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  • Writer's pictureMichael Spatola

Color vs Black & White

Most people think of modern photography in terms of color. But honestly, there’s nothing more timeless than a beautiful Black & white image. Sure, there are some boudoir photos that scream color. Sunset kind of natural light looks great in color, as does very rich colors of lingerie and makeup.

With the vibrant colors of the lighting and outfit, color might be the better choice in this image. But then again, some may think the color in this image is distracting. It's a personal thing!

Black & white has the ability to reduce the image to it’s simplest form, allowing the subject to overpower the surroundings. After all, if you’re having boudoir portraits taken of you, I’m sure you’d rather stand out more than the furniture. Black & white also adds an air of mystery. Light and shadow combine to create more drama. B&W can give a very “film noir” look too. Steamy, and even sometimes dangerous, or even a voyeuristic feel.

In this image, I feel Black & white is the clear choice for drama and detail.

B&W also gives images an “editorial” look. Remember the old 80’s and 90’s GUESS ads? All were in B&W, usually grainy to give them a retro feel. Those ads were early inspirations for my own work. The Black & White was sexy, edgy, and classy. In the 80's everything was about color- remember the crazy makeup? (think Cyndi Lauper) Makeup and clothing were blazing with color, but GUESS rebelled- and their B&W ads were timeless and cool.

*not my images, just examples of the editorial look of these black & white GUESS ads from the 80s

With digital capture, you can see your photos many ways. The color can be vibrant and saturated, or muted down for a moodier effect, or B&W with varying degrees of grain and contrast. So, if you’re not sure going into your session if you want color or B&W, you’ll always have the option later. I will often suggest which way to go with the available images we’ve created for you.

The bottom line is that you have choices, and your photographer should be able to show you which options work for each individual image.

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