Mixing B&W and Color Photographs in a Layout

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Article Courtesy Scrapjazz.com: by Denise Gormish

Both black-and-white and color photographs have advantages and disadvantages. The article "Black and White vs. Color Photography" discusses the pros and cons of each style. Layouts can be improved by using your photograph in the more appropriate style of either color or black-and-white. Even if the photographs look better in one style than the other, sometimes using both  formats in one layout can create a unique combination. 

Contrast Old and New. One fun example of combining black-and-white and color photographs in one layout is to use them as a way to compare something old and something new. The comparison can show the changes or just a lapse in time. In my layout "Chicago Again," I used a color photograph to given a modern feel and black-and-white photographs to give a more vintage feel.


Contrast the Mood. A black-and-white photograph is serious and timeless with the focus on the subject, shadows and composition. A color photograph is more energetic with a range of colors and nuances. Contrast the mood with photographs of each style.

Highlight a Portrait. Highlight one photograph by making it larger. Since black-and-white looks best for a portrait, consider having a large black-and-white portrait and then use smaller color photographs.

Contrast with Size. An effective technique for using black-and-white and color photographs on the same page is to contrast their sizes. Simply make one of the styles large and the other style small. Not only will the contrast in style provide interest, but the contrast in sizes will add to the effect. In my layout "Explore and Discover," I used a large black-and-white photograph and contrasted it with four small color photographs.


Use Black-and-White to Add Interest. Add a black-and-white photograph to a layout that is otherwise dominated by color photographs. Black-and-white photographs are used less often so the addition of a black-and-white photograph to a layout will add interest.

Add an interesting look to your layout by using both black-and-white and color photographs in the same layout.

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