

I. COLOR = EASY

Color is ubiquitous in our daily lives, as most of us see the world in some type of color. It’s something we often take for granted. It’s easy and expected. When I edit an image, adjusting color is the most natural progression through my post-processing checklist. A slight tap of the color sliders can dramatically sway the mood of a photograph. It thrusts that process even further when I use black and white. It’s an unnatural view, going against what our camera and eyes see and capture. It simplifies the photograph, providing a more abstract and powerful representation of its subjects, allowing viewers to see things they may not have noticed in color. It sets a mood, enabling us to focus on the subjects’ emotions and the fundamental aspects of the artistry.
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II. TIMELESS

Every professional photographer or photo retoucher has a unique style of editing images influenced by time periods or trends and defined by their color palette, which contributes to the mood and look of their photographs. Unfortunately, trends go in and out of style. On the other hand, the absence of color gives black-and-white photos an inherent aesthetic quality, allowing them to remain timeless, unfazed by the latest color grading trends prevalent on social media.

B&W photographs lack temporal markers, making them more universal and enduring. They’re only dated by that era’s landmarks, clothing, and hairstyle fads. If you think of a few iconic black-and-white photographers throughout history, most of their images transcend the specific details of when or where the photographs were taken.

III. LIGHTING

In black-and-white photography, the absence of color sways photographers to rely more on light, shadow, and grayscale nuances to convey emotion and narrative. The contrasts between light and dark, the way light falls on subjects, and the interesting highlights and shadows it creates become the main elements of the image. This makes black-and-white photos more evocative and poignant, as they often communicate mood and atmosphere more directly than color photographs. I love adjusting shadows and highlights in b&w images because I can help lead your focus to specific areas you may not have noticed otherwise.

IV. FEELINGS

For me, it’s always about the feeling. Right?! I absolutely love the feeling of a black-and-white photograph. Without color, my mind fills in the gaps, leaving more energy for my heart and soul to experience all the emotions without the distractions. This engagement makes the images more memorable and impactful. When I decide to edit a photo in b&w, the process needs to enhance the aesthetic quality of the picture and bring something more to the table. Don’t get me wrong; not every photograph is improved by simply removing color.
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Sometimes I’m just in the mood to edit in b&w because I have an image or series of images that just begs to be in b&w. These series are usually some of my favorites because it creates a sweet little story within a bigger love story. Sometimes I get lucky with couples that appreciate black and white images just as much as I do and they specifically request some in their galleries. Either way, I’m constantly tugged toward the timeless yet seemingly simplistic FEELING of black-and-white images.

V. STORYTELLING

By removing color, photographs become more intimate, telling a behind-the-scenes story that only few are invited. The viewer’s attention is directed precisely where the photographer intends, leading to a stronger narrative and a deeper emotional impact. My goal as a wedding, elopement, engagement, or family photographer is to capture your beautiful story.

Ultimately, the appreciation of black and white photography is subjective, but hopefully you've gained a deeper respect for it.

“To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”

— Andri Cauldwell

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