How do I take a good black and white portrait photo?

You are dedicated to portrait photography and would like to photograph in black and white. In order to take your photos to the next level, there are a number of things you need to know about black and white portrait photography. After reading the tips in this article, you’ll know how to take an eye-catching black and white photo with perfect contrast.

Tip 1: color photography first

Most cameras have monochrome support for taking black and white photos. An important tip: do not use this mode. Your camera opts for a standard black and white conversion in this mode. This does not always give the optimal result. If you photograph in color, then adjust the black and white ratios as desired in an editing program. This gives you much more control over the final result of your black and white photo.

Tip 2: RAW photography

To determine the black/white ratio yourself afterwards, it is important that you shoot in RAW. In general, RAW is smarter than the standard JPEG format. RAW files store much more information about the photo. In this way, you recover the light in the underexposed parts in an editing program. In addition, it restores the color of your RAW image if you have nevertheless photographed in monochrome mode. In this way, you enhance the contrast of black and white in a more natural way.

Tip 3: Look for hard contrasts

A black and white portrait revolves around the contrast between black and white. To get a good result, you must make sure that there is enough contrast within the frame in which you are going to photograph. For example, use a dark background on a person with blonde hair and fair skin to enhance the contrast between light and dark. Do you work with a light background? Then make sure the model is dressed in the dark.

Tip 4: Use the correct exposure

The face is the part you want to emphasize and light well in a black and white portrait photo. What makes black and white photos more interesting is the play of shadows. Drop a shadow on one side of the face and highlight only the other side. If you take photos indoors, use natural light through the window. With this soft light, you create a special atmosphere in your photo. This effect can also be achieved with well-adjusted studio lighting. If you are outdoors, take advantage of the sunlight.

Tip 5: Don’t wait for a sunny day

One of the great advantages of black and white photography is that you don’t necessarily need a sunny day to take a good portrait photo. Rainy days can also be very suitable. The light these days is weak, which gives your black and white photo a soft appearance. In this way, the structures stand out even better on one face. Still finding photos too dark? Then adjust exposure and contrast in post processing.

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