digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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24 Powerful Black and White Portraits That Speak to Your Soul

Black and white photography holds a special place in my heart. My two year college program started off with one whole year doing only black and white portraits and other creative monochrome shots. I spent time in the darkroom learning techniques which are now considered historic processes.

black and white portraits for headshots
Notice I've chosen to process my own headshots in black and white. Photos by the talented Renee Robyn.

But thanks to digital photography we can still shoot and enjoy the power of black and white. There is something magical about it, especially black and white portraits. Some of the masters of photography only worked in black and white (some because that's all there was at the time, some by choice).

If you have been following and participating in the monthly challenges here on Digital Photo Mentor, then you're shooting only in monochrome or black and white this month to help you learn to see the light.

So let's take a look at some great black and white portraits that I feel are especially powerful and emotional. See if you agree with me:

In fact, this guy's entire body of work is worth an extra mention. See more from Lee Jeffries here.

Photo by Hidekazu Tominaga
Photo by Zuhair A. Al-Traifi
Photo by Zuhair A. Al-Traifi
Photo by Zuhair A. Al-Traifi

In fact, check out his entire B/W portrait gallery. His portraits are fantastic.

I've previously written about photography tips that included black and white practice.

Tip #5 on the how to use shadows to create drama in your photos, I said this about black and white

Black and white photography loves contrast, so work with it. Try shooting in this mode for a while, not just converting in processing later, but actually shooting in b/w so the preview you see on your camera is not distracting you with color. I LOVE b/w photography, it has emotion, it has soul. So when you are out shooting and the light is contrasty, work with it and shoot some black and white.

Black and White Portraits

This is my own image, a black and white portrait of our model Jill from our portrait photography course.

black and white portrait of Jill

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