Using Black & White Photos in Advertising

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about color. Elaborate color schemes, increasingly saturated photos, and moody color boards inhabit Instagram. It's rare to come across a black and white photo these days on social media, but they always pop out when I see one. I thought about why that is for a little bit and concluded that black and white could reveal an important aspect of a photo that’s not necessarily visible with color. The silhouette of a car, a prominent logo, the texture of a coat, and even a portrait's emotions can be revealed in a new way when complemented with raw black and white format. Black and White photos can be looked at the same way in advertising. When a brand uses a black and white photo to sell a product, it shows confidence. It’s hard not to use color because it’s become the norm in today’s world.

When it comes to choosing whether to run an ad in black and white or color, brands have to consider the ad's product or message. Apple is a great example of effective black and white ads. The product is simple: an iPhone or a MacBook. So why does black and white work with these products? It’s because the consumer can focus on the product's basic look and function without getting distracted by different colors. Black and white outline the product in a simple way, so the image of the product, like an iPhone, sticks in the consumer's head.

Fashion brands do a great job of showing the strengths of a black and white ad. Saint Laurent is known for having simplistic black and white photos for their campaign. When looking at one of their ads, the clothing's intricate design stands out due to the black and white contrast of the photo. If these campaigns were in color, the image of the brand wouldn’t be the same.

It’s important to know that black and white advertisements aren’t always effective, but it can change the ad's effectiveness enormously when done right.