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All About B&W: Best Frames For Black And White Photos

Black and white photos have always had a certain classic appeal. They are sophisticated and bold, yet simple enough to complement various color palettes and look great in a variety of home designs and styles.

You truly don’t lose that straightforward aspect when you take it up a notch and display your black and white photos in a custom picture frame. In fact, with a custom picture frame, you can make your black and white photo stand out against your interior design, as well as complement the space and give the room a feeling of completeness.

Are you considering displaying a black and white photo in your home? We’re sharing our favorite frame styles to make black and white photos a staple anywhere you choose to hang them.

What Is A Black And White Photo?

Before we get into framing and styling your black and white photos, we should first talk about what exactly a black-and-white photo is. You may think it is as simple as putting a filter on a photo and printing it, but it’s not always that easy! When it comes to making a photo black and white, some colors may blend into each other, so your photo may turn dull and lifeless. A black and white photo is one that uses different tones of gray — from black to white — to create a captivating photo. Some cameras and cellphones allow you to take a photo directly in black and white, that way you won’t have to use a photo editing app afterward, but in order to make sure that the photo is well-defined, you must first learn about how each color reacts differently with a black and white filter. For example, a red filter will increase contrast while a blue filter will decrease contrast and make your photo extremely dark and dreary looking.

A black and white filter is great to add to a photo that you want to eliminate color and distraction from, to draw in the focus to other aspects such as texture, shapes, or just the subject of the photo. If you have taken a photo in color and later want to change it to black and white, there are many photo editing apps that offer this feature, but just be sure to play around with it so that you can get the best result for each photo since it’s not always a one size fits all feature.

So what type of photos look best in a black and white filter?

  • Portraits
  • Landscape
  • Architecture
  • Line Art

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into some inspo walls featuring black and white photos to hopefully influence your next picture framing project, and later we will share some of our favorite frame styles to complement your black and white photos.

Wheat Wood

large wheat wood frames

Our Derby style frame in Wheat is one of our favorite frame styles to display black and white photos in. It’s a natural and subtle tone that provides a contrast to your black and white photo, while also meshing seamlessly into your home decor and color scheme.

Black and white photos displayed in Wheat colored wood fit a variety of design styles. From modern design to rustic and farmhouse, you truly can’t go wrong with our Derby frame in Wheat. (P.S. Check out our post in our Learning Center if you need some more information on interior design styles!)

In addition, we particularly suggest you consider our Wheat colored wood frame for your black and white photos if you already have wooden accessories and furniture within the space. Your frame will make a beautiful display regardless, but the continuity of wooden pieces will make the room feel even more complete.

gallery wall of wood frames
Gallery wall of black and white photos
black and white photos in wheat frames

Gold Metal

large gold frame

Here at Frame It Easy, we offer two frames styles for gold metal (Hanover and Ashford). Additionally, you can choose from shiny gold metal or satin gold metal! Any combination of these options to create your gold metal frame display is perfect to show off your black and white photo.

Gold metal allows you to add a pop of color and/or shine to your black and white photo. We love these frames for your photos because they are simple and subtle, but don’t let your display fade away from being too subtle. Gold metal frames will give your black and white photos the bold and grand display that they deserve.

In addition, the color gold works extremely well in rooms of neutral color palettes. Gold metal frames make the perfect accessory, adding a taste of color to your simple and calming color palette.

gallery wall of gold frames
shelf decor
kitchen counter gold frame
large gold frames

Black

framed line art

Of course, black picture frames are probably the most popular to display your black and white photos. And there’s nothing wrong with going with a classic black frame style! Here at Frame It Easy, we have several frame styles available in black. It’s up to you to choose from a wood or metal, and either a round or flat black frame.

You probably wouldn’t think that black frames provide a direct contrast to the B&W photo like wheat or gold frames do. However, black and white photos are typically not completely black — they often include a shade of gray. That said, the black frame style will provide the simple but bold contrast to your photo that you’re looking for!

Additionally, your B&W photo in a black frame style will match nearly any space. They’re perfect for rustic and worn in interiors, sleek and modern designs, you name it! If you’re unsure of where exactly you’ll be putting your display, definitely consider a versatile black frame style as one of your top choices.

small simple black frame
3 frames for wall
large gallery wall for small black and white photos
old photos
black frames for gallery wall

White

simple frames

On the flip side, of course, white picture frames are another great choice for your black and white photographs. Unsurprisingly, they seamlessly mesh with the photograph and are perfect for simple interior designs that don’t need a dramatic wall piece.

Frame It Easy offers four frame styles in a classic white. You can choose from two white wooden style and two white metal styles. For more information and tips for choosing your white picture frame, check out our post!

If you’re looking for a light and airy feel with your B&W photo and display, consider a white picture frame style. Like your black and white photo, white picture frames are simple and straightforward and will nicely highlight the features of your photo without too much drama.

office gallery wall for small black and white photos
gallery wall
small white frame for black and white photo
white frames
Kaycie Chiampi @greybirchdesigns 6.jpeg

We talked about how black and white photos create a clean, organized look, but that doesn’t mean your frames need to be organized! Asymmetrical gallery walls are all the rage these days because they add more visual interest. Creating an asymmetrical gallery wall gives you tons of creative freedom to get frames of different sizes and orientations, while still having things look put together. They would be perfect for your stairwell, just like the photo featured above, or in your dining room for the ultimate display.

Learn how to create the perfect gallery wall with your black and white photos!

Large Matboard

Elizabeth Serpas @lizzyandfamily 001

There is something so aesthetically pleasing about large matboards surrounding photos. There are many reasons someone may choose to add a large matboard around their photo such as: the photo is too small, to fill up more wall space, to fit a certain size frame, or just to give all your photos that cohesive look. A matboard has two main purposes. 1. To add a decorative touch around your photo, accentuate your artwork, and give it a more sleek and finished look, and 2. To help preserve your photo by creating a barrier between your artwork and the cover. Adding a large matboard to your gallery wall will keep things proportionate and can help separate your photos or art from one another and the other decor in your room.

Our Favorite Frame Styles For Black and White Photos

Now that you’ve chosen the color of your frame, let’s get into some of our favorite frame styles that will give your black and white photos the grand display that they deserve.

Ashford Frame Style

Gregoria Valenzuela @blessed.in .light 002

Our Ashford frame style is a thin metal frame style, with a flat profile face that is ⅜” wide.  It comes in eight colors, satin black, silver, and gold, gloss black, silver, and gold, white and hot pink, so you have plenty to choose from. We love this frame style because it won’t be too distracting and take away from your art or photo, but will simply add to your piece and create a classy and stylish display.

Derby Frame Style

3 Chelsee Hood @chelseehood 001

Our Derby frame style is our most popular wood frame style, with a flat profile face that is 1 ¼” wide. It comes in nine colors, black, black grain, merlot, coffee, rustic gray, wheat, hazel, russet, and white. This wood frame is thicker than our Ashford frame style, but still won’t overpower your photos. Our Derby frame style would be great to display your portrait photos in, just like the photo featured above.

Granby Frame Style

Jessica Jansen @farmonhogbacklane 007

If you’re looking for an elegant way to style your frames, look no further! Our Granby frame style is our ornate wood frame style, with a flat profile face that is 1 ⅜” wide. It comes in two colors, silver and gold, and is a sure way to give your photos or art a royal display. If you have an old painting or piece of art, adding our Granby frame in gold will make it feel like you are looking at this piece in a museum.

We Love Black and White Photos!

Whether you’re looking to add contrast, a bit of color, or just nicely complement your black and white photograph, we’re sure you’ll be able to find your perfect frame style here at Frame It Easy.

We’ve simply outlined a few of the most common frame styles to use for your black and white photos, but feel free to choose from the various other frame styles that are available. After all, it’s your space and your photograph. Create your display how you’d like it!

Lastly, we hope you feel confident about creating your black and white photo display. Next, want to make a multi-frame B&W display? Check out our post on top gallery wall arrangements and themes for your next project!

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Ready to get creative?

Whether you have a piece of art ready to frame, or you have something for us to print, we've got you covered. Our online custom picture framing perfectly fits not only your art, but your style and budget, too! Use our custom frame designer to create a frame, or browse our suggested frame designs. Happy designing!