Back for another round of Top Ten’s and today’s topic is Black & Whites! If you missed the first post (florals), you can see it and the explanation of my Top Ten Series here. This one was so difficult for me because there’s a LOT of black and whites from the year that I’m obsessed with. I tried to pick ones that have just stuck or resonated with me throughout the year. I also tried to include ones that were instantly best suited to be black and whites. There’s a lot of images that do well both ways, but there are some that are just MADE to be in black and white for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because there is bold emotion in the image such as laughter or tears that needs to take center stage, other times it’s because black and white removes all distractions and instills a sense of iconic elegance to an image.
Hopefully as you read, you’ll get a feel for the moments I look for when it comes to black and whites and why I love them so much.
Timeless & Elegant
This image from Charley & Nick’s engagement session is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t quite explain it, but it just makes you feel something. There’s a genuine interaction happening and you can sense it. I love the quiet serenity of it. And it doesn’t hurt that it shows off Charley’s stunner of a open-back dress 🙂
Ohhh these moments always slay me. They are so intimate and raw. And they SCREAM to be put in black and white. All the emphasis goes straight to the emotion. Allison’s reaction to reading her letter from Mike was so genuine and heartfelt and it was an honor to get to turn that moment, those feelings into a tangible memory.
This impromptu snap during Leah & Luke’s elopement is such a favorite of mine. Black and white has a wonderful ability to mute an otherwise distracting background (hello, bustling Wicker Park 6-point intersection!) and turn all the attention on the stars of the show. I love that we were able to capture the hustle and bustle of city life but maintain romantic elegance. There is also such a timeless quality to this, in part due to the black and white, that I adore!
From the moment I saw this image, I knew it had to be in black and white. The smiles were so big and so genuine – the impact would have been lost a bit in the colors. You can feel the joy and excitement. And you can’t help but smile too!
I love for getting ready images to convey a sense of quiet anticipation. I want to focus less on the details and more on the person, what they are doing, and how they are feeling in those hours leading up to the big moment. For that reason, black and white becomes SO appropriate for a large proportion of the prep time. ESPECIALLY when you have beautiful clean window light in your room like Emma did (hint hint, brides!). I love the movement in this shot as Emma ties the silk belt for her dress. It’s quiet, it’s elegant, it shows off her details in a very timeless and understated way, and the light is dreamyyyy.
Tears of Joy
Want to know a secret to my editing? If there’s visible tears in an image, it’s INSTANTLY getting put in black and white. 10/10 times. There’s just no better way to show off that unmistakable emotion! Hong’s joyful emotion as she walked down the aisle was so beautiful and sweet. Those are the captures I live for.
Iconic & Romantic
I absolutely love this shot of Alex & Sean. It feels so classic and iconic. We were in the middle of downtown Chicago at peak rush hour, but the black and white makes it feel like they’re the only two in the city.
Ugh. There isn’t anything I don’t love about this. Sun flare can be tricky, but when it works it WORKS. And it works so well as a black and white. It gives the black point such a softness, which I love, particularly on gorgeous sunny days like this. And then Karen & James’s genuine emotion is pure perfection.
Another killer from Allison and Mike’s wedding, during their first look. This one just hits me right in the gut. You can feel how much these two love each other. You can’t script this kind of reaction.
Tears aren’t the only kind of emotion best documented in black and white. Laughter is another that works so well as a black and white, especially when it’s involving two people. All your attention is drawn to the laughs and it’s as if nothing else is important except the person you are laughing with. I loved seeing Magen and Spencer laugh together (and side note, it’s definitely not me making them laugh…I’m not that funny) and getting to freeze that moment in time. They may not remember what they were laughing at, but hopefully they will always be able to identify with that moment.