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Stunning Black And White Portrait Photography.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a technique that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers may only thought of taking a degree of because you can target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you may use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten them to grow local contrast. It’s a great channel of sharing a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you may set the opacity of the tools, you can build up their effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots may work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider area than they would with a short exposure and this could help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If necessary , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to reduce exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). naturally , when exposures extend farther than in respect of 1/60 sec a tripod is wanted to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The greatest monochrome conversions are got to by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As most photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. most cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact characteristic cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users may also do this if they kick in their camera’s live thought procedure , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would instantaneously be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and monotonous straight from the camera. happily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours discretely to introduce some contrast. However, a great starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some forceful blacks and whites. This may be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, should inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the most excellent composition.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are merely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more advantageous . An ND grad is cooperative when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter can be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, make of,find taking two or more shots with diverse exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be afraid to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, could also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of her opposite colour while lightening objects of her own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

Take Control. Although coloured filters may still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more prominent to save this work until the processing stage. Until a few years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the preferred means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more powerful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations can become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pinkish shirt with the red sliding control, for instance , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls can also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create discrimination between objects of the same brightness but with different colours.

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You can also add grain to your photos if you want to make them look like they were taken with a film camera. Subtle grain or dust textures look particularly stunning in black and white photographs.

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

Firstly, don’t get discouraged if your photo looks dull as soon as you convert it to black and white. The first thing you should do is work with the options that your editing program offers.

Black and white photography (B&W) is one of the most popular genres for portraiture. Many gravitate to it because of the unique and honest perspective it can bring to your photos.

This will make your photos eye-catching (pun intended!) and impactful. Combine that with a great pose and you’ll have the perfect black and white portrait.

However, this is just my way of working with aperture. If you have a different method, don’t feel left out, but do remain open to experimenting with new settings.

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.

What first started out as a skeptical experiment turned into a personal creative journey. Through self-portraiture, I found a way to express my deepest feelings.

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

When I take portraits at night (or in a place with very few light sources), I like to experiment with high ISO numbers. I know this might sound intimidating, but it’s ideal for black and white photography.

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Camera settings, lighting, location, and your model’s posing all have to be planned carefully before your photo shoot.

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.

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

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Focus on the things you usually overlook or leave out. If there are any vibrant colours you’d usually avoid, take a photo of them and convert the results to B&W.

Filled with doubts, I still persevered and discovered a world that completely changed the way I looked at portrait photography.

Moreover, you should make the most of the Curve and Clarity tools in your editing program. They’re usually all I need when I convert my portraits to B&W.

When I take photos of people, I like to separate them from their backgrounds. To do this, I use an aperture of f/1.8 – f/2.5.

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.

Keep an eye out for these things when you take photographs as they’ll greatly complement your subject’s poses and enhance your compositions.

This is because B&W has an unparalleled moodiness that goes beyond colour photography. A B&W portrait will prioritise your subject’s expressions, movements, and other subtleties.

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These tools will help you deepen shadows and brighten highlights. It’s easy to get carried away with clarity and unintentionally add too much depth to your photo, so be careful when you adjust it.

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.

In Lightroom, the same tools are available under Tone Curve. Simply drag the Orange slider to the right and the Red slider to the left.

Posing relies heavily on communication and practice, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes during this process, especially if you’re working with non-models. Also, get to know your models before you work with them.

Without any distracting colours and details, your subject will stand out. Every curve, movement, and texture will be emphasised. It’s important to know what looks most natural.

You can take photos of anything you like and convert them to black and white, but chances are you won’t be happy with the result. B&W portraits demand careful attention and preparation.

I remember how skeptical I felt when I took my first black and white self-portraits. I had seen so many B&W galleries that seemed impossibly gorgeous to me. As a beginner with virtually no experience, I didn’t think I had much to contribute.

Befriending your subjects will help you understand what makes them who they are. This information will allow you to tell your story through their unique personality.

Your editing style is probably different to mine, but there are some tricks that every artist with an editing program can benefit from.

The type of lighting you should work with depends on the kind of story you want your photos to tell. You don’t even have to come up with a complicated idea. All you have to do is ask yourself three simple questions:

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As you read the following points, think about the stories you want to tell and what you want your viewers to feel when they look at your work. This information will help you immensely before, during, and after your photo shoot.

Expressions will add depth to every other part of your photograph. Negative space, like an empty sky or a black background, will give your portrait a minimalistic yet striking look.

What I love most about a black and white portrait is its soulfulness. If you compared two versions of the same portrait – the original and its B&W copy – you would feel more drawn to the emotions in the second one.

If you want to save time and experiment with someone else’s style, use B&W Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions. These resources will instantly convert your photos to stylistic black and white portraits.

What you initially have in mind while taking the photos could disappoint you during the editing process. Knowing how to prepare, what to watch out for, and how to communicate with your model will get you far.

Familiarising yourself with other people’s editing preferences is a great way to learn or even get out of a creative rut.

The real magic of black and white photography happens when you start editing.

A lack of colour opens up a new world where light, expressions, and stories are intensified. With B&W portrait photography, you can show feelings without the distraction of colour.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In Photoshop, you can choose various filters. What works best for most portraits is the Green filter. It enhances every skin colour, darkens textures, and adds more contrast to the entire photo.

A lot of cameras nowadays have a B&W shooting option. It’s a really fun feature worth experimenting with. But it should not be your main tool for black and white photography.

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.

Now that you know the basics, you have every reason to keep experimenting with black and white photography, from portraiture to self portraits to weddings to landscapes.

When you watch out for interesting objects to include in your portraits, don’t forget to think in black and white. What may look appealing to you in colour may not look that great in black and white, and vice versa.

Many photographers recommend focusing on the eyes when taking black and white portraits. When you ask your models to pose a certain way, make sure their eyes look bright and sparkly.

I myself often use free scratch textures or make my own. More often than not, these effects look better in my B&W portraits than in their coloured versions.

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.

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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.

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.

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Eventually, you’ll feel confident in this sub-genre, become great at editing black and white portraits, and turn into a master of thinking in B&W.

Through black and white portrait photography, I found a new way to heighten those feelings and exceeded all of my expectations. It’s worth trying it out yourself.

This article will equip you with the skills to achieve those visually appealing black and white portraits.

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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.

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.

If you shoot in colour first, you’ll have more control during the editing process. Instead of manually selecting areas you’d like to edit, you can instantly adjust certain “colours” using tools like sliders in Lightroom or Selective Colour in Photoshop.

Not every image looks appealing in black and white. Learning how to shoot for B&W as opposed to in B&W will help you strengthen your ability to think creatively. You’ll get to challenge yourself and take better photos.

Setting up

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.

This range makes my subjects stand out and creates gorgeous bokeh. A soft background will complement your model’s features, eliminate any potential distractions, and look amazing in B&W.

Figure out what kind of stories you want to tell, learn how to give clear instructions to your models, appreciate the uniqueness of elements like textures, and don’t be afraid to fail once in a while.

How do I want people to feel when they look at my portraits? If you want people to feel touched when they look at your work, try experimenting with fewer light sources and more shadows. If you’re aiming for a brighter atmosphere, take photos in a well-lit location.

(One of my favourite locations to take black and white portraits is any shaded area on a sunny day.) How do I want my model to feel when I take these photos? Once you choose an emotion that appeals to you, consider the instructions you’ll give to your model.

If you know how to give your model clear instructions, you won’t have to deal with unnecessary confusion later on. What is my favourite black and white portrait? As I mentioned in my self-portraiture article, there’s nothing wrong with using other people’s work for inspiration.

Research B&W portraits, analyse what stands out to you, and find out why you like those portraits. Posing for Black and White Portraits

The grain in your photos will create a rough, film-like look. The lack of light, which may look unappealing in colour, will look dramatic in B&W.

A lack of colour gives other elements a chance to be seen and appreciated. These include textures, expressions, and negative space. Wrinkles, freckles, and fabric will all tell a story of their own in black and white.

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