Black-And-White Portrait Tips

Susan Fernandez December 12 2022

Black-and-white photoshoots are classic and timeless. They capture the true essence of their subject - no distractions, no loud colors to draw the viewers away. Every single detail stands out in a black-and-white portrait. It's like looking into somebody's soul, as every facial expression is laid bare for all to see. If you want to go for something truly special, look no further than a timeless black-and-white photoshoot!

What Are Black And White Portraits Called?

Monochrome photography involves taking pictures using various shades of darkness and light instead of colors. So, your black-and-white photos are technically monochrome portraits. But, if you want to sound fancy, feel free to call them chiaroscuros - it's the Italian word for light and dark!

The history of monochrome photo portraiture dates back to the iconic images of Hollywood's golden age. Those legends knew that black and white photography was the only way to capture their timeless beauty in all its glory! The very first black-and-white images were taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, a French developer. However, the image was destroyed as he attempted to make copies of it. He succeeded again in 1825 when he managed to produce a black-and-white image of a window.

Lipmann Gabriel improved upon His invention later on and in 1891, he developed a process that enabled the production of naturally colored photographs. This was based on the optical light wave interface phenomenon. Because of this impressive feat, Lipmann won a Nobel prize in physics in 1908.

Today, after hundreds of years, black and white portraits are still a popular choice among photographers. They're an excellent way to capture the beauty of your subject with minimal distractions and maximum impact! Whether you're going for a vintage look or something more modern, black-and-white photo portraiture is always a surefire way to make your photos stand out. So if you want something truly special, don't hesitate - get that classic chiaroscuro!

How Do You Make A Black And White Photo Portrait?

Making a black-and-white portrait isn't as difficult as you may think. All you need is a camera, some basic knowledge of photo editing software, and just a bit of creativity! Before you take your photos, consider the lighting and the position of your subject. Natural light works best for this kind of portrait, but if that's not available, try using artificial lights.

Once you have your photos ready, open them up in an image editing program such as Photoshop or GIMP. From here, it's all about playing around with the contrast and brightness settings to get the desired look for your portrait. You can also add special effects such as vignettes or cross-processing to further enhance the overall effect.

And there you have it - your very own black-and-white portrait! With a bit of practice, you'll be able to create stunning images that capture the beauty and personality of your subject in a timeless way.

Tips To Make Professional Photos


Taking black-and-white photos is not as easy as it may seem to you. Here we will tell you several tips that will help you take these photos like a pro!

If you want your black and white portraits to have a blurry background (bokeh) or make the subject of your image pop – for example, by making the person's eyes stand out more – choose a wide aperture such as f/1.4 to f/2.5. By keeping a sharp focus on the person's eye and utilizing a wide aperture, you will soften the face's features. This technique can also produce aesthetic black-and-white images while still maintaining an effective subject-to-background separation.

Although high ISO settings are generally avoided because they add digital noise and can decrease an image's sharpness, contrast, and clarity, in black-and-white portrait photography these effects may be desirable.

As we discussed earlier, for the majority of cameras, it’s better to shoot in color and convert to black and white later on for superior tonal results. To give yourself the most creative freedom with your photo, RAW is always the best choice. When you want to create a beautiful black-and-white portrait, RAW preserves more information which provides you with additional control during post-processing.

Removing distractions with a black-and-white portrait can focus the image on the subject. You can use negative space for this purpose to make the image "all about the subject." By doing so, you connect compositionally with just the camera, photographer, and model.

With black-and-white portrait photography, lighting is key to producing good photos. For example, if you're photographing a model in front of a black background, there are certain ways to make the most of this setup. You can then adjust your camera settings accordingly until the exposure is just right so that the person is sufficiently lit without washing out the black background. If you don't have access to a photographic backdrop, using a plain black sheet will work just fine too.

What type of photos are best in black-and-white?

Usually, you can find portraits and street photography looking great in black and white. However, you can apply this technique to any type of photo: from travel shots to nature photos; from cityscapes to seascapes - the possibilities are endless!

The most important thing to remember is that black-and-white photography requires a different approach than color photography. You must think about the composition, lighting, and texture of your images to make sure they stand out in grayscale. With just a few simple tips and tricks, you can create stunning black-and-white photos that will capture the beauty of any scene or subject!

Should Portraits Be In Color Or B&W?

When it comes to portrait photography, the choice between color or black-and-white depends largely on the preference of the photographer. Black-and-white can have a timeless and classic feel, while color allows you to capture more detail in skin tones. Ultimately, both options can be equally beautiful - so don't be afraid to experiment and find out which one works best for your style!

When taking portraits, there are a few factors to consider regarding color. Are you depicting someone whose appearance relies heavily on color? For example, brightly colored hair or clothing. Secondly, think about the background or location – would different colors within these setting change the feel of your photo?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then black-and-white portrait photography may be for you. This type of photography allows the focus to remain on the subject by removing distractions that can often be found in other photographs. Another noteworthy element is the mood and atmosphere. Oftentimes, black and white portraits give off a dismal or dreary vibe – though it doesn't always have to be that way. With the right lighting, a black-and-white portrait can evoke a sense of emotion and nostalgia.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Whether you stick with color or choose to go monochrome, each option has its own unique beauty. There is no wrong answer here – just explore both options and find out which one works for you!

Shooting Or Converting?

There is an interesting question that comes to many photographers` minds. Should I take photos in black and white or convert them to grayscale afterward? Well, the answer is not so simple. The truth is: it depends on the situation and what you are trying to achieve.

If you want to capture an image in black-and-white right away, it’s best to shoot RAW with your camera set up in monochrome mode. That way, you can get a feel for how your photo will look without having to do any post-processing work. Additionally, shooting RAW preserves more information which provides you with additional control during post-processing.

On the other hand, if you'd like to experiment with different types of lighting or color filters before committing to a specific look and feel for your photo, then it's best to start with color and convert to black-and-white in post. This will give you more control over the results and allow you to get creative with your photography!

No matter which approach you take, there is one thing that remains true: the best black-and-white photos require time and care to produce. Experimentation is key, so don't be afraid to have fun and explore new ideas as you work towards creating stunning monochrome images!


Black-and-white photography can be a powerful tool for creating unforgettable images. Whether you’re shooting portraits, landscapes, or any other type of photography, the possibilities are endless! By understanding the composition, lighting, and texture needed to make a great black-and-white photo, you can take your photography to new heights.

At the end of the day it’s up to personal preference; color or monochrome? For those willing to put in the time and effort necessary for success – there is no wrong answer here. Experimentation is key – so don't be afraid to have fun and explore all that monochrome has to offer!