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.
September 2018 Inspirations: Best Black & White Images Inspiration can come when you least expect it. As photographers, we are visual artists. We express ourselves through our camera and the images we create. Inspirations represents a sampling of our industry and the vision of professional photographers from around the world.…
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.
It never ceases to amaze me what’s possible with just one light, whether it’s a strobe or constant, plus a little know-how and creativity. A recent assignment I shot for one of Orlando’s top modeling agencies is a perfect example of the magic you can create with one light. I’d been asked to shoot promotional images of Kino, a newly signed model. The agency wanted dramatic edgy shots that highlighted his chiseled features and ripped physique. It was the perfect assignment for a couple of cool one-light setups.
Photographers often find themselves torn between the color version of their edit and a black-and-white conversion of the same shot (you even see photographers post both versions on social media, asking their followers which one they prefer). This is almost certainly indicative of a photographer making the unfortunate mistake of not having a complete vision for a shot up front. While you can convert an image to black and white arbitrarily and find success with it, I find far more consistent results when you set out to shoot monochrome from the start. But where do you start?