Scrapbooking with Black and White Photos

With all the available tools and products for digital scrapbookers, why would anyone want to scrap with black and white photos? Aren’t photos the heart of memory keeping? For many people, it is. But even if it is the case, black and white photos can be a special touch to that story or they can be used for other reasons. Let’s look at scrapbooking in black and white.


The old times

If you have a shoebox full of photos, chances are that you have some black and white photos. Would you ignore those stories only because of lack of color? Of course not. The black and white of those photos are already telling a story even before you look at the details: it is a sign of time (usually). We all know that color photography came after black and white, and at one point, it was reserved for wealthier photographers. Most photos i have of myself, as a child were colored, but when i grab a black and white photo, i know it is a story older than me, and in itself, it adds some value to the photo. Don’t hesitate to use your black and white photos too. They have a lot to tell.

Fix some errors

Depending on the technology used at the time a photo was taken, the quality of the print and its ability to retain colors varied. You might have photos that were damaged by the light because they had been displayed on a shelf for years. Or maybe you just took a bad photo with bad colors. So it is possible that you ended up with discolored photos, or photos taken with incorrect colors right from the start. That is when you can convert your photo to a black and white photo (or greyscale) and hide those hideous hues!


ScrapbookingWithBlackAndWhitePhoto-ColorFocusFocus on something

Another reason to use black and white photo might be to be able to add a splash of color. You can turn a colored photo into a black and white, and leave one section in its original color for a fantastic effect, or you can turn an already black and white photo and add some colors yourself.


Just in the background

Maybe you have a story to tell, and the photo is only a decorative addition to the page. You want to focus on the story, and not the photo itself. That is when a black and white image will keep a visual representation, without overpowering the journaling that you consider to be the star of the page. You may want to use the photo as an actual background to write the story on, or you might add the photo a little like a memorabilia on the project, adding a subtle reminder of the story.

Do you want to see how to add a touch of color to the black and white photo? Check out this video on Colored Focus. And if you want to add colors to an already black and white (or sepia) photo, you will find great tips in the Color your World Master Class.

Do you use black and white photos in layouts? If so, why do you use them? Are you trying to convey a particular mood? Using what you have? Or hide something? Share your thought on scrapbooking with black and white photos.

For Photos That Matter

1 thought on “Scrapbooking with Black and White Photos”

  1. My brother was watching an old black and white movie, and then saw the same film colorized and one thing that bothered him was that they changed the complexion of the lead actress so she looked an unnatural brown in the colorized version. There was no good reason to do this, by the way, other than some misguided notion of making her look more ethnic, but I’ve noticed this in photos as well: someone thinks that more red in the cheeks, for example, would improve a photo and then sometimes the poor subject looks like they had clown makeup applied. I think a little colorization with a light touch almost always is better than trying to be too bold (but it depends on the project, of course–“Schindler’s List” used the bright red of a child’s coat to powerful effect in a mostly black and white film). I’m a big fan of film noir, so I love the idea of using black and white photos for certain projects. Sometimes when you have complex shadowing, it shows up much better in a black and white photo than it does in color. Anyway, great tips. Thank you!

Leave a Comment