Black and White Photography…before and after.

Black and white images have a certain appeal to me.  They portray drama, emotions, and keep the focus on the subject’s expression.  My photography style generally includes bright, crisp colors but sometimes images just pop in b/w or sepia tone.  So how do I choose which client or personal images will be set to b/w or sepia tone?

Distractions.  Often when I am shooting my toddler in all of her glory…this commonly includes printed leggings, tutus, bright-colored toys, etc., it can be very distracting.  All these colors/patterns take away from the moment I am trying to capture.  b/w can simply keep the focus on her.

Emotions.  Even subdued backgrounds and foregrounds can take your eyes away from the focal point of the image.  While I love the greenery in L&S engagement photo below, it takes away from the adorable moment they are having.  The sepia tone version makes her amazing smile pop.  The greenery makes for a nice textured neutral background.

Low light. If I am in a situation with low light, editing in b/w will give the portrait a smoother finish.  In Rachel and Baby Cole’s photo, Rachel was soothing him in between shots…and I happened to capture this special moment of him looking up at her.  Because of the angle and her shadow this image had low light and was fuzzy.  Switching it to b/w saved this photo, making it a favorite of mine.

Adding drama.  By the time my maternity clients and I made it to this venue, we were dealing with direct sunlight and shadows.  There are pros and cons to this.  Pro- I love the shadows the string lights make.  Con- the brick color is somewhat over powering.  The b/w image is dramatic and gives a vintage feel.  ‘The Brickyard’ sign pops…which was their wedding venue…don’t you just love that?  I sent the clients both images because they are both nice, but have totally different feels.  Leaving it up to them which they prefer.

Documentary. This is a picture of my youngest daughter’s first hike with the family, something we enjoy.  While I like the natural setting and the reflection in the river, it is rather generic.  In fact, I almost discarded the picture.  But with a switch to b/w and sepia combo the photo popped.  Then I cropped the image to make her the focus, including enough of her dad to document this special first hike together.

I send my clients a variety of their images, mostly in color.  However some images are just striking in b/w.  I hope you enjoyed hearing a little about the editing process and know that a lot of thought goes into each finished image.

 

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