I’ve got some great black and white portrait photography tips I want to share with you. I was photographing a friend recently and the only way I could photograph her was candidly. She was terribly shy of the camera and became very self conscious of her skin. At the time of shooting she was experiencing some skin problems and didn’t want them to be so noticeable.
I took a colour photo of her holding her cat in her lap:
You can see some of the skin blemishes. I opted to turn the photo into black and white. I didn’t like the chair in the back ground so I cropped the photo then turned it into a black and white photo.
I didn’t feel I “was there” yet with the photo. I knew I wanted to increase the exposure and do a few other things to it before I felt satisfied. I turned the contrast up a little to accentuate the darker tones. Then, with the magic of photo editing, I smoothed out her skin tones. I still kept the black and white as the final image. Here is the final result.
Once I show you how, you can tone down the blemishes as much or as little as you want to. I wanted to try toning them down almost completely. Some people need a lot of toning down and others do not.
By turning the photo to black and white and adjusting the toning of her skin her skin looks brighter and healthy. She looks more radiant in the photo. In colour, I may have had to do many more things just to even out the skin tone. In black and white it has made my job easier. Creating a beautiful image of a lovely girl has not only increased her confidence but mine too.
What are we looking for in a black and white photo?
What constitutes a “beautiful” black and white photo is not only composition and lighting but as many different variances of grey as possible. Digital photography can make black and white photography look quite washed out, which I will explain soon, but if you create deep grays, crisp whites and deep blacks then you are on your way to creating gorgeous black and white photos.
And if you want to get even more creative, try one in sepia:
By Amy Renfrey
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