5 Tips for Better Black & White Portraits

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.

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Classic Black & White: Recreating Old Hollywood Headshots

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.

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Hip-Hop Portraits!

For this series of hip-hop-inspired black-and-white portraits, I wanted a dramatic, moody, high contrast look. In the studio, nothing says drama like a black background. My concept was all about black on black—black skin, black wardrobe, on a black background. Lit properly, this monochromatic palette would isolate, elevate and highlight the subject in a punchy, dramatic way.

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Why You Should Intentionally Shoot For Black & 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.

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