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The Friday Fight-Out: Black & White Vs Colour

Today we thought we’d delve once again into the world of photography and videography (to be known as ‘ography for the duration of this post) with a look at one of the key decisions an ‘ographer has to take on each shot: whether to have it in Black & White or Colour.

‘Ographer’s tend to use a mix of both black and white and colour in their images because both produce a very contrasting look which we as viewers respond to in very different ways. This post is not really about trying to say one is better than the other (we both love using both!) but is about presenting the reasons why each should be used, that said this is the Friday Fight-Out and the rules say we’ve gotta go in all guns blazing!

So let’s get this battle battling!

Black & White Vs Colour

In the Red corner… well at least I think it’s red, it’s looking a little monochrome right now…  presenting the arguments for the classic Black & White Image, it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”

In the Blue corner, looking smart in his technicolour dreamcoat whilst presenting the arguments for the full colour image, it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”.


Black & White Vs Colour

Dom: Black and white imagery goes back to the origins of film. Some of the most monumental moments in world history have been captured and preserved in black & white, but on a personal scale it doesn’t get much more monumental than your wedding day!

Matt: Colour shows the world as it really is; the way our eyes see it, yet the way we experience that image can be controlled and manipulated to create the maximum visual impact and become even more beautiful than real life.

Dom: Black and white takes it down to the very basics of the image, leaving you to focus on the truth of the photograph. The soul and emotion comes alive.

Black & White Vs Colour - Bride Vs Groom Friday Fight-Out

Matt: I love how you can choose different processing to create a completely different effect. Subtle changes in your edit and the level of saturation you choose can really add another dimension to your colour images.

Dom: The different tones of black and white get me every time, you can burn and dodge an image (lighten and darken specific areas of the image) to give full impact to the photograph. Highlighting and burning isn’t something that can be done as successfully with colour.

Matt: A life without colour… images would just be so dull without the bright, bold technicolour that naturally adorns them!

Bride Vs Groom Friday Fight-Out - Black & White Vs ColourDom: Black and white makes landscapes seem so dramatic and epic. Colour can easily distract whereas with black and white the eye is immediately drawn to the the shapes, the textures… in B&W landscapes take a different meaning

Matt: In the world of weddings we’re generally photographing/filming a white dress and a dark suit… depending on the composition of the image the Bride and Groom may become completely lost in a sea of black & white, whereas with colour the black and white outfits produce the much needed contrast from their surroundings.

Dom: Black and white brings out every etch of a face, the emotion in the eyes, the texture of the skin and strips it bare so you see a person without distractions. If that doesn’t show the truth I don’t know what does.

Black & White Vs ColourMatt: Light is interpreted completely differently in a black and white image to a colour image. In black & white imagery there is far more contrast – shadows take on a stronger, starker form, whereas colour affords you the opportunity to explore the subtlety of the light and create a softer look perhaps more fitting to the overall image of a wedding.

Dom: Where bright colours naturally catch the eye immediately, a black and white image really has to be crafted and pure to draw the viewer’s attention to it and force them to explore it’s subtleties…

Right that’s it… I refuse to argue! The truth is that the choice of black and white or colour is dependant on the image and it is impossible to live without either.

Both are precious to me and I enjoy and care for them both.


This one’s all over folks.

If you’ve got an opinion on the Black & White Vs Colour debate we’d love to hear it! Get in touch via the comments section, our Twitter Page or our Facebook page.

All photography by York Place Studios

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  • Michael from Bohemian Weddings - January 25, 2013 - 9:44 am

    Don’t argue guys 😉 I love both for different reasons, sometimes the colours make an image, would an autumn scene with rich oranges, yellows and reds look as good in B+W?….well maybe but it would be a shame to lose the colour.

    I actually shoot in a B+W setting as it enables us to not get distracted by colour and helps us to be masters of light! We then upload the photos and edit the raw files which will again be colour.

    Some images just simply work better in B+W, without colour to distract it puts more emphasis on the subject. Although I love both colour and B+W some of my all-time favourite images are B+W.ReplyCancel

    • bridevsgroom - January 25, 2013 - 10:07 am

      Haha, I must say we both love using a mix of the two as well… this one’s more of a love-fest than a fight!

      Shooting in B&W and converting to colour is a really interesting technique and a point we almost included in the debate so I’m glad you brought it up! Shooting in black and white with sudden punches of colour inverts the way we see the world and suddenly a colour image is the one that stands out against the pack… it almost inverts the arguments entirely.

      Thanks for sharing Michael!ReplyCancel

  • Chris - Smudged Photo - January 25, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    I’ve gone backwards and forwards a couple of times when I give images to clients. Sometimes giving all images in both colour and black and white and the other my own personal selection of each images.

    The trouble is, an image that works really well in black and white may look dull in colour, and that can happen vice versa as well. You don’t want your vision to be diluted when the couple sees the photos. It’s difficult!

    You obviously want to give your couples your own interpretation of what you saw, and if you’re giving them all the images in both colour and black and white it dilutes your story a bit?

    I’ve still not settled on one or the other, especially when black and white can come to the rescue when you get comedy colour balance issues under some reception lighting!!ReplyCancel

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