When I look at a photograph, I look it as an assemblance of information. Each pixel contains the information captured in the moment and when combined with the thousands of other pixels that comprise each photo, you get a snapshot into the story of that person, place or thing. An important aspect of those pixels is if they contain information for colour, or rather a shade of grey, which is why I wanted to take you through why I think a photo looks best as either a colour image or black and white(B&W) image.
Why A Photo looks Good in Colour
This photo is about the couple in the environment. The environment is clearly in the woods during the fall – known for its beautiful colours. So, when taking the picture I wanted to reflect the beautiful fall colours in the image and while I composed the image with the couple in the middle, I purposely framed them with the different colours in the area, with some yellow/green in the foreground and more in the back, around them. When you convert this image to B&W, the colours lose all meaning, and it is solely about the the couple, which takes away the overall meaning of the image. During sessions, I always keep in mind the environment in my photos and reflect that in my composition because couples are engaged for an average of 14.5 months which means that they have full range on when they want their photos to take place, thus in this this situation, the couple chose the fall, which is why I made sure to represent it in the photos.
In this photos, I love the emotion, of the couple embracing for the first time after their wedding ceremony. This moment means a lot to them, and usually I will prefer it in B&W over colour, but this image has extra meaning, over top of the embrace. This image represents a couple, from the Indian culture, who love colourful accessories and dresses on their wedding day, which is why I wanted to showcase this in even the emotion moments of the day.
Why A Photo looks Good in Black & White
This image is very similar to the last one that I discussed, but I wanted to bring up the fact that the colours do not hold as much importance, thus the image is about the emotion and the colours take the viewers’ attention away from that part of the image. Thus, this image is stronger in B&W.
In this photo, the image is more about the environment, over the couple. There are a number of leading lines that take you to where the could is standing, the couple is framed in the window pane and they are in the middle of the light fixtures. Knowing this, the image is geometric heavy, and colours actually take away from the strength of the framing and leading lines because the most powerful piece in the colour image is the bright red wall behind the window instead of the couple in the B&W image. For this reason, images that heavily use architecture and geometry look better in B&W.
In the end, while I have a strong propensity for black and white images, I never like to be the deciding force on the colour vs B&W debate, which is why I will always deliver every image in colour and B&W whenever possible. That being said, I should also mention that if the colour version of the photo does not look – usually due to low light or conflicting light colour temperatures – but the emotion, or moment captured is important for the story of the day/session, I will include it as a B&W only image.