Before I forget, happy new year to everyone for 5 days ago. Hopefully you’ve all recovered somewhat. I figured I’d ring in the new year with a classy photo, and we all know that black and white = instant class 😀
All kidding aside, I’m a little annoyed at that blasted window frame in the background, but oh well.
I’ve always shied away from portraits in black and white, because it always seemed less forgiving than colour, but it’s really not that scary! Like with everything else, you just need to play to the strengths of the medium you choose. I was trying to create a moodier shot with this particular photo, and I think that’s a domain in which black and white photos really shine. It also helps if you have a pre-determined plan/vision in mind, rather than just shooting and hoping for the best.
PS: Tiff actually made that top herself. Details here, if you’re also into sewing and all that jazz.
So I’ve been meaning to shoot more portrait photos for a very long time now, but haven’t had the means or equipment to do so. I always thought that good portraits need plenty of equipment, space and a dedicated area. Oh how wrong I was!
The biggest challenge that I’ve had is lighting. It just always seemed like good portrait photographers had reflectors, at least one flash, backdrops, studios, etc., so it felt out-of-reach. In what I suppose was a flash of inspiration recently, I found out that none of that is actually necessary if you’re smart about your surroundings. I remember reading tips about maximising natural lighting in any given situation, but none of that really made sense until I tried it myself. I used zero special equipment in the above photo (featuring Tiff, my fiancee). It was simply a bed, behind which was a large window with the sunlight streaming through. I initially found the sunlight to be just a bit too harsh, so closing the sheer curtains behind her gave the light just that extra softness I was looking for.
To be fair though, we were in a hotel room on the 21st floor, with a floor-to-ceiling window but still, the same principle would work anywhere, so long as you try and make the most of your environment! It took a bit of fiddling with the manual settings, but after a while I was able to get it just right, so that Tiff really stood out against a brilliant white background.
PS: I actually think my photo ended up looking a lot like a stock photo. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or not?