I often get asked if the photos I deliver after a wedding will be in Color, Black & White or Both and what the ratio is of B&W to color. The answer is it depends. I normally want to deliver all my images in color. I love color and that is what I want my brides to have. And most of my brides love color as well, that is why they are getting married outdoors! However, there are some situations that demand the use of B&W in a photo. And how often these things happens will determine the ratio of B&W to color.
1. The couple can be a lover of black & white photography and the classics. Tim & Erin are an example of a classic couple. They look great in black and white, so I have quite a few samples of B&W conversions from their photo shoots. If I have a couple like this I will probably give a few more b&w photos than normal (or if you specifically request more b&w.)
2. Sometime lighting situations make b&w the best option. This particularly occurs when I am shooting in a place with two different light sources. Not to go into complicated detail but different forms of light give off different color casts (for example tungsten lightbulbs are orange and daylight is blue) so if I was shooting getting ready photos in a room with a bright window and light bulbs, one half the photo would be yellow and the other half blue. I can correct in post for ONE of these colors, but not two. So the best thing to do is convert to B&W. (Or to turn off the lightbulb if there is enough daylight. This is why you will see me turn off lamps on your wedding day, and why it is so important to have a well lit getting ready room.) I also can get color cast from things like flashes on a guest’s camera. In the following picture you can see the red lines on Erin & Tim. This came from a guest’s camera and I can’t make it go away. So my only option is to convert to B&W or miss the moment. I choose B&W.
2. Sometimes converting to B&W makes the composition of the photo look better. In the following photo I was looking at their silhouettes. The color isn’t important to the photo. In fact I think the greenish tint takes away from the photo. So I converted it to B&W.
3. Sometimes it is just a matter of preference. The following two photos are fine in both color and B&W. I like them both. It depends on your taste which one you will like better. Some people are drawn to color and will always prefer the color option. Some people prefer the timeless look of black & white and will almost always choose that photo. Either way there is no right or wrong answer.