How I Got the Shot: Dramatic Black and White Portrait

I dragged my daughter outside for a photo shoot a couple days ago, or maybe it was yesterday.  I don’t know.  In my mama sleep deprived state the days and nights sort of run into one another in my memory.  This was my favorite.

DSC_6002 CMProFinal Web

Nikon D7000 44mm on a kit lens; 1/200 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 5000

So I’m going to give you a quick rundown of how I got this shot.  After the sun had set behind some trees in the evening I had my daughter stand inside a large shed that was completely open on one side.  The shed was filled with roofing material, but it was black and in heavy shadow so it gave me a nicely textured blackness.

To find the light I took my daughter deep inside the shed and then slowly brought her closer to the light until it lit her face well and was bright enough for my camera to read.  Then I turned her a few times until I got the light hitting her face the way I liked it.  I stood close and metered the brightest part of her face, set my camera settings and then took a few steps back and composed my shot.

In ACR I usually correct the white balance first if needed and then convert the image to black and white.  Then I increase the highlights and lower the shadows and blacks to how I want them.  I also usually increase the contrast and clarity, as well as a slight S curve.  In this picture I used an adjustment brush to very slightly lighten the shadows in her hair so the details were more visible.  I had to crank the ISO in camera so I did run a little noise reduction which I don’t use that often.

In Photoshop I just patched out a couple distracting hairs on her forehead and a couple bright reflections in the background and that’s it!

If you took a pic using this tutorial please leave a comment and link to your picture!


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