Top tips for black and white portrait photography

woman, face, portraitTaking portrait shots in black and white can add a certain mood and quality to your photograph, truly bringing out the emotions of the subject with no colors to distract. However, not everyone can take powerful B&W portraits; here are a few tips to help you out:

1. Go for a wide angle lens, because these have the widest apertures and give better quality results. The wide aperture gives you a shallower depth of field ideal for portraits, and a telephoto lens, whether short or long, will give you the perfect angle and perspective when shooting subjects at close range.

2. Camera settings are more of a trial and error thing and usually change with the setting, but usually, it is recommended to open up your aperture as wide as possible, keep a fast shutter speed, and ISO at about 200-400.

3. Lighting and setup would also depend on the kind of look you want to achieve. For a moodier look, light the subject from the side and create shadows and contrast. For a happier look or fashion shoots, the subject should be brightly but softly lit from the front.

4. Find the magic in the eyes, as they are the most expressive part of the face. They will direct you to what the portrait should say, and concentrating on them will make your B&W photos more powerful.

5. Be interactive to help get a natural pose from the model. Stiff and forced poses can kill a photograph. Talk to your model, ask them questions to bring that look in their eyes- help them loosen up and make them laugh.

While the success of a portrait depends a lot on your model, good photography can extract a great shot from any situation. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to shoot powerful B&W portraits in no time.

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