What is about black & white film/filters that makes people (or people’s skin) look better?


If you’re on social media, you may very well be aware of people using black and white filters to mask bad, red, irritated skin. Sometimes with a caption like, “B&W filter because my skin is having one of those days” or similar. (I’ve done so myself, too, admittedly.)

Also, in film noir, people tend to look “better” (for lack of a better word”. Why is that?

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It can emphasize the texture of a subject’s skin or clothing. This can make skin appear smoother, and can also create more depth and detail in the image.


A red or reddish filter will make red things look lighter in BW images because it blocks the other colors of light. Hence red spots look bleached out.

Infrared light tends to pass through melanin, so skin looks lighter and freckles fade with infrared filters. Although the effect tends to look a bit surreal