Black & White or Colour?

Hi all, I've not been able to blog for a while due to being so busy but I'm aiming hoping to be back on track now and blog much more frequently.

So here's a question that every photographer faces on a regular basis - when to use black & white for a particular image and when to go with colour?

Some background: ANY image can look superb in monochrome.  I love black & white images (and one of my wishes is to one day to shoot a white wedding purely in black & white) but equally I apppreciate that not every image works in monochrome.  For example, surely you'd want to see most sunrise/sunset images in colour so you can appreciate the vivid colours and tones?

I regularly shoot weddings of all descriptions and Asian weddings in particular are famous for being so colourful and vivid - surely there's no place for black and white?  Well, maybe there is for the occasional shot.

Here's a bridal portrait I took at a Muslim wedding knowing from the start that it would be a black and while image:

You might be wondering what I'm gaining from going monochromatic when I'm losing all the beautiful colours in her outfit?

Well, used judiciously monochrome strips away the non-essential and focusses the image on the core elements - in this case, I wanted the image to highlight her wonderful expression, herpose, the perspective and the intricate details in her outfit.

Also, the vast majority of the shots in the Wedding set were coilour so I like to use the occasional mono image to really emphasise the subject, and to provide a nice contrast to colour images.  The trick is to use mono on images that wil benefit and not to overuse it.

I don't often do this but here's the original colour shot for comparison purposes and to (hopefully) illustrate my point:

So to get the final image, I desaturated all colour, cropped and tilted the image and highlighted the bride's expression and outfit details.

It's a subjective thing of course, but I think the monchrome version is much more powerful than the colour original.

The bride agrees (thankfully!) - this image is a framed 18 inch square print in her house.  And let me tell you, nothing beats clients framing the work you've done for them.  It's a huge compliment to any photographer.

I'm available to photograph Weddings and Events - please see galleries for Weddings, Asian Weddings and Events.

Please get in touch via the Contact page.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, Mo