Natural light portraiture is a passion of so many photographers out there. But for many of these photographers, there’s a little formula that they always do. It goes something like this: aperture priority, focus on the eye, shoot. That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. And for the most part, it’s copied over and over again because it works. With black and white photography, that idea can surely work. However, there are other things that a photographer can do to create even better photos.
I think we’ve all seen it: photography that follows a simple recipe. It’s in the black and white world and it goes something like this: convert to black and white > raise clarity > raise sharpness > raise contrast > export. Sometimes they’re done well, but more often than not that’s very rare. Most of the time the images look like tacky digital simulations due to people not understanding light and exactly what’s going on. All of this has its roots in the film days.
It’s a fact, photographers love contrast. But it doesn’t always work out so well–case in point: portraiture! Don’t believe me? Well, let’s consider the fact that photographers for many years have been shooting with a low contrast film called Kodak Portra to photograph people. Crazy, right? So what made people want to do high contrast portraits? Most of the time, folks unfortunately just don’t know any better. But when it comes to black and white photography, we have to showcase to you how and how too much contrast can kill a portrait.
We’re going to get you started from the ground up.
“Why someone told me that it’s a great film for street photography is honestly a bit beyond my comprehension.”
The company quite literally specializes in black and white film and for that reason they offer a multitude of products for a multitude of applications.
My creative influences are widely ranged from the great photographers like Lindbergh, Avedon, Demarchelier, over literature like Paulo Coelho and Charles Bukowski right over to the cinematic world.
Alexander Laurent uses Fujifilm Acros 100 film in the studio.
He started to realize that photography and music and both linked via composition, editing, mixing and levels.
Acros can be anything that you want it to be. To that end, it’s truly for creators with a vision.
For many years, photographers everywhere trusted Kodak Tri-x not only for its reliability, but also because it was simply just an incredible black and white film emulsion. Over the years it evolved and these days only the ISO 400 variant still remains. It’s a high speed film that is still in use with street photographers, documentary photographers, and well honestly a lot more than that. It’s prized for its look combined with it’s price point.
It’s a popular method used by many filmmakers.
“Posing works mostly like it would with any other genre of portraiture, but with one thing to consider. if you are shooting a face, it can be offputting to have large portions of the face in shadow vs light, so it is better to go with one or the other.”
“Unlike the monochrome black and white setting, the Acros simulation offers a slightly more subdued look right out of the box–a look that in this writer’s opinion feels a little more filmic than the standard monochrome black and white.”
In the tradition of the great street photographers of earlier decades, there are people all around the globe adding to the visual record of person, culture, place, and architecture and sharing it with their fellow photographers and humans.
Those of us who embrace the purist mentality that monochromatic images lend themselves to often end up applying it to all of our work. Indeed, black and white simplifies a scene and makes the human mind pay attention to nothing else but the shapes in a scene. Sometimes it’s tough to embrace; but with a little bit of inspiration, you’ll want to get out there and document the world in nothing else but black, white and all the shades in between. To get you inspired, here are 10 photographers mostly shooting black and white with followings of under 10k to…