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Colour or black & white for a Manchester wedding photograph ?

Manchester has some very photogenic wedding venues. I am going to showcase images, taken outside Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Park, Manchester. Wedding photography is about the image telling a story. Mono tone or colour for final image delivery is important. So, why choose colour over black and white?

Is a colour image better than black and white ?

Black and white photographs can be very striking, especially if they have deep blacks, pure whites and a large tonal range of grey. The image of the bride and groom in the picture below, was taken in Manchester near the Sky Hooks in Manchesters Trafford Park. Because this is a grey scale image, the newlyweds markedly stand out. Especially if the focus point, composition  and exposure draws the eye to the subject. I chose portrait here in Manchester, to accommodate into the viewfinder the huge Manchester Sky Hooks. Composition is a factor at play here too. I will discuss the “Golden Spiral”  in another post.

Different colour temperatures of light affect the image

Mixed lighting (and most venues have it!) Tungsten at 2900 degrees kelvin, mixed with LED’s or spot lights at around 4000 degrees kelvin. Daylight from the windows at 55oo degrees kelvin is the outside temperature of light on a sunny day (if not more). At a wedding this can clash, as it adds a colour cast to the skin tones or the white bridal dress.

Good colour balance in post processing is very hard to achieve in mixed lighting. Mono chrome has a huge advantage over colour in a mixed lighting exposure. In wedding photography, it is all too common, unless you drown the ambient light with a full on flash exposure.

This is not possible realistically unless you can set up huge lighting rigs. The result would be part staged photos, this is neither documentary or natural photography. So to keep things natural, your ‘friend’ is of course black and white. Because it removes all the unwanted colour casts. Adds the beauty of mono chrome. Focusing the viewers eye totally on the subject, its composition, plus light and dark adding contrast.


A Black and white image of Manchesters Famous Sky hook at the side of Manchesters river Irwel by Brian Fell featuring a Bride and Groom in the foreground.Colour image of a bride and groom at Trafford Park Manchester, featuring the 18 mtr high steel sculpture of a hook and chain by artist Brian Fell. Commissioned in 1995s regeneration to bring business back to Manchesters Trafford Warf


Which image wins from this Manchester wedding,  black & white or colour?

In the identical images here above, black and white wins for me. It is the final delivered image of choice from this Manchester wedding. The red industrial brickwork from Manchesters industrial past stands out and draws your eye from the couple. Because its winter the shrubs and the sky lack colour so why use it?  The shape and texture are there in black and white. Without the colour your eye is drawn to newly weds.


Kodachrome colour film became available in 1935

Colour photography first appeared in 1890’s using the additive colour method of mixing red, blue and green light. In 1935 Kodachrome film became available for 16 mm cine cameras but photographers had to wait a full year for 35 mm film.

Ilford film was a good choice for black and white. It gave 256 shades in mono tone. Alternatively loading Kodacolour Gold or Fuji Velvia into an SLR resulted in a thousand hues of the colour palette becoming available. Photographic medium is now digital and can be black or white at the push of a preset button in Lightroom. So what is good about colour photography compared to black and white?

Contrasting colours

Colours that are contrasting are generally opposite on the colour wheel. Red is opposite to green and is highly contrasting and can create a stunning image. Why is colour important? Colour can tell a story. Blue portrays a cold ‘feel’ to a photo. Yellow or orange make the photo feel warm. Colour used correctly can draw you eye into a photo. It is a powerful weapon for creating stunning images. Put a ‘pop’ of colour in a photo and it catches the eye of the viewer.

Two more images from Manchester wedding photographer Simon Croot. Black & white or colour?

In my view, the ‘colour’ image below is better than the same image in ‘black and white’. Because the background colour of green trees complement the grooms blue suit. Bright Manchester sunshine provides specular highlights which show more dominantly in the colour image.  The subjects in the photo are elevated out of the image due to contrasting colours. Drawing your eye straight to the subjects, the Bride & Groom.

A Black and white image of a Bride 7 groom as subjects against a specular background taken by Manchester weddinfg photographer Simon CrootA photo by Manchester wedding photographer Simon Croot featureing a Bride & Groom contrasted against a green background.





“A photograph captures a moment in time, and hold it still forever”


I am Manchester wedding photographer, I love to shoot weddings in a natural documetary style. No poseing or set up cheesey shots. just leave me to capture your day naturaly. Please contact me to check my availability i would love to hear from you.

Please look at my blog  Manchester wedding photography by Simon Croot.


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