Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black and White Portraits

Whenever I photograph my seasonal Vintage Val, I like to really
challenge myself to learn something new.
My friend Wanda of Wanda Bouldin Portraits had sent me some gorgeous black and white photos
she took of her cosmetology students to hang in the school salon.
Those photos are what sparked my Black and White Vintage Val shoot.
The challenge was...I HATE turning my photos to black and white!
I rarely ever do it because I absolutely ADORE COLOR!
When I turn colorful photos to black and white, it seemed to
drain the life out of the photos.
So, I was on a mission to figure out black and white
and what would make me love them. 
I started by shooting in
my own home so I had the time to really explore and create.
 I had Val wear a black and white dress for contrast.
I shot the entire session with only natural light.
When shooting indoors, look for the light sources like windows or lamps.
My grandmother's antique mirror in my front hall reflected the
light back on Val's pretty face.
I wanted to include my mother's beloved silver tea set in a scene.
 I thought silver would be great with black and white!
The black and white was VERY helpful because the styling in my scene had a
hodge-podge of colors...rose colored chair, peach ottoman, maroon rug
moss green walls. NOTHING matched...ha ha!
The color miss-match magically disappeared into black and white!
Another thing I noticed, too many busy patterns and clutter really
looks confusing in black and white.
So I re-angled the shot and moved the vase of flowers so I could have a blank wall
behind the main subject and thus showcase the tea pot and tea cup.
I tried different angles and really like the uncluttered look.
It's all about getting the viewer to look at what you want them to look at.
Love the backlighting from the window on her hair.
Simple, yet very intimate!
I also tried interesting crops
Val loves to read, so I had her bring a stack of vintage books.
I purposely staged my guest bedroom with the white iron bed with very simple accessories.
This is my favorite shot because I love the ruffles on the bedspread
that just so happens to be my mother's shower curtain!
I wanted some texture, but also white and simple.
Only Vintage Val would lie on a bed reading wearing a
dress with a crinoline, high heels and pearls...ha ha!
I LOVED the entire process of black and white and in the
end I felt like I was really seeing Val and what she was doing
rather than being wowed by the color
plus her BLUEST eyes in the world!
She's wearing MY glasses!
I found that turning these photos to black and white,
I did not need to fix any imperfections in the skin or even
sharpen the eyes in editing!
I simply de-saturated with a hue/saturation layer in Photoshop,
then played with curves until I liked what I saw.

                                         I prefer the skin tones to be on the white side...
I don't like muddy gray skin.
That's my own personal preference.  Play around until you
achieve what YOU like!
While Val is gorgeous real life she is a very modern woman
and arrived with this red streak in her hair.
This was one time, I was very happy I was doing black and white!

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