When I first tried my hands on portraits, I failed miserably. My portraits were not clear, sharp, and appealing. Anyone who looked at those portraits said, there is something missing. Since then I've been looking for some portrait photography tips to get an insight to click better portraits. If you too have been trying hard on get amazing portraits, then you must read the portrait photography tips listed below.
Black and white portraits have magic rarely seen in color portraits. They somehow manage to convey far more depth of emotion and reflect the subject’s mood so much better. If you want to try your hands on portraits, here are some black and white portrait photography tips to help you get started.
Use natural light:
Arguably, black and white portraits turn out best when shot in natural light. Natural light captures and reflects expressions beautifully. Shoot in the shade of a tree or building, or on a cloudy, overcast day. There should sufficient light on your subject’s face, especially the eyes. Avoid shooting in direct bright sunlight as there will be too much contrast. Mornings or evenings should give you enough natural light without being too bright.
Shoot in black and white:
You can shoot in either black and white or color (change to black and white in post-processing). The advantage of shooting in black and white is that you get instant feedback. You can see exactly how the picture looks and keep making adjustments in settings until you get the perfect photograph.
When selecting a background for your black and white portrait, preferably select something with a solid background, like a stone or brick wall or an old wood shed. Avoid any clutter in the background. This way the focus will remain on your subject’s face and the background will add character to the portrait.
You would need to experiment with your camera settings to see what works best in the light and background you have. Generally in natural light and in a shaded area, f/2.2 and ISO of about 400 or near about this would work well. The aperture should be just enough to focus on your subject’s eyes and blur out the background somewhat. Play around with your settings and see which ones give you the best black and white portraits. Also, try out different settings for different looks and in different backgrounds.
If you have shot in color, the first step in post-processing would be converting to black and white. Work on the black and shadows if required. Then give the final touches, smoothing away unwanted blemishes, uneven skin tones, excess freckles, etc. Keep the post-processing to a minimum. You need to remember that ideally a portrait should capture the subject’s expression and need not be “perfect”. Sometimes imperfect is perfect!
Practicing and implementing these Portrait photography tips on and on will definitely help you create masterpieces.