I consider myself a serious photographer, but I have a confession to make: I like colour (color if you’re an American). I can’t help it! I’ve seen in colour my whole life and I’ve grown used to it. I don’t find it the least bit distracting and, I admit, I don’t really understand this notion that you’re not a true photographer unless you filter the world into black and white.
I know that colour can be abused. I’ve seen the heavily photoshopped, oversaturated pictures that almost give you a seizure. I’ve indulged in a bit of that myself. But that doesn’t make colour bad…, does it?
In the world of wedding photography, black and white (also known as greyscale or monochrome) is huge. I’ve noticed in the online portfolios of some wedding and portrait photographers, a very strong preference for black and white. Some say that black in white is best for emphasizing form, light and texture and there is plenty of merit in that argument.
I believe that the love for black and white is rooted in photographic history. In the days when everyone shot film, it was simply easier and more cost-effective to shoot black and white. You also had more control in the darkroom. Ansel Adams, perhaps the most famous photographer of all time, hated shooting in colour because he liked to do a lot of darkroom manipulation. So when you look at pictures from the masters of old, it’s mostly black and white. We all want to be like them.
Young brides today are used to colour in photography and are not so impressed with it as past generations were. To many of them, the retro look is in.
As I said before, there are some legitimate reasons way a person might choose to forgo colour. Still, if you’re getting married and you want some, if not all, of your pictures in black and white, you don’t have to tell your photographer to please shoot this one or that one in black and white; at lease not unless he or she is shooting film. In this digital age, the smart thing to do is shoot first and convert to black and white later. You get more options and better looking black and white pictures that way. Our Saskatchewan landscape can look amazing with or without colour.
So go nuts! Colour or black and white. You can have it all these days.