The beauty of black-and-white photography is its flexibility. Black-and-white is more open to manipulation. You can do a lot more than with colour; you can change the contrast, make the skies darker and so on.
This versatility means that number of special effects can be created with your black-and-white photos, enhancing and highlighting their magic to leave you with stunning works of art.
An art that isn’t as popular today, but still possible, is hand colouring.
This is where a single aspect if a photograph, such as a rose in the centre of your bouquet, is literally coloured by hand to highlight it and add interest and impact to the image. The same effect can be achieved digitally. Your photographer may even create something similar by digitally turning a colour photograph into a black-and-white print and leaving some of the images in its original colour.
Sepia and toning
During the processing stage, your black-and-white photographs can be toned with a single colour from the colour spectrum such as blue, green or pink. Alternatively, for a charming and romantic olde worlde look, you can have a sepia print make from your black-and-white photography.
Sepia is the name given to one of three dusty red/brown hues.
To generalise, blue toning can be very effective for street and outside scenes, sepia is best suited to park and traditional scenes while a metallic look can add impact to wharfs, streets and cafes.
Most of all, however, the colour to which a photograph is toned depends on the image itself. Some pictures suit warm tones while others deserve cooler tones. It’s art!
Credit: Sarah Wenban Photography
To achieve this, special infra-red film is used to photograph infra-red light (this is the light above the rainbow that is invisible to the naked eye). It changes the tone of some things: It makes green foliage turn a light grey, the sky becomes black, it looks softer all over. The result is an intensely surreal image that simply glows.
A difficulty with infra-red is that it’s hit-and-miss. Your photographer cannot see infrared and so cannot know exactly how the photograph will turn out but a good result is more than worth the effort. Today, highly skilled digital photographers are able to create an infra-red look digitally.
Special effects can certainly add visual impact to your black-and-white professional wedding photography and transform a good shot into something extraordinary, but they should be used sparingly. There’s no point having countless special effects done on your photography simply because today we can.
A final word of advice….
As artistic, creative and appealing as black-and-white images are, it is essential that you also have colour photography at your wedding. Down the track you will want to be able to remember the colour of the flowers, bridesmaids’ dresses and so on.
You will also appreciate the mixture of both colour and black-and-white images in your album in years to come. However, with reservations in mind, the resounding advice of professional wedding photographers when asked about black-and-white photography is that you have to have some!
You simply cannot beat the creativity, artistry, feeling and classic timeless appeal of black-and-white images.