Five Top Tips for Compelling B&W Portraits

1.The keys to captivating monochrome portraits are closely tied to employing higher tonal contrast, textures that bring the skin to life, and expressions that feel genuine and convey a real emotional connection.

2.Choose a wider aperture to narrow the depth of field.  This will focus the viewer’s attention on the model’s eyes and soften the skin and the model’s facial features.  A shallower depth of field also helps make the model standout from the background creating a three-dimensional quality to the image. 

3.It’s often best to shoot in RAW and in color with the intention of converting to B&W.  This will preserve the best tonality in your images, and you’ll have the greatest number of options in post-production to make necessary adjustments.

4.Your model’s pose and expression take on greater importance in B&W photography so pay close attention to each during the shoot.

5.Light is of paramount importance in photography, and this is certainly true when making portraits in B&W.  Take the extra time to appropriately position and adjust the intensity of your lights to create the effects you’re looking for.  You can move the subject further from the backdrop to avoid unwanted shadows or move her closer to the backdrop to include the shadow for effect.  Remember that light and shadow with a high tonal contrast range can and often should be used to greater effect in black and white portraits. The latter is true both when capturing the image and afterwards during the editing process. 

Model: Daria Pershina