I love taking photographs in black and white...there's something about the contrast, the textures, the mood, the emotions. It's just so special. I was looking up ways to improve my black and white photography skills, and came across some great tips that are changing the way I photograph in monochrome:

  1. See the world around you in black and white - practice visualizing scenes in monochrome, noticing patterns, contrast and different textures.
  2. Watch old black and white movies - before the film industry could tell their stories in color, they had to rely on lighting and shading to express emotions that we can all learn from.

From amateurs, to professionals, to the iPhone photographer, we all have options to shoot in black and white and can apply these tips to capture our stories in a unique and artistic way!

See the World in Black and White

While on a hike at Silver Falls in Oregon, I brought my camera to snap some photos of the NW beauty around me. Most of the photos I took were in color, but I remembered to see the world in black and white and wondered how the leaves would look...

Silver Falls, Oregon

I loved the outcome! It was an overcast, moody kind of day, (if you live in the PNW you know what I'm talking about) and I felt like black and white really captured the feeling.

Below is an example from the Oregon Coast, at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach (one of my favorite places). It was a sunny day, and relatively busy. But in this moment, the crowds cleared and it was just a man and his dog enjoying a day at the beach. I switched to shoot in monochrome, seeing the landscape and setting would be best captured this way.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Film Noir

Over the holidays I was watching the 1940s classic "It's a Wonderful Life." I was struck by the cinematography and how much emotion was conveyed, despite the lack of color to tell the story. I thought about how watching black and white movies can teach us to photograph differently, almost treating those moments like a movie scene.

"It's a Wonderful Life" Source - IMBd

"It's a Wonderful Life" Source - IMBd

Applying these film techniques to wedding and engagement photography, here are some of our favorite black and white photos that show how we use lighting and shading to convey emotions - and why we just love what we do! Like they say, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Especially when it's in black and white. 

Enso Urban Winery Engagement
Rings at Winter Wedding
Rabbi at Heathman Hotel
Heathman Hotel Wedding
Getting Ready
Doug Fir Engagement
Harpist at the Heathman Hotel
Columbia Gorge Elopement
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Photographer Ted Grant

See the world in black and white and watch some old movies to gain inspiration - you'll be sure to capture amazing moments.