Capturing The Soul: The beauty of b&w

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article, My Style

The passion and emotion of b&w wedding photojournalism

There’s a fantastic quote by photographer Ted Grant which goes:

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”

That is one of the very reasons I have a passion for black and white photography – especially with my wedding reportage approach.  Now don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy and appreciate colour photography but it’s black and white photography that really excites and moves me; it resonates with me personally in a way colour photography can’t quite – and believe me I have tried.

So what is it about black and white photography that is so special for me?

Ashridge House wedding photography of a personal moment during the bride and grooms first dance

1. Nostalgia.

The most successful photography reflects the photographer – it tells us something about the person who created the photograph. That’s why the most successful photographers talk about making sense of their world via photography. For years this mystified me. I always thought I created for the sake of creating something beautiful or interesting. Or to paraphrase a great influence of mine, Garry Winogrand, who famously claimed he only took photographs simply to see “what things look like when they’re photographed.”

But then it slowly dawned on me. My desire to shoot in black and white (much against the advice of my street photography peers) was down very much to the fact that as a person I am quite nostalgic. Whilst I don’t exactly live in the past I do like to dwell on it and re-visit it from time to time. Black and white photography screams nostalgia. Sub consciously I was drawn to black and white because I wanted to reflect a timeless and nostalgic view of the world.

And that all fits beautifully with wedding photography – an event I am shooting to capture its classic timelessness. Creating wedding photography that would looked back on in months, years and decades to come…the very food of nostalgia itself!


2. Influences and Inspiration

All my early influences and inspirations shot almost exclusively in black and white. Okay, yes, they had little choice – particularly the great photojournalists and street masters who couldn’t get colour film fast enough for their needs back then – but they did view colour as “vulgar”, that the colour itself became the subject rather than the mood and feel of the photo.  Given the choice, if all being equal, I’m certain nearly all of them would have chosen to stick with black and white.

So with heroes like the classic shooters of Herni Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Andre Kertez through to the more edgy Garry Winogrand, William Klein and Daido Moriyama it’s not surprising that black and white photography has left a mark on me.

Given its heritage it just looks classic and timeless.  And when it comes to wedding photography classic and timeless is exactly the kind of thing you want.

Wedding photojournalism at South Lodge hotel in Horsham, West Sussex

3. The Heart of the Subject

The strength of black and white photography is that it gets straight to the heart of the subject matter.  Colour can often bring chaos and confusion – which really makes the viewer’s eye work.  Black and white makes things simpler – taking away the distraction and clutter of colour so that the subject is clear and strong.  That’s why photojournalists have always preferred black and white when conveying the story or, as I say, ensuring the integrity of the moment.  And that’s why it works so beautifully for a wedding photojournalist determined to document the true story of your wedding day.  Also b&w photography is perfect companion for my actual wedding reportage style.  I love the soul that grain can bring to a photo – and this definitely works best in b&w photos.


4. It Rises Above the Ordinary

The very fact that the world isn’t black and white means black and white photography takes you outside the ordinary and everyday and makes everything feel magical.  It’s like getting lost in a surreal and enchanted world, when everything is recognisable yet strangely different too.  So when I capture moods and emotions in black and white, they really are special and magical.  So what could be better than wonderful and magical when it comes to your wedding photography? It’s no ordinary day, so why should you wedding photography be?


5. A Personal Passion

Simply put, I’m passionate about black and white photography. When I see it it genuinely thrills and excites me.  I become enthusiatic about it.  And isn’t that what you want from a photographer…a genuine passion for their craft and art.  As I say elsewhere on this website, it’s easy to talk about “passion” and it’s one of those photographer cliches to simply talk about it as if it’s just some written magical wand, but I’m a firm believer in demonstrating passion rather than merely talking about it just to impress wedding couples or readers of a blog.  Hopefully, the photos on this post alone are enough to demonstrate my authentic passion for black and white wedding photography.


Like I say, I’ve nothing against colour photography – when it works it can be just as powerful.  But black and white is just perfect with a wedding photojournalism approach as salt is to vinegar, cream is to strawberries or Ant is to Dec…ahem, ok, maybe I’m pushing that a bit.

So as you can see, black and white photography forms an essential part of the storytelling arc of my wedding photojournalism approach.  You could say it’s the spine of my photography that the rest of the wedding story builds and hangs from.

So Let’s Talk About Your Wedding Plans

Ashridge House wedding photography of a bridesmaid adjusting the bride's veil as she gets dressed

Like me you also love classic and timeless black & white photography?  You also want a creative, relaxed and unobtrusive approach to your wedding story that captures all the moments and emotions from the day?  In that case I’d love to hear all about your unique weddings and chat about how my authentic wedding photojournalism approach will deliver the images you want.

You can call me on +44 (0)7920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page and I’ll be delighted to get back to you.


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