Ideas For Black And White Portraits

January 11, 2019 7:33 am by columnblogger
Portrait photography
Bw portraits
Ideas For Black And White Portraits

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.

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.

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?

Sign up to the weekly DPS NEWSLETTER Subscribe All our best articles for the week Fun photographic challenges Special offers and discounts Your email is safe with us. We won’t share it with anyone

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

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.

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.

Landscape Photography Tips Portrait Photography Tips Photo Composition Tips Beginner Photography Tips Photo Post Processing Tips Get Started with Cameras and Gear

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

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.

Sign up to the weekly DPS NEWSLETTER Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download

5 Simple Ways to Create Expressive Photos in Black and White Tips for Black and White Wildlife Photography Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

© 2006 – 2018 Digital Photography School, All Rights Reserved / Disclaimer

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.

About dPS Write for dPS Advertise on dPS Affiliate Program Privacy Policy

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with:  1. new photography tutorials and tips 2. latest photography assignments 3. photo competitions and prizes Enter your email below to subscribe.

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.

Sign up to the weekly DPS NEWSLETTER Subscribe All our best articles for the week Fun photographic challenges Special offers and discounts

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.

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE Subscribe Guaranteed for 2 full months Pay by PayPal or Credit Card Instant Digital Download GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Related Images of Ideas For Black And White Portraits
Black and white faces
Beauty female black and white portrait ideas 77 30 fantastic black and white portrait ideas
30 black and white faces photography ideas for inspiration
Portrait photography tips and ideas40 a beautiful black and white
Portrait photography tips and ideas78
Cold patricia
Portrait photography tips and ideas91
Stunning woman portrait in black and white
Bite size tips 5 ideas for better black and white photography
Fantastic black and white photography ideas 99 30 fantastic black and white portrait ideas
Image via pixoto
Creative and fantastic black and white portrait ideas 30 fantastic black and white portrait ideas
Robin williams black and whit portrait with a fish
Stunning portrait photography ideas
Daniel heck
Fantastic black and white portrait photography ideas 88 30 fantastic black and white portrait ideas
Creative and white for black ideas photography is tips a few months you we and might
12 dramatic low key black white portraits
Black And White Photography With One Color Flowers
Black And White Photography With One Color Flowers

Black And White Photography With One Color FlowersBlack And White Photography With One Color Flowers Black And White Photography With […]

Black And White Prints With Colour
Black And White Prints With Colour

Black And White Prints With ColourBlack And White Prints With Colour The Photographer ToolboxUnlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Actions, Brushes, Web Templates, […]

Famous Black And White Photography Film
Famous Black And White Photography Film

Famous Black And White Photography FilmFamous Black And White Photography Film I was lucky to nail focus in this picture, […]

Black And White Images New York
Black And White Images New York

Black And White Images New YorkBlack And White Images New York A panoramic cityscape of the buildings of Midtown Manhattan and […]

Black And White Venice Posters
Black And White Venice Posters

Black And White Venice PostersBlack And White Venice Posters Venezia (Venice), Italy – Gondolas on Grand Canal – St. Mark’s […]

Black And White Vintage Photography Wallpaper
Black And White Vintage Photography Wallpaper

Black And White Vintage Photography WallpaperBlack And White Vintage Photography Wallpaper Macro shot of a black and white striped line, […]