Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

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The Black and White Image

If given the choice between a color image and black and white image I naturally gravitate towards the black and white. I'm not sure if it's because I started my photography journey with film or because of my background in journalism. Whatever it may be, I love a great black and white image! When I first started my business, my style of processing images was all over the place and that included my processing of black and white images. Sepia, selenium, warm, cool, fancy actions, you name it I applied it to my images. It was inconsistent and it caused me much frustration when it came to editing images! 
 
I was determined then to pick a style and stick to it. I spent several weeks playing with filters and actions and eventually stumbled onto a style that worked for me. I realized that just decreasing the saturation on an image wasn't enough for my style. I love warm images and the intimacy that creates between the image and the viewer. So naturally my black and white images had to have that element of warmth in them.  
 
Using Totally Rad Actions I custom created an action that I apply to all my black and white images, giving the images a small added boost of warmth. To really see how this treatment changes the image, I've shared an image that I originally converted to black and white for Pat and Liz's wedding. Here is the original image in color:0001_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPGAnd here is the image with decreased saturation at 100%. It's a little bit too cool for me so I applied my custom action.0002_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPGHere is my treatment of the black and white image. 10% selenium and 10% sepia makes for the perfect amount of warmth without taking away from the image!0003_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPGHere are a few more examples of images converted from color to black and white. This is from Debs and Alex's vineyard ceremony last year.0004_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPGFor me a black and white image should have a range of tonalities through out the image. I don't want my shadows to be too dark and my highlights to always be blown out, but I also want the image to maintain a bit of contrast within the photo. I've worked hard to find the balance between those three things and have tried to train my eye to watch for them as I edit. When I first edited my images they were dark and heavy and overly processed. I've learned to lean less on Photoshop and today try to edit my images as little as possible keeping the image true to the capture.0005_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding1.JPGThe lovely Stacey from our styled shoot at Elm Bank in color and black and white.0006_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding1.JPGSam and Diana share a kiss on their wedding day. I can't decide which one I like better!0007_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPG0008_deborah zoe photography boston wedding photographer boston new hampshire farm wedding.JPGLike with anything, consistency is key. Find a style that works for you and then repeat it over and over and over again. It took a few tries but eventually I found my style of editing black and white images and have never looked back. I love that all my images have a cohesive feel and that I have a consistent system for treating those images. If you have any questions about how I edit my black and white images, leave a comment below!

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by Deborah Parker