Creating Fine Art Portraits in Black & White has been the most rewarding if not the most challenging of the many artist projects I have undertaken.
The project started in 2013 and continues today.
At first the attraction was learning how to capture a subject's personality with more clarity.
Today my goal is to intensify the viewer's emotional connections to the subjects in all my portraits.
The most meaningful reward I have derived from this long-term artist project has been the improvements of all my photographic skills which is, after all, the purpose of doing an artist project.
The path for creating a B&W portrait is completely different from the one used for color portraits.
To create a B&W portrait the artist must start by thinking in B&W even before the camera has been removed from its case.
Done well, a B&W portrait should feel like color would be a distraction, diminishing the viewing experience.
When the portrait relies on color and light equally to tell its story the image is seldom improved when the color is removed.
The power of most color portraits are diminished when converted to B&W because they were not conceived in B&W.
To create a portrait that makes you feel B&W was intentional and purposeful the capture must be carefully planned and constructed.
Light, form, composition and expressions are given much stronger roles to play than color.
Light should tumble across the composition.
Backgrounds should be neutral, darker tones are helpful but not always.
Clothes must be carefully selected in solid darker tones.
Faces should glow as if illuminated from within.
And the faces should be the center of attention, demanding and more riveting in the absence of color.
This allows the stories to be very spontaneous and in the moment.
Magically, the feeling that the subject is more real in a B&W portrait is the hallmark of a job well done.
In appreciation, please click this link to download a PDF of our 2020 Equine Portrait Guide.
We would love to give you a Portrait Session Certificate worth $250!
If you have not done so already, please complete the Complimentary Portrait Session form.
While there, if you give us a convenient time for a phone call to book your no-obligation Discovery Meeting we will add a Bonus Gift worth $75 to your art purchases.
Richard & Sharon Hydren