For many years all that was available in photography was black and white photographs, which were photographed onto film stock. While the invention of photography was a massive development in visual arts, many longed for photographs to be shot as we see things in real life (in colour).
Eventually companies began to produce colour film stock and as such the colour photograph was invented. This was a massive advantage, because photographs were not only more vibrant and therefore pleasing to the eye, but also had more real life information in them. The addition of more real life information was obviously massive, because in the end of the day, photography is in its simplest form a method of recording information.
It is interesting however that black and white photography is still extremely popular, since it is less vibrant and records less information about what was actually happening on the day. If you think of wedding photography, this is extremely essential because of colourful elements that are inherent within a wedding day. Things like flowers or brides maids dresses can look great in black and white, however if you shoot a bouquet in black and white, several years later, you will not be able to reminisce about how stunning the colour of your flowers were on the day.
So why is black and white photography still so popular?
Black and white photography has a really classical and traditional feel to it and with weddings being traditional elements of life, the black and white colour scheme works well as a reminder of that fact.
Also it can be quite boring to look at pages and pages of wedding photographs in an album. As a photographer I always look for ways to make each page look unique, so that the viewer does not get bored as they flick from one page to the next. By adding a few black and white pages to a wedding album, you massively add a level of variation to an album, whilst also adding a sense of the traditional and classical nature of wedding photography.
The photographs that work best in black and white are usually the shots of old or traditional elements of the wedding day. For example, if the bride has hired an old and prestigious car to pick her up and take her to the church, by switching the photograph to black and white, you emphasise the fact that the car is a classic.
This is an obvious methodology when choosing which photographs should be turned into black and white, but it is also worth noting that sometimes there is a random element to whether or not a photograph looks good in black and white. Sometimes you can look at a photograph and instantly get a sense of whether a photograph will look good in black and white and other times you have to turn it into black and white to truly be able to judge if it will work.
As a photographer, I always shoot in colour, that way you always have the option to pick between colour and grey scale. If you shoot black and white you can not go back and add the colours in post production. You could select parts of the photograph and add the colour in an editing software, but this would not only be time consuming but would also not be accurate because you would be trying to get the exact pantone colour of the various elements of the photograph from memory.
It is a very simple process to turn a photograph black and white, and since you can batch process photographs in Photoshop, you can quickly turn an entire set of photographs into black and white in seconds, with a few click of your mouse. You obviously have to allow some time for the computer to do this batch processing, but in terms of your own man power hours it is a matter seconds.
One must remember to also copy the existing photographs to a new folder, so that when you batch process the photographs, you are doing so on copies, so that you have original photographs and all their colour information.
One of the big advantages of producing modern story book albums is that they are designed on a computer and you can switch a photograph on a wedding album with one click of your mouse. This is especially helpful when designing an album but also for when you are showing the album design to your clients. If they are curious as to weather or not a photograph would look great in grey scale, you can quickly show them and therefore let them make their own decision on the colour scheme.
In the end, it comes down to taste. We have had clients in the past who have wanted their entire album in black and white, and some that have not wanted any at all in their album. As a wedding photographer, I always provide the couple with a full set of colour photographs and a full set of grey scale photographs, so that if in the future the couple suddenly decide they want a particular photograph in a different colour scheme, they have it already.
In summary, there are many advantages to both colour schemes and although there is a methodology to consider, there is also a random element when deciding if a photograph looks better in black and white. It is also a matter of taste because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Pubished by Mark Byron Dowie Photography wedding photographer newcastle
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