Seriously, a black and white image gives me all the feels. They evoke so much emotions. But why? What does a black and white have that a color images doesn’t? And what makes a stunning black and white portrait?
Lighting is SO important! Light airy images and dramatic dark images with the subject well lit make for stunning black and whites. I like the subject to pop and a light or dark background will do that. I’m able to create the light airy photos with natural light or studio light and the dramatic lighting works best with studio lighting.
You probably know that I like to keep things simple…right? Two compositions I like for black and whites are centered and rule of thirds (subject in one third of the image). I do this for pretty much all my portraits, but I feel like composition is really important for black and white because the image is void of color that might attract your eye.
A perfect black and white has contrast. Light and dark tones that covert well into black and white. A lot of one tone (like green grass and trees) can turn into a muddy image when converted. A muddy black and white is pretty blah! With outdoor images, I like to convert close-ups to black and white! In the studio, black and white backdrops add some awesome contrast!
My parents used a lifestyle photographer in the 70s and 80s that strictly shot black and white – that was in film days! So, a lot of pictures of my childhood are in black and white. I personally like the timelessness of black and white. I like that the focus is on the people’s faces – not what they are wearing or the background. You FEEL the portrait more in black and white.
So, which do you prefer – color or black & white?