Top 3 Things I Look for in B/W Portrait Photography

I have been practicing black and white (B/W) portrait photography since as long as I got my DSLR. In fact, for that very purpose, I had purchased a 50mm f1.8 prime even before I got my DSLR. I knew it would be useful. And how!

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Candid shots of kids have a surprise factor. Not for the subjects, though.

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Candid shots can give you perfect subjects in (almost) perfect set ups.

Here’s a list of tips I have come up with after experimenting with B/W photography:

Begin with What and Why

Have a clear picture of what you want your picture or subject to convey. Answer the “what” and “why” through the picture. Think what story you want your B/W portrait to tell and how.

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The wrinkles have thousands of stories folded along.

Let the Eyes Talk

Consider focusing on the eyes. Let the sparkling eyes of the subject, especially kids, do the talking. Focus on the expressions: draw the attention on the subject’s thoughts.

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Yep. Those eyes.

Look for High Contrast

B/W portraits bring out the best contrast in people’s expressions. That’s because there are only two colors for you to play around with. The black and the white are the only color sources to bring out emotions onto the paper/screen. Having a higher contrast helps.

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Depth in the eyes conveys more than the picture.

If you are clicking pictures from your phone, look for settings that give you higher contrast. This will help you highlight facial expressions. For non-portrait B/W, switch to HDR or taking longer exposures. But, for this, you will need a tripod.

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One from my Instagram feed: the underside of a bridge. (London, UK)

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Whether it is? Or, the weather it is?

If you liked any of the B/W portraits I clicked, let me know.

Happy clicking.

About Suyog Ketkar

He is a certified technical communicator. He believes that writing continues to be an easy-to-do-but-difficult-to-master job. In his work time, he proudly dons the “enabler” cape. In his non-work time, he dons many hats including one of a super-busy father.
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