Why You Should Never Wear Black In A Photograph

Why You Should Never Wear Black In A Photograph

    By Lucy Morris Posted on 6 Jun 2018

    Black clothes are a safety blanket, a cloak of darkness that’s wrapped in shadows. What black isn’t is flattering, at least in photographs.

    Mary-Kate and Ashley may live in it and Johnny Cash may have loved it, but we’re sorry to say black is one of the worst possible colours to wear in pictures. Photographer Marco Vittur told Grazia, ‘I always advise people before a sitting to avoid wearing white and black if possible, as colours and large patterns show more personality and a pinch of courage. But, more than that…black and blocks of dark colour can photograph quite flat.’

    He’s right, black is the darkest colour and by its very nature, it completely absorbs light. Unlike white, which reflects it, black draws in light, which is why the shade photographs flat. Most cameras struggle to understand such a dark surface and are mislead into thinking that the lighting conditions are insufficient. In turn, the camera overcompensates by opening the aperture or extending the shutter speed to let in more light, which distorts the picture by making the object appear grey.

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    In other words, colour and pattern will show how fabric folds and drapes to highlight your figure, while black won’t show any definition. Sara Maggioni who works at trend-spotting agency WGSN as Director of Retail & Buying. reasons that while black remains the top colour across shopping categories, it’s matched by print and bold shades like pink because of Instagram. Maggioni rationalised that ‘the customer is definitely embracing pattern and bold colours a lot more than in the past’ and this could be because since the dawn on smartphones and social media people are being photographed more and are increasingly conscious of how they look in pictures.

    If you know you’re about to be photographed, say for a #selfie or at an event like a wedding, avoid black as it will block out the light and won’t show any shadows.

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