What’s the Appeal of Black & White Photos?

June 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

What’s the Appeal of Black & White Photos?

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018 revealed that the royal couple was enthusiastic about black and white photography. Instagram photos from Kensington Palace included stylish B&W shots.

We live in a very colorful world, so what is so intriguing about black and white photography?

Black and white photos have a timeless quality to them, they seem to cement a scene in time, like an engraving in stone. There’s something “forever” about them because they’re a blend of reality and mystery. Why do our brains perceive it that way?

The first newspaper to publish a photo (in B&W of course) was in 1880. From then until 1977 when color photos began to appear regularly, people associated something “newsworthy” with a black and white photo in the newspaper. Even if the current generation has lived in a colorful world since birth, they’ve studied history in school and seen the old B&W photos.  We’re all wired to perceive B&W photos as important, historical and newsworthy.

Is it easy to turn color photos into B&W treasures? No, it usually requires editing and an “artist’s eye”. The photographer or photo editor has to work with light and shadowy areas, contrasts, and to figure out what kind of “look” the photo should have.

If you think you want some B&W photos in your wedding or engagement photography, take a little time before the photo session to look at existing photos and think about what you want to create with your B&W. The photographer can keep that in mind during the photo session so that post-session editing will be easier.

 


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