As you cull your most recent wedding, you might be asking yourself, “When do I go black & white?” Throughout my career, I have displayed both color and black & white photos in my portfolio. I enjoy black & white images, because there’s simply something different to them.
Black & white should be used to remove distractions from your image and help bring more focus to your subject. A black & white portrait can help focus on your subject’s emotion, as well as eliminate color patterns that take attention away from them. The key is to use black & white to help communicate your vision more efficiently than a color image would do.
To re-create the classic Hollywood self-portrait, we will first analyze and reverse-engineer some portraits from that time and style. Next, we’ll choose what kind of lights and modifiers to use. Then, finally, we’ll position those lights and take the shot to see what results we get.
My favorite part of photography is capturing moments. As a second shooter for a primary photographer who knows how to pose and who pays very close attention to details, I can hide in the corner and capture candid moments as they unfold. Candid photos work so well in black and white, especially when laid out in a wedding album. Here are some of my tips to help you get the best candid images throughout a wedding day that look beautiful in black and white.
If changing an image to black and white is a careless afterthought, what are the chances that you’ve created a monochrome masterpiece? When we change our mindset from “I don’t know what else to do with this so black and white it is” to “I am going to create black-and-white photos today when I shoot,” a radical thing happens: Your monochrome images become more focused and striking.
When you think about creating a black-and-white photo, ask yourself, why black and white? Some clients simply want it for a particular marketing look or just for the love of black and white. Either way, you should know why you’re shooting in this style. In this article, I focus on a recent black-and-white project I did for a commercial client.
Authentic images are the ones our clients want to buy. So how do you learn to recognize authenticity in a photograph? Even more challenging, how do you then re-create authenticity in image after image for your many clients? It’s a hugely important question for your business. So let’s talk about six ways Eileen and I capture authentic moments.
Black-and-white conversion is an art, and the art is in determining how each color is rendered in black and white. Say you have an image of a beautiful landscape with a deep blue sky full of fluffy clouds. When we convert that to black and white, the blue sky loses its color. Now, I have a question for you: How will the blue areas look in black and white? Will they look light gray? Dark gray? White? Or maybe light gray with a slight gradient of dark gray? Making these decisions for how each color will be rendered is what makes black-and-white conversion fun.
Nothing beats window light. It’s broad, diffuse, indirect, soft light that’s flattering to anyone in its path. But what do you do when the sun has set, there is no window or Mother Nature isn’t cooperating? With the right tools and techniques, you can re-create it. I’ve seen this sun-drenched looks-like-daylight-but-isn’t look used often in Gap ads. The light created for these images has the open, airy quality you get from daylight streaming in through a large window. It’s perfect for Gap’s brand. I’ve always loved this quality of light and wanted to use it in my own work. How they did it was the big question mark.
Most great documentary photos are the result of preparation, time and relationships. Street photography isn’t about luck; it’s about forcing chance. It’s not enough to have a camera on you. You need to go out of your way, get up early for the sunrise and stay up late for the action. Sometimes you might stand in the rain for hours on some street corner because the reflections are nice and it’s a great backdrop, but you have to wait for the right kind of protagonist to appear and complete the scene.