February 15, 2019

Black & White Photography vs. Color | What’s Your Preference?

Black & White Photography vs. Color–it is quite the debate.  Talk to any of your friends and they will all have a different opinion.

Back when I was a student, we were only allowed to shoot black and white film for the first two years–absolutely no color.   I have always loved black and white photography because it is so classic and it strips away a lot of distractions.  This is a plus for me especially with portraits because it can really show the essence of a person.

Black & White Photography Saratoga NY

Emily is a voice over artist. I knew I wanted to include the microphone. The lighting combined with the black and white really makes her pop.But I also love color photography.  Color has so many meanings and if you know how to use it, it can dramatically convey mood in a completely different way than Black & White photography.

Lifestyle Family Portrait Session Saratoga NY
I really love the colors in this image. The color conveys a sense of warmth and fun that would be absent if this were in black and white.  Red is the perfect color for the accents here.

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I could not agree more.  One of the reasons I like to do a consultation with all my clients before a portrait session is so we can discuss exactly what it is they want their portraits to say.  I also find it interesting that some people are so strongly drawn to one or the other.  Talking about things ahead of time really does contribute so much to the final portrait.

Whiteface Lodge Bridal Portraits in the snow.
These images would not be so effective as black and white–the Black Magic roses would just look like a big black blob. And I love her skin tones against the winter landscape.

Besides the overall mood of the portrait, I also like to find out where the portrait is going to hang.  For instance, are there certain tones or colors we are trying to match or complement?

Black and White Wedding Photos Crooked Lake
This venue has a mid century Hollywood vibe and I like the way Black & White complements that.
Saratoga Bridal Party photos
The vibrant color of these dresses reflects the Caribbean color palette the bride carefully chose. Black and white would not have been the appropriate choice for these images. Dresses were by Ferri Formals in Schenectady.

So, do you have a distinct preference?  Color or Black & White?  Leave a comment to let me know.

Did you enjoy this photography blog post?  You might also enjoy this blog post on Planning Your Portraits.

Ready to schedule your Portrait Session?  Please give us a call at (518) 584-4237 or use our Contact Form.





This is so true! Some images just scream black & white, and others look best in color!

Yes! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Great post! I LOVE me some color, but that timelessness of B&W really stops me in my tracks sometimes!