Every once in a while at a wedding, I get super excited about a shot and flick my camera around to show my subject how rad they look in the photograph, and there's always a bit of surprise that the image is in black and white, so I thought I'd share a little about why I do this, for both my wedding photography clients and other photographers.
I'll preface this by saying I adore black and white images, I would almost love to only deliver black and white images if that was still a thing. I love the timelessness of the format.
I've spent an age thinking long and hard about my style of shooting and how I can create the images I intend on making. So when thinking about intentional shooting, it turned out that one of the most important aspects for me as a photographer is light. Light is transformative in photography; it's one element that you can't really fully control in post. Sure, you can change the exposure, you can dodge and you can burn, but the shape of the light, the way it falls, that's pretty sealed.
A few years ago I noticed that I'd developed a habit of editing the black and white images first (I deliver full sets of monochrome and colour for each shoot or wedding). I thought about why that was and realised it was because I could see the image more clearly, I could see little bits that needed tidying. I could see the light, I could more easily see my composition, atmosphere and emotion was much more visible to me and also patterns were much more visible.
So why not set my camera to monochrome? I added some tweaks (upped my contrast etc) in camera and found a sweet spot that lets me see my images on the back of my camera pretty close to my monochrome edit. And sure enough, it was beaut. I found my photography benefitted in so many ways, I was better able to see shadow and light, it was much simpler to cleanly compose and it was totally all about moments.
It's also nice to see it as a pretty final product, since my camera is set very close to my personal black and white editing preset.
Totally comes with downsides, of course - you might not see that giant red coke can in the middle of your shot and you have to be 100% sure you are shooting in RAW otherwise you'll never get that colour info back, but I've found that for my particular brain, the benefits outweigh the downsides.
I shoot with a couple of d750s, so don't yet have the joy of a monochromatic electronic viewfinder that I would have on the Sony mirrorless that's in my cart on every camera gear website around haha but it has actually made a huge difference for me and was a turning point in my growth as a wedding photographer.
I'd love to hear what tricks and tweaks other photographers have around how they view their images, and if you give this a go, yell out and let me know how you find it!
I'm a Taupo wedding photographer. I provide wedding photography to the Central North Island, Wellington, Nelson, Rotorua, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, all over. I love traveling for destination weddings. We are so lucky here in Taupo, we have the best Taupo wedding photographers, each of them are great wedding photographers.