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Beautiful Black and White Photography

Updated: Sep 24, 2018

The moment you view a black and white image you will focus on the finer details, your eye will be drawn to the contrast on the photograph and in a portrait - you feel like you are looking into the heart and mind of the subject. Black and White, or in other words monochrome image, can truly be captivating and elegant. The light, as in any photograph, plays a major part but in black and white it truly produces and creates the image. The shadows, soft or hard, and the direction of the light changes the story the photograph tells to the viewer.

It takes years to master black and white photography and understanding the complexity, but if you have the passion - you will have the determination.

One of my absolute favourite black and white photographs, I've taken, is shown below.

I wanted to create a matte black and white image which would tell the story of a child and the big world around him. I wanted to have intimacy and innocence and show the exploring nature of a child.

This photograph is called “Learning about Light” and it features my son and Jean-Michel Bert's stunning book "Light of New York".

Marianne Haggstrom Photography - Child Portrait - "Learning about Light" - Jean-Michel Berts "Light of New York" - SW11 Battersea London
Marianne Haggstrom Photography - Child Portrait - "Learning about Light" - featured Jean-Michel Berts "Light of New York"

Following this I wanted to capture my daughter in the same way to create some wall art. Luckily we had another photography book by the amazing Jean-Michel Berts "The Light of London" which I was able to use in her photo. Both of "Light of New York" and "Light of London" are captivating city landscape and architecture books of some our most beautiful cities and Jean-Michel Berts' black and white photographs are truly inspirational. Have a look at his beautiful city collection at

My plan was to create some wall art out of these two images and I decided to develop them in 20" x 13" velvet finish, courtesy of Loxley Colour.

Marianne Haggstrom Photography - Ava & Jean-Michel Berts "The Light of London"  - Matte edit - Child portrait - SW11 Battersea London
Ava & Jean-Michel Berts "The Light of London" - Matte edit - Child portrait

Marianne Haggstrom Photography B&W Portrait in Velvet Finish by Loxley Colour 20 " x 13"
B&W Portrait in Velvet Finish by Loxley Colour 20 " x 13"

I've taken all of the photos, featured in the blog, in colour and in post-processing converted them into black and white. The editing style is with a matte effect which is a new passion of mine. It can be achieved easily in either Lightroom or Photoshop by using the Point Curve functionality.

I think the matte editing works beautifully both in darker and lighter images. It's stylish, clean and it evokes more emotions. Below are some sibling portraits - both with darker moodier style and then in very light airy edit but both in the similar matte finish. The light airy photos can be transformed into amazing canvas art.

Marianne Haggstrom Photography - Deep in Though Sibling portrait - matte edit - Child portraits - SW11 Battersea London
"Deep in Thought" sibling portrait - matte edit

Some say black and white photographs are old-fashioned - I say, and many agree, B&W photographs are timeless. Sometimes black and white images speaks to me more than colour photographs as by removing colour from a photo it leaves room for stronger emotions, it creates more dramatic view of a simple things.

By removing colour, the photograph will have a unique and emphasised focus points, enhanced textures and contrasts and lets the viewer pay attention to simple and little details. Also you focus on the subject, the person in the photo - their face, expression, interaction and what may they be thinking, how are they feeling.

Below you will find two completely different parent and child portraits, which will deliver two completely different sentiments when viewed.

Final focus in this blog is about beautiful black and white newborn photography. I love converting newborn photos into monochromic photos. Viewer's eye will focus on the tiny details of the baby. You will look more deeply at the innocence of the child, their little features, little creases, how their toes curl and so on. B&W newborn photos are very pure and delicate. In newborn images I prefer using light and white tones, create soft shadows and slightly overexpose the image and then edit it in a very clean way.

“When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. When you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.” - Ted Grant

Next time you view a black and white image admire the complexity the image delivers and the range of tones someone has managed to capture and create. Life doesn't always need colour to be beautiful.

Have a lovely weekend, my dear dreamers! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!


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