As you start to look into wedding photographers, it’s important to land on one whose style matches your vision. That includes their style of photography, what kind of shots they typically take, and even editing in black and white.
Black and white wedding photos are a beautiful addition to your wedding album. Photographer Abby Jiu says by eliminating color as a distraction, black and white photos make it easier to hone in on the details. They can add a regal and timeless touch to your photos that you will cherish for years to come.
“To us, some photos just are black and white photos,” says Dana Curran of Henry + Mac. “There is such a timelessness to black and white, it makes us all think of our grandparents or being grandparents ourselves. You can really focus in on the moment—either small and emotional or a sweeping grand gesture.”
While all of your wedding photos are sure to be stunning—you’re in them after all!—there are a few shots that will look particularly powerful in black and white. "Essentially, it's the emotional moments that are most powerful as black and white," says photographer Sarah Falugo. Falugo has shot entire weddings in black and white at a client’s request, but on a shot by shot basis, she reminds couples that the final finish of the image is up to the photographer.
“Ask for examples of full weddings and you'll see which kind of images are usually black and white and in which percentages,” Falugo suggests. “If you had something different in mind then ideally this should be discussed before you book them or prior to the wedding.”
Before your big day, and even before you book your photographer, discuss what mix of black and white photos you’d love to see in the monochromatic hue. We talked to 7 photographers to find out which wedding day moments are their favorite to see in black and white.
A Classic Portrait
“I tend to like the images that tell a story, action, photojournalist shots—walking down the aisle, the first kiss, a classic portrait, fun moment, cutting the cake, a first dance—anything but a colorful detail will create an amazing timeless image a la Cartier Bresson," says Sylvie Gil.
Quiet and Calm Moments
“For me, I'll choose black/white for quiet and calm moments like right before the bride walks down the aisle or for certain portraits. I also like to do some black/white high energy photos like on the dance floor with guests or towards the end of the wedding with just the couple," says Chi-Chi Ari.
Bridal Suite Shots
“I shoot in all film and I would say that I shoot about 60 percent Color and 40 percent black and white film on a wedding day. I want my couples to have a good balance of both. There are certain moments in weddings that are my go-to for black and white film. The bride getting ready, groomsmen portraits, first dance, cake cutting and portraits of the bride and groom. Black and white film captures these timeless moments," says Lacie Hansen.
"The iconic shot of bride and groom walking back down the aisle is my all time favorite. There's something really great about stripping away the excess distractions which helps to accentuate the most important features of the frame and draw the eye exactly to where it needs to be," says Sarah Falugo.
Raw Emotional Moments
“My favorite opportunities for black and whites are the photos where the subject has raw emotions. Whether it’s the groom tearing up as he watches his bride walk down the aisle or when a bride has uninhibited laughter while she is being lifted in the chair at the hora. It really allows the emotion to come across," says Abby Jiu.
Boozy Reception Shots
“Black and white is my favorite editing choice for portraits, images that have tons of emotion happening within the frame, or also a lot of physical motion, like the booze fueled reception photos that always end up being a personal favorite. I’m of the belief that color images are much more distracting for the brain. With a black and white image, it is much more easier for the viewer to connect with what is happening rather than when their eye is taking in the colors and deciding whether they like them or not. Black and white not only has the benefit of being timeless, but is less distracting while also preserving the integrity and feeling of the moment it is painted over," says Laurken Kendall.
Emotion Evoking Photos
“Most often our favorite black and whites are photos that make you feel something—the groom crying through his vows, a subtle loving glance exchanged, the bride's mom giving the bride a squeeze after the ceremony. They are the photos we want to keep forever, that will never go out of style, that will tell our stories for generations," says Dana Curran of Henry + Mac.