the lunds


The Black & White Portrait: What, When, & Why?


Ahhhh. One of my favorite things is a good black and white portrait, but not because it’s *just* black and white. As someone who LOVES pop in colored portraits, having that true to color feeling but also the feel of light and bright, I also love a good black and white portrait! I was shooting a bridal portrait session recently when I randomly started talking about how I decide if an image stays color, or if it becomes a black & white. Something I never thought people really cared about, but she showed genuine interest in it and it made me wonder if people out there have ever wondered why some images are colored and some are black and white! So here we are! As a general rule of thumb, a black & white image becomes that way because it falls into one of three categories:

  1. The emotion of this portrait would become more prominent in black and white
  2. This image has distracting colors or elements that would throw off the color scheme of my bride
  3. This image was taken with specific technical elements that would best be highlighted in a black & white

80% of our black & white portraits fall into the first category, it has emotion that would become more prominent in black & white. Emotion is one of my absolute favorite things to capture as a photographer, and there are some emotions and moments that just need to be in a black & white. Of course then there are the times where to keep the colors and the general feel of the gallery concise, a black and white edit is necessary as well. Lastly, sometimes intentionally I ensure a flash pops in the frame of the image, or perhaps I get a lot of bokeh in an image, those are both elements that on occasion I would deliver in a black & white to enhance the technical aspect of the image to really ensure it as a ‘WOW image’!

So now that you know my thought process on black & white portraits, I hope it makes more sense why some images may be this way rather than a colored version! Truly black and whites are a special entity of there own, and I just love highlighting genuine emotions! As a natural light photographer, I love color and glowy sunsets! I cannot deny it!! But I also do love a stunning black & white! Let’s take a look at a few of my absolute favs!


Julieanne Lund



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