Black and White Portraiture

girl, shadows, faceThere are numerous advantages of black and white imagery over its colored counterparts. The images look ageless; it makes your subject’s skin look beautiful, and the images bestow you with a satisfied feeling that is rare with colored photography. However, creating a portrait that resonates with the viewer – and you – is not a game. It is not impossible, either. Here are some tips to help you capture images that stay with a viewer for a long time:

Shoot Color

When you convert a colored photograph into a black and white one, the software you use will have more options to choose from. By more options, we mean more intermediate tones that lie between pure white and pure black.

Photographer, Know Thy Mind

Before starting, have an inner monologue. We kid you not! Knowing exactly the outcome that you want to achieve will make for far better results than a muddled brain. Are you looking for passion or drama? Do you want the subject to pose or behave naturally? Does the environment matter? Not good at one-sided conversations? The Bard can help!

Deadly Duo

The two things that you need to focus on when setting up for a portrait are:
Eyes

Eyes being the windows to our soul reflect the mood that you are aiming for much better than the rest of the body. Whether planning a sad or dark and mysterious mood, aim for the eyes and you cannot go wrong. The eyes set the mood; you just have to listen to the story they are telling.
Light

You need to place your subject in a way that their face is brightly lit while the light falloff at the back of the head happens abruptly.

Keeping It Simple

The simplest way to post process your image is:
Start by adjusting the exposure
Then convert the color image to black and white
Next is deepening the blacks – or shadows – by a tone curve
Retouching any blemishes comes after that
Dodge and burn to make it pop
We hope these steps help you with portraits that you take. Leave a note to tell us how they turn out!

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