If you want to learn more about black and white engagement photos, then you’re in the right place.

Most people are drawn into black and white photography because of the timeless allure of them. When a photo is in black and white, it honestly could have been taken at any point in time. But there’s so much more to it than that!

As a photographer in NYC with an honest and editorial style, I’ve taken many black and white photos throughout my career, especially when it comes to engagement photos. In this article, I’ve put together all of my own advice and knowledge when it comes to them!

Keep reading to learn about the magnetic charm of black and white engagement photos, including why photographers love them and what to wear.

Black and White Engagement Photos: Why I Love Them

Showcases emotion

Black and white photo of a woman leaning back into her partner as he rests his head on hers.

Sure, regular color photos showcase emotion, too, but black and white images do it in a particular way. They showcase emotion in the rawest form. When color is taken out of a photo, we as humans are drawn more into the subjects themselves, allowing us to look closely at their faces and see exactly what they are feeling.

Black and white photos show an outstanding balance of light and shadow, which can show every piece of laughter, every tender glance, and every loving touch in a way that’s raw and intimate. 

Portrays a specific aesthetic

A couple walking across a city street holding hand while one looks back over her shoulder.

Black and white engagement photos can also help to portray a specific aesthetic. Sometimes, the vibe you want to go for with your engagement photos is something a little more classic, and that aesthetic can easily be reached with photos edited in a black and white style.

Creates timelessness

A couple standing on the windowsill of a small restaurant with a velvet couch beneath them.

This was talked about briefly in the introduction of the blog post, but black and white photos really help to create a sense of timelessness. There’s something about them that feels eternal because they never look outdated.

One of the things that black and white engagement photos do very well is they break through the evolving trends and shifts in colors and styles over the years. This gives them a very universal and classic appeal that never dates.

Endless creativity

A martini with a stick in it and an engagement ring hanging out of it.

As a photographer, taking black and white photos also creates so much endless creativity. It allows me to play with lighting, composition, and form. Plus, there’s such a focus on contrast and texture that isn’t often seen in many color photos.

The possibilities are really endless when it comes to taking photos in black and white. One of the reasons I’m a photographer is because I love to be creative, and I really get to play a lot with black and white photos.

Focus on personality

Black and white image of a man lifting up a woman as they kiss on the beach.

Lastly, black and white photos, especially for engagement, have a knack for bringing out personality in a way that color photos sometimes can’t. They’re completely stripped of distraction, allowing anyone looking at the picture to really focus on the body language and expression on the couples’ faces.

The couples I capture always have such fun personalities, and I absolutely love helping them come out of their shells in the photos. The images that I edit in black and white always end up showcasing so much of their personalities.

What to Wear for Black and White Engagement Photos

Now that you know what makes black and white photos so great, here are some tips on what to wear if you know you’ll be receiving some from your engagement shoot.

Opt for timeless styles

Black and white engagement photo of a couple holding hands and walking in a small restaurant.

Because the style of black and white imagery is timeless, you can evoke that feeling even more by wearing styles that are also timeless. If you opt to wear clothing that couldn’t connect you to the date, then 50 years from now, your photo will seriously be timeless.

This could mean avoiding any popular trends with clothing, shoes, or even hairstyles. Opt for versatile classic clothing instead. If you need any advice when it comes to picking a timeless outfit, do a quick search on Pinterest for some fun inspiration. 

Consider contrast

A woman standing behind a man with her arms wrapped around his chest.

Black and white photos really have a balance of black and white, so try to consider the contrast in your outfit. Sure, you could wear an outfit that’s all dark or all light but try to think about what the outfit will look like when it’s desaturated and loses all color.

In addition to your own outfit, you can also consider the contrast between you and your partner. For instance, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense for you to each be in the same shade (i.e., both all dark clothing or all light). One of you could be in a darker outfit than the other to create a juxtaposition in the images.

Avoid busy patterns

Black and white photo of a couple standing in front of a brick wall with an arched window and their dog is sitting at their feet.

This one is probably a given because it’s the same with all photography, but avoid busy patterns. Usually, I am pro patterns because it is a great way to add a personal touch to your photos. 

However, when it comes to black and white photos, it can tend to make the photo a bit too busy. They can look good in color photos, but if you are looking for a timeless look for your engagement photos, stay away from patterns. 

Simplistic clothing is the way to go because it helps to allow the emotions and expressions of you and your partner to take center stage, creating a stronger emotional impact. Otherwise, the focus may be more on your outfit than on you and your loved one!

Accessorize intentionally

A light shining down on two people's feel with dress shoes and heels on.

I love a good accessory as much as the next person, but make sure you take the time to accessorize intentionally for engagement photos, especially when you know you’ll get some edited in black and white.

Accessories can enhance your overall look, add unique touches of individuality, and provide an extra aspect of storytelling to your photos. Try to consider the theme and setting of your photoshoot, and pick accessories that complement rather than overwhelm the aesthetic that you’re going for.

Remember, too, that you should avoid overly bold and flashy accessories that can draw attention away from you and your partner and the connection you share with one another. The goal here is to enhance, not overshadow!

Incorporate personal items

A drink in a tall glass sitting on a windowsill with an engagement ring next to it.

Lastly, try to incorporate some personal items. This can add a real, meaningful, and intimate touch to the photos. Personal items could be an accessory you really love or even a prop that means a lot to you and your partner. (And obviously, don’t forget the ring!)

Any personal items of yours and your partner can help to showcase a milestone or important memory that you both have from your relationship.

Engagement Photo Tips

When you know that you want to get your engagement photos taken, be sure to follow these tips.

Choose a photographer whose style you love

A couple walking up a grassy path while one of them looks back with a glass of champagne in his hands.

Not all photographers will edit photos in black and white. A good majority will do a mix of color and black and white (like myself), but many will edit solely in only color. Be sure to look deeply through a photographer’s portfolio before choosing to go with them so you can rest assured that they edit in a style that you love most.

Pick a meaningful location

A couple and their dog sitting in a corner table at a small cafe talking.

This is one of the easiest tips to follow, but be sure to select locations that are significant to your relationship. This provides a more personal and sentimental backdrop to your engagement photos, and you’ll be a lot more comfortable in your surroundings!

Some ideas include considering places where you first met, a location you both love visiting together or even your favorite date spot. Have some fun with it!

Relax and be yourselves

Black and white photo of a woman sitting on a bar with her arm on her partner's shoulder who is standing next to her.

The most important tip I have is to relax and be yourself. Authenticity is key to capturing the true essence of your relationship. Emotion can’t be faked or even “edited in” by a photographer, so if you’re uncomfortable, unfortunately, it will easily show in the photos.

Be relaxed and natural to result in more genuine, candid, and intimate photos. You could even spend some time together relaxing before the photoshoot and communicate openly with your photographer about your preferences and concerns that you may have.

I know it can sometimes be hard if you are not used to being in front of a camera, however, I love helping people feel more comfortable during their session. 

I will give you easy-to-follow directional prompts to help you loosen up and feel more relaxed. It honestly starts to feel more like a hangout with a friend most of the time! 

Final Thoughts: Engagement Photos in Black and White

Now you know all about the beauty of black and white engagement photos! This classic style of photos has a special way of showcasing the real, raw love and connection between two people.

If you’re still looking for a photographer to capture your own wedding and engagement, I’d love to help. Click here to get in touch or here to learn more about my packages. I specialize in co-creating photos to ensure that your real love and personality is being seen in every snap.

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Black and White Engagement Photos: The Ultimate Guide

Black and white engagement photo of a drink glass on a windowsill with an engagement ring sitting next to it.

October 13, 2023

I’m an NYC photographer who is more than a little obsessed with documenting your looking-good-feeling-even-better moments.

I’m Francesca!