Millington 544a

Black and White Wedding Photography with Paul Massey

“Rich skin tones and deep blacks, great for portrait work”

I feel that black and white is particularly strong for wedding photography. It has a timeless element to it and for me will never go out of fashion. It is a real strength of mine as a photographer and I have always enjoyed working in black and white. In fact my first job in the photography industry was nearly 30 years ago in a black and white darkroom in East London. It was here that I developed my love for photography and in particular black and white work. I would process films for some of the biggest fashion photographers in the world such as Albert Watson and Nick Knight.

I know immediately with some images I shoot that they will work in black and white and there are two styles of processing my work that I really like.

If I am shooting in low light situation such as a church during the ceremony I will make these images very contrasty and grainy. These images do not have a lot of mid tone and the grainy nature of them gives a real documentary feel to the images. I also like this look when I am shooting the first dance or my signature shot of the boys smoking cigars.

The other style I love has really rich skin tones and deep blacks, great for portrait work. When I find an area that has gorgeous light coming through it I know that it is here I will be able to produce stunning portraits for my clients. When this is the case I will position my subjects in the light and just study how the light falls on them. I asses my best position and the best position for them so that I can shoot incredible work for them. These are the portraits that really stand out and for me I feel this is some of the best work I produce.

When looking at a photographer’s work really take a good look at the quality of the black and white work. Is there a full range of tones? Is there pure white and deep black in every image? If the blacks are not deep, rich images can look flat and muddy and have poor impact. This can tell you a lot about a photographers experience and technical knowledge.


Leave a Reply