Photos of the Week

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for July 3 

July 3, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

What’s not inside an image is often just as important as what is. When capturing the emotions of a wedding day, removing the color and eliminating any distracting background elements is often key to preserving the passion of the day in a still photograph. This week, we highlight five emotional black and white wedding images from Susana Rios, Sachin Khona, Samantha Madden, Mariana and Mads, and Jacqueline James. 

Susana Rios

© Susana Rios

In this candid black and white by Susana Rios, the grandfather looks at his granddaughter as she walks down the aisle. Rios said that she was searching for a moment between the bride and her grandfather because they have such a strong bond, and she wanted it to be part of her visual legacy. She took the image with the Sony a7 III with the Sigma Art 85mm lens. 

“The hardest part is finding the real emotion in the raw way,” Rios said of capturing emotional black and white images. 

Sachin Khona, Sachin Khona Photographer

© Sachin Khona

While the bride’s dog couldn’t be part of the ceremony, the pooch was an integral part of the getting ready process, often in the bride’s arms or watching from the couch. When the dog ended up relaxing on the bride’s dress, photographer Sachin Khona captured the moment in a touching black and white image. He took the shot as it unfolded using the Nikon D750 and a 35mm f1.8 lens, without trying to adjust or interrupt the scene. 

“Whenever capturing emotion, it’s important to respect the moment and not disturb it in any way with your presence as a photographer,” he said. “Being subtle and discreet is key. I believe if you can capture an emotional image in dramatic lighting, that can make a black and white image really sing, but the emotions of an image will always be a defining factor.” 

Samantha Madden, Mad House Weddings

© Samantha Madden

One of photographer Samantha Madden’s favorite wedding shots is to capture intimate close-ups that focus on the couple, rather than the grandeur of the venue. Besides the intimacy of the resulting image, this also gives the couple a few moments to relax from the chaos of their big day, she said. Madden, of Mad House Weddings, captured this shot with the Sony a7 iii and the Sony Zeiss 35mm lens. 

“I think to capture emotion you need to be close to your subject; though far enough that you’re not interrupting their moment either,” she said. “The challenge is finding that happy medium. I feel emotive black and white images are better close to the subject as  to remove any distractions from surrounding elements (trees, building etc). The next challenge is finding light that won’t blow out your whites or completely black out your shadows. It’s finding subtle light that enhances the captured emotion.” 

Mariana and Mads, Fox Visual Collectors

© Mariana and Mads

In this black and white image by Mariana and Mads of Fox Visual Collectors, harsh sunlight turns an ordinary wall into a tool to draw the eye directly to the bride. Taken in Seoul, South Korea, the photographer duo was inspired by the light and shadows coming through a narrow alleyway, capturing the shot with the Fujifilm XH1 and the Fujinon 16-80mm f4 lens. 

“As wedding and portrait photographers, we are observant people and we thrive on the unexpected, the unconventional,” they said. “We saw a seemingly ordinary white wall as our canvas — a blank slate ready to be transformed into a captivating backdrop that would make our bride stand out of the environment.” 

Jacqueline James, Jacqueline James Photography

© Jacqueline James

Inspired by the long and dramatic aisle at the venue, Jacqueline James of Jacqueline James Photography knew she wanted to capture the emotional build up to the bride’s walk down the aisle. The emotional black and white image is full of anticipation as the guests look back at the bride making her way to the aisle. She captured the shot with the Nikon D780 and a Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens. 

“The biggest challenge of capturing emotional black and white photographs is getting the composition right and being able to anticipate a moment and that composition before it happens,” she said. “On every wedding day, and especially this ceremony, the natural light changes so quickly from step to step, and I really wanted to ensure I was able to capture them where the natural light was most flattering and where you can still see the guests looking back at them. Getting the timing right is so important in telling that emotional moment to the story.” 

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to: