How to make a stunning bnw portrait


To create a compelling black and white portrait, you need to prioritize certain aspects differently than in color photography. Black and white imagery offers advantages by eliminating color casts, especially indoors. We’re specifically focusing on the Portrait category, which adheres to its own rules and codes. Here’s a breakdown:

Light: Avoid flash. Indoors, utilize diffused and soft light from sources like a window with a white curtain. Outdoors, opt for indirect light, avoiding harsh sunlight. A white wall bounce or a shielded sky can provide suitable lighting.

Clothing: Envision how the photo will appear in black and white to avoid unpleasing color blends. Incorporate at least a touch of white and/or black in your attire.

Background: Isolate the subject from distracting backgrounds. Adjust the aperture to eliminate clutter if necessary. Consider the background’s relevance to the subject; I prefer portraits with the subject as the focal point, delving into a more artistic dimension.

Background Tones: Experiment with light and dark backgrounds for varying emotional effects. Dark backgrounds add depth and drama, while light backgrounds emphasize the portrait itself.

Composition: Adhere to rules like the thirds, diagonals, and golden section. Decide on the frame’s size, whether close-up or enlarged. Study different angles and consider a three-quarters cut for a pleasing composition.

Lens: Opt for a non-deforming lens suitable for portraits, such as a macro lens or those specifically designed for portraits.

Emotion: The most crucial aspect. The portrait should convey emotions, both from the subject and the photographer. Establish trust, maintain focus, and seek the hidden spark beneath masks. Patience is key in capturing that elusive yet revealing moment.

With these guidelines, you’re on your way to creating stunning black and white portraits!


Hi, I’m Manuela, urban potter and Italian artist who’s passionate about exploring the expressive potential of clay. With a love for Wabi Sabi aesthetics and the beauty of imperfection, I create bespoke ceramics, paintings, and fine art photography. My studio, nestled in the charming city of Milan, is a magical box where creativity runs wild and beauty is abundant. Whether you’re looking to bring a touch of magic into your everyday life, or simply to explore your creative side through art therapy I’m here to inspire and encourage you on your journey. I bring art into the world and celebrate the beauty in every moment. This blog is my Artistic Salad, filled with creativity, beauty, joie de vivre, passion and tools for creative minds.

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