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Jacie: An Argument for Black-and-White Photography

There is a bit of stigma around putting photos in black and white, but I argue that it still has a place in professional work.

In college, we talked about how modern photographers would edit pictures to be black and white in an effort to evoke more emotion or to make their images seem more poignant. Maybe it's because black-and-white pictures remind us of the nostalgia of film. Maybe it's because filters and presets make editing feel almost brainless in this day and age. I'm not sure, but there is this definitely a prevalent idea that black-and-white pictures are a bit pretentious.

I think there is a time and place for black and white images. A good rule of thumb is this: if the picture doesn't capture emotion in color, it won't convey emotion in black and white. Instead, consider if stripping away the color will focus a viewer's attention on the emotion of the photograph. If so, a black-and-white may be a good option!

I believe a black-and-white edit can enhance the vibe of some of my photos. It gives some images a classic, timeless feel. I like that, and therefore, I use black-and-white edits on occasion. Heck, one of my favorite pictures from my own wedding is a black-and-white image from Kiley Lipps with my husband and I walking away from the camera as he holds an umbrella over me while I hold up my dress. It feels like a real moment, and I think the black-and-white edit brings out that frozen-in-time feeling. It was an excellent editing choice, in my opinion.

To understand what I'm talking about, take a look at some of my favorite black-and-white images from past photo sessions.

P.S. Now, if you think these rules apply to sepia, think again. My rule with sepia - unless it's an old-timey wild West picture taken at an amusement park, don't use it. Haha!

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