How To Improve Your Black And White Portrait Photography Through The Magic Of Lightroom

I adore black and white portrait pictures and I was lucky to produce some  recently. I was photographing a buddy and the only way I could capture her was candidly. It appears unusual to say this since she required the image done for her mother, but felt it uncomfortable to have done. So I really tried hard to make the complete process as casual and relaxed as I knew how. She was dreadfully shy of the camera. To make matters worse she was very embarrassed about her skin. At the time of photographing she was experiencing some acne difficulties and didn’t want them to be so noticeable.

I knew that she felt more calm about the shoot with her cat purring comfortably in her lap so I suggested  for her to hold the cat close. I am glad I did, as I was able to take a couple of  seconds more to compose and capture the shot.

Sadly in colour, you can observe some of the facial problems. I opted to turn the shot into a black and white portrait photo. I didn’t like the chair in the surroundings so I  cropped the image then changed it into a black and white photo.

Once I opened up the photo in Lightroom I recognized I wanted to improve the brightness and do a few other things to it before I would feel happy. I turned the contrast up a little to bring out the darker areas. Then, with the magic of photo editing, I  smoothed out her skin tone. I kept the black and white as the final image.

Once I show you how, you can tone down the skin acne as greatly or as little as you fancy to. I wanted to try reducing them down almost entirely. Some people need a lot of reducing down and others do not.

By changing the photo to black and white and adjusting the tone of her skin, her skin looks brighter and healthy. She looks more radiant in the image. In colour, I  may have had to do many additional things just to even out the skin tone. In black and white it has made my job easier. Generating a superb image of a beautiful girl has not only increased her self-confidence but mine too.

What are we looking for in a monochrome photo?

What makes up a “beautiful” black and white photo is not only composition and lighting but as many types of variances of grey tone as achievable.  We want sharp, crisp  whites, and deep, dark black, beside with many variances of grey as possible. We don’t simply want the same grey along with black and white. We want a variety within the tonal range itself.

Digital photography can make black and white photography look quite uninteresting,  which I will explain soon, but if you create deep greys, crisp whites and deep blacks then you are on your way to creating fantastic black and white photos.



Then, I got a little more creative and did one in sepia:



Do not copy these photos off this website. it’s bad karma and the law will get you, so don’t do it. Let’s keep things nice, ok?


7 comments on “How To Improve Your Black And White Portrait Photography Through The Magic Of Lightroom

  1. That’s great, Amy! I’ve never had any experience with Photoshop but even so I think this tutorial is very useful and helpful!

    Thank you! 🙂

  2. I like how you smoothed out her skin tone, I’ve been playing with black and white lately, just did a gorilla. It’s amazing how it can change the focal point of an image.

  3. I love the images! As a photographer I am aware it may be difficult to find the best shots
    but they are good. I take advantage of several Lightroom presets to help
    keep some uniformity throughout my own.

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