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Why I LOVE Black & Whites!

A Classic Black & White Portrait…SWOON!

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.

Focus on Faces - NPS Photography

lifestyle newborn close up

Airy Images with Contrast - NPS Photography

Mom holding newborn in the nursery

Simple Composition

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.

Get Rid of distracting Colors - NPS Photography

Close up of a family of three!


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!

Deep Contrast Emotion - NPS Photography

Black & White Studio Maternity Portrait

Whimsy - NPS Photography

Studio Black & White Headshot of a Little Boy

But, why do I like black and whites?

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?

dc photographer

meet natasha

I'm DC photographer, Natasha Sewell. I'm all about capturing those unscripted, full-of-personality moments in the comfort of your home.

As a mom of three and a former elementary school teacher turned in-home newborn and family photographer, I know how to get your littles to cooperate and have FUN!

Let’s get to preserving your family's real-life moments in the place you’re most comfortable – your home.

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