High Contrast Black And White Portrait Photography


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If you have trouble imagining how an image may look in black and white, try setting your camera to a monochrome setting. While it isn’t recommended to do this for a final image, as long as you shoot in RAW file format, then all of your image’s color data will still be present in the file, and Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw will reset the photo back to color once it’s imported. Doing this will allow you to have an idea of how an image will work in black and white, while still providing the highest amount of versatility in post-production.

Thank you to all the photographers that shared their best high contrast B&W shots in this photo contest with chances to win your prize choice. A special thanks to friend and professional photographer Kevin Mullins for his collaboration as a guest judge. Kevin is a multi-award winning wedding photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Wiltshire, England. He shoots wedding in a “pure” documentary style meaning he doesn’t intervene, or contrive any image throughout the day. As well as shooting weddings, Kevin is a recognized speaker in the field of wedding photography and the business of wedding photography.

If you’re going to create high contrast black and white photos, the best advice is to add it with light, not in Photoshop. Small global adjustments are okay and won’t hurt your images, but definitely do not crank the contrast slider to 100. Try to limit it between +15/-15. For local adjustments, use a dodging and burning technique of your choice. The key point in this, and all post-production, is subtlety.

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Portrait photography is a genre where black and white images can really shine. Like any technique, there are considerations that you should regard that can help to make sure your images have the most impact.

Certain subjects scream out to be shot in black and white. Other subjects may not be so obvious. Bright, punchy colors obviously make for vivid color photos, but by removing the color element you can completely change how a subject or scene is perceived. When you want to ensure your viewer is focused on a particular element, color as a graphic element, can become a distraction. Try removing it.

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When it comes to lighting a black and white portrait image, there are no hard and fast rules. If you like high contrast images with hard gradations in tone, then choose a harder source of light. If you like soft tones and subtler images, then you want a softer light source.

If you’re new to black and white photography, do remember that these are guides and not rules. If you need to stray from them to get the result you’re after, do so without hesitation.

For many photographers, black and white is more than a creative choice at the post-production stage; it’s a mindset. If you can start the creation of an image knowing that you intend it to be black and white, you can take steps to ensure that all of the elements of a good monochrome image are in place before you press the shutter. Things like contrast in tonality, contrast in lighting, and appropriate expressions from your subjects are all elements that are difficult, if not impossible, to fix after an image is taken.

Why would you choose to create black and white photographs in the era of digital cameras that are capable of accurately capturing millions upon millions of colors? Black and white photography seems to be a constant in the history of the medium, with color technology only propagating itself into wide use around halfway between Nicéphore Niépce’s first heliograph and today.

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If you’re working on an image that you feel isn’t up to scratch and you ask yourself if it will work in black and white, the answer is probably no. A black and white treatment will often emphasize the flaws that made you question the image in the first place, and a bad photo is a bad photo regardless of its color scheme or lack thereof.

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Congratulations Amateur Winner “Silky Water” by MarvinEvasco17

“Wedding photographer in Lake Como and Lake District, Italy.” by alessandroavenali

“Another epically wonderful image. I really want to study the image and look through its layers.  This image would look wonderful nice and large and framed on a wall.  I love looking at it.” – Kevin Mullins

Hopefully, you can see that even though bold colors can make for vivid imagery, their absence can as well.

It’s all about personal preference here. If you’re not sure what yours is, try finding the first ten black and white portraits that stand out to you the most and see if you can deconstruct them in terms of lighting.

Here is an exercise you can do with your portrait subjects to get a mixture of great expressions. Prepare a list of words or phrases and ask them to react to how they feel to each one. The words you choose can be simple descriptors of emotion like: love, sad, joy, angry and melancholy. For more diverse expressions try more abstract words, or funny ones like: cheeseburger, politics, Teletubbies or Hulk smash. As a bonus, this sometimes works extremely well to lighten the mood when you have a subject who’s tense or nervous during a sitting.

“This is such a well spotted image.  It’s a scene that is made for monochrome.  Perhaps a slightly wider lens choice if possible.” – Kevin Mullins

There’s a lot of debate on both sides of the argument, but for me and many others it’s a simple matter of aesthetics. A good black and white treatment has a way of stripping unneeded information from an image, helping you to emphasize specific elements to your viewer without the distractions color can provide.

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of articles this week featuring black and white photography tips. Look for earlier ones below and more daily over the next week.

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“I really love this image and want to find out where the child is going.  He’s having fun, or rushing somewhere?  The exposure is excellent in challenging conditions.  It’s a well seen and well executed image.  The Black and White conversion is perfect and detail is lost in the shadows but only to enhance the image.” – Kevin Mullins

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This can be a difficult concept to understand without seeing it, so I have included an example of a color version of one the images above. Ask yourself: How did your perception of the photos change? What did you notice first in each of the images? Do you feel differently or think differently of it when you view it in color than in black and white?

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The most important part of the majority of portraits are the eyes. They are usually the focal point that the rest of your image is built around. This is especially true with black and white. With the omission of color, a black and white image often breaks down into graphic forms and shapes. Eyes are shapes that everyone recognizes and they draw immediate focus from your viewers. Make sure that your subject’s eyes are well lit, and focus is critical.

Like the eyes, other facial features become more prominent in a black and white portrait. You can use this to your advantage by conveying emotion in your images. Even tiny changes in your subject’s expression can make a difference. Things like a raised eyebrow, a twitch at the corner of a mouth, and smile lines under the eyes can all be used to great effect.

“This image speaks to me from an emotional point of view.  The natural light falling on the face is perfect and the exposure across the whole image is spot on.  Even though this might be more of a candid shot than a portrait its beautifully executed and lovely monochromatic finish.” – Kevin Mullins

Finally, if you try black and white and you like it: welcome to the addiction!

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Superior Suggestions These advanced tips are to help you look past all the basic ideas which cowl most elements of photography. The camera gear, gear and accessories are issues that provide help to take higher photographs. The following tips are there that will help you gain deeper information , looking at a attainable message, expertise or emotion you want to portray. This article helps the place and when to use things similar to micro-contrast. Additionally easy methods to effectively use and place the blackest areas of the photograph in relation to the mid-tone grey areas. Your images will profit immensely.

How To Make an Picture Black and White in Photoshop & Lightroom All cameras, aside from the Leica M Monochrom, take photos in colour. If you need a black and white image , then it`s essential to convert the colour to a monochrome state. There are many methods you are able to do this, but just a few gives you the absolute best quality and tonal range. Read our article right here on how you can make a picture black and white, without shedding high quality , element or other essential factors.

Post -Processing Black and White Images All digital modifying software for Mac, PC, smartphone or Android provides a conversion from color to black and white. Until you took a color photograph , converted it into black and white in a non- destructive manner , you can not revert it. The knowledge is not there. There are a lot of methods to convert to black and white, a few of that are non- destructive ( means that you can return to color if you like) however just a few methods the place you may convert the picture properly. This text tells you what you need to or shouldn’t be doing to get probably the most out of your photographs.

Learn how to Edit Photographs on Cell Now that we now have seemed primarily at DSLRs, let’s turn our consideration in direction of mobile photography. Taking pictures together with your mobile is quick and straightforward , and now converting and processing your pictures into black and whites is no more difficult. This article shows you learn how to utilize an app to show these photographs into something really dramatic.

How to Manage Photographs in Put up - Production Working with black and white photographs will not be the same as working with color – both have totally different focuses and need completely different areas of attention. The Black and White images can benefit from colours. Including yellow into the picture utilizing a colour mixer can affect the detail within the sky. This brings out traits in an in any other case overexposed section of the image. Additionally , tweaking of contrasts and highlights can have very dramatic results in a Black and White photograph.

Things to Think about When Editing Black and White Photographs When it comes right down to the modifying of your images , the hardware can be just as vital as the software you use. Your pc monitor can have a color administration system that can present your pictures differently to the color management of the printing. Also , where you edit the pictures can be vital , creating colour casts that change the way you see our images. You might think that black and white pictures won`t be affected, however they nonetheless use colour data in the gray , mid-tone areas of your work. Whatever you may be doing together with your photographs as a closing product, be it a e-book or an exhibition, all of them want totally different treatments.

The best way to Use Tonal Contrast with Pictures The tonal range in black and white photography is one of the most vital things to focus on. The range is principally the degree of how vibrant or how dark elements of your picture are. The bigger the tonal range , meaning the extra dark and light-weight areas there are, the extra impressive the image. Though distinction works properly in both colour and black and white, the latter wants it extra to face out and make an enduring impression.

10 Suggestions for Using Luminosity Masks in Digital Mixing Luminosity masks are a function in Photoshop that helps you isolate areas of a high light depth in the photograph ’s pixels. With these alternatives , you`ll be able to choose areas of the photograph and solely work on particular tones, not the whole image. These are great to assist increase the main focus and look of a selected object in your frame. This text offers you a terrific rundown, from creating the masks to the completed image.

Tips on how to Transition From Taking to Making the Photograph Ansel Adams stated , “You don’t take a photograph , you make it”. This guide takes you through many ideas. Looking on the primary components , what makes an awesome photograph and how one can make it into a remaining , polished print. Specializing in the basic ideas and persevering with to determine , isolate and management the elements will help your photographic confidence.

Find out how to Edit Black And White Images in Lightroom Lightroom is among the finest instruments out there to help you get the perfect out of your photography. It is easy and fast to pick -up and will help together with your workflow. Presets are a great way to get very impressive images. They`re additionally quick and easy to use and are created by photographic fans or Adobe itself. On this article, you will get an concept of what you should be looking at on the subject of enhancing your work and tips on how to obtain dramatic results.

Processing Images in Photoshop In comparison with the benefit of processing pictures in Lightroom, Photoshop is a little more complicated and requires extra learning time. This article helps you to get the very best out of your black and white image by working with colour layers, filters and blending options.

IMAGE COLLECTIONS : High Contrast Black And White Portrait Photography

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