Black and white is a wonderful media for making portraits because the lack of color simplifies the image, causing you to focus on the true subject of the photograph instead of their clothing or surroundings.
As I mentioned in Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography, I didn’t start out as a people photographer. I photographed things but occasionally because of scheduling and availability I’d make a business portrait or headshot but people were really Mary’s game. When she took an extended sabbatical from the studio’s operations, things changed and I started making and enjoying making portraits. This portrait from one of the first sessions that I did with aspiring models sent to me by a local modeling agency.
Back in the not-so-old days the only way to make a black and white photograph was by shooting black and white film. Now digital shooters can have it both ways: Most digital cameras give you a choice of shooting color or black and white—even at the same time—or you can capture a color image and convert it later to monochrome using some of the basic methods available in Adobe Photoshop and other imaging tools. But sometimes you just need more power and that’s when it’s time to put down the manual tools and pick up a power tool like Silver Efex Pro.
The final black and white version has a 1940’s femme fatale look. Whereas the original color image was washed out color, the monochrome version is dynamic and graphic. But hey, if you like the color version, that’s OK too.
Joe is author of “Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography,” which is available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.