Marvellous Monochrome

On a computer screen the RGB color model can show  256  different shades of grey, where grey is defined as an equal number of red, green and blue.

On a computer screen the RGB color model can show 256 different shades of grey, where grey is defined as an equal number of red, green and blue.

Monochrome describes paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or values of one color. A monochromatic object or image reflects colors in shades of limited colours or hues. Images using only shades of grey (with or without black or white) are called gray-scale or black & white. However, scientifically speaking, monochromatic light refers to visible light of a narrow band of wavelengths (Wikipedia)

So that's the fairly technical definition. The subject of monochrome can get seriously technical. For the purpose of this post, I will keep it fairly simple and perhaps do a more thorough, technical post in the near future.

For this post I will cover:

1. The Definition

2. History

3. Black & White greats

4. Black & White wedding photography

Acceptably known as the first photograph, was a camera image by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce captured in 1826. The image shows the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce 1st known photograph

Black & white photography was commercially introduced in 1839 with the invention of the metal-based daguerreotype process. This process progressed to the paper-based calotype negative and salt print processes that were invented by William Henry Fox Talbot.

When it all started, all photography was shot in monochrome. In the late 19th century, colour photography was possible but the film was not easily used until the mid 1930s.

Notorius as being the most famous black & white photographer of all time was Ansel Adams.

Not only a photographer but a passionate environmentalist, Ansel's love of nature would wind its path and eventually he went on to becoming one of the greatest photographers of all time.

Ansel Adams - Tetons and Snake River

Ansel Adams - Tetons and Snake River

To get a fascinating look at some of histories masters of black and white photography, go to the link below.

Black & white wedding photography has been popular for a long time, however, it has recently started to receive much attention. One thing that is true for black & white images, is that they stay many years longer than their saturated colour partner. On the flip side, black & white printing can be more costly than colour prints. Black & white photography works perfectly in capturing incredibly sincere moments packed with emotions. Vibrant colours already attract most of the attention resulting in the viewer not fully noticing the small, meaningful details and real emotions.

The Ring carrier

I enjoy placing my attention on the newlyweds and the raw emotion they express on the day. This is extended to all the family and friends that attend the day.

A very solid trend that has engaged many couples is the "au natural' look. With very little post editing and zero use of filters, this style of black & white gives clean natural images that can beautifully grab the perfect moments.


To wrap up, the use of monochrome in photography can result in truly inspiring and intriguing images. The depth and heart they offer is essentially what we all want in our photos.

The Ring Bearer 2