I’ve been a professional wedding photographer in Hong Kong and beyond for more than a decade. Regardless of the type of wedding I’m shooting, be it Indian, Chinese, Western or a different culture, I almost always include some black and white shots in the final album. Here are six reasons why.
It makes for a beautiful contrast to other ‘riot of color’ photos
Pretty much all weddings feature color accents, be they the cake and flowers or the bridesmaids’ dresses. Asian weddings in particular are usually a riot of color, and this is something I celebrate in my wedding photography and would never dream of fading out.
However all weddings are also weighty and deeply meaningful at their core, especially for the bride and groom and their families. Capturing the most sincere and significant moments of a wedding in black and white makes for a beautiful contrast to highly colorful celebratory snaps.
Raw emotion is sometimes better expressed in B&W
Along with ensuring the light and composition are perfect, a wedding photographer is responsible for telling a story with each image. When the story is about raw emotion, often it is better expressed in black and white.
With the color absent from an image, the tears in a groom’s eye or the proud smile of the father of the bride often feel much more real and powerful. As legendary Canadian photographer Ted Grant once said, “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.”
TALK TO ME ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING WEDDING, I would love to tell your story!
Black and white photography never ages
Photography started in monochrome, but it’s absolutely wrong to think of black and white as outdated. While trends in dresses, hairstyles and makeup will change over the time, a black and white shot of a bride and groom will always look classic.
As a wedding photographer, my aim is to produce images that the bride and groom will look back on in years to come and instantly be transported to the memory of the day. When they show their grandkids the black and white shots of their wedding, nothing will look out of date or out a place. It’s cheesy to say it, but the unadulterated look of love doesn’t go out of style.
Everyone looks good in black and white
The bride and groom don’t typically pick their wedding venue based on how well it will lend itself to photography. Sometimes a church will have few windows and be dark, or a beach location will be scorchingly hot, leaving the wedding party red-faced and a little flustered looking. Black and white photography is the perfect remedy when the natural setting is a little lacking in terms of color and light.
In addition, B&W photography has a way of bringing out a side of us which we are not always used to seeing on a daily basis. Without a doubt, many of the wedding portraits I’ve shot in black and white have been firm favorites of my clients.
The high contrasts in weddings are perfect for B&W
Black and white photography is all about the difference between light and dark, lending itself very well to the high contrasts we see in weddings — a white dress against a dark suit, for example.
As most wedding ceremonies are held in the daytime, wedding photographers are also usually working with strong light and shadows, which can look more dramatic but less jarring in monochrome. While strong contrasts can look a little garish in color, black and while photographs excel in extremes.
It focuses the viewer
In formal portraits, a wedding photographer can set up their compositions to perfection, but the majority of the wedding day is out of our control. You may have a beautiful angle on the bride getting ready, but in the background there’s a mess of makeup, shoes and half-done bridesmaids. It’s situations like this in which black and white can really focus the attention on your subject.
As always, I am so grateful to all the brides and grooms who have allowed me to capture their big day! Please show us some love and follow us on social media to stay connected with more of our exciting projects!
A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios