Intimate Black and White Couples and Portrait Photography
For amateur photographers it can be intimidating to start photographing both single subjects and couples. The best way to gain technical and creative experience of course is to take as many pictures as possible.
Possible models are all around as the following pictures prove it. Either person is a model, they are just a couple on vacation in hawaii.
What I looked out for while doing these test shoots:
- people who’s looks I found interesting which did not only mean beautiful features
- locations with few onlookers which can intimidate non-models more than professionals
- simple and uncrowded backdrops which can also be created if not present by shooting from below to put the sky in the background or using a long enough lens with a wide enough aperture to blur the background
No matter how much preparation takes place, luck, unexpected events and unforeseen challenges usually contribute largely to the success of the pictures. I was lucky to find such a photogenic couple with great on camera chemistry. as it is almost but impossible to fake intimacy.
They both had great eyes, hairstyle and bone structure in a rather dramatic package therefore the choice to photograph them in black and white was an obvious one.
Candid Black And White Couples And Portrait Photography
It is a good idea to keep a certain distance when doing couples and portrait photography. This enables intimate moments to unfold. Even putting 15 feet between the photographer and subject will create enough separation. Of course the use of flash is not recommended as it would completely ruin any chance of the couple getting lost in the moment or in each other’s eyes.
Abercrombie and Fitch Style Black And White Couples Photography
It’s easiest to achieve this Abercrombie and Fitch look during overcast days. No reflectors, lights or assistants are needed. I always photograph alone. Not having a large crew also helps with maintaining intimate feel on the set especially when photographing ordinary people without modeling experience.
When the sky and the ocean are placed in the background and a wide enough aperture is used it is possible to create a painting like whimsical backdrop that is void of distracting textures, shapes and details.
Creating Intimate Mood For Black And White Couples Photography
I like to experiment with different focal lengths and vantage points, often changing these details dramatically from one frame to another. This process is often comparable to a hunt for the perfect picture. It is fun to look back during post production and look at the journey that was essential to get to the image that is chosen.
Of course there are timers when the first shot is the keeper but most of the time constantly implementing small or large changes in composition is what it takes to capture the favorite photograph of the day.
With the picture below a slightly longer focal length was used. I also shot from a lower vantage point so about 90% of the background was composed of the sky leaving only a little bit of water on the bottom to include the horizon which I thought I needed to include.
Taking pictures from below not only creates uncluttered backdrops but makes the photographer disappear from the view of the subjects giving them a better change to momentarily forget about being photographed.
The Importance Of Shapes And Lines In Black & White Photography
Many compositional elements automatically fall into place when the models are comfortable and there is chemistry between models and photographer. Which is the easiest way to project beauty, grace and confidence. The viewer of the picture will inevitably pick up on the slightest discomfort, artificial posing or any distracting attribute which might not even have been projected consciously.
I like the arms here the way they are creating a large X and how they physically and emotionally connect the couple. I also find elegant beauty between the height difference between them; the head of the girl perfectly fits under the chin of the man. If the girl’s figure would be moved to the right it would fit in with the shape of the men, in a way completing each other. Lines and shapes are even more crucial compositional tools with black and white photography.
Diagonal Lines In Pictures For Exciting Dynamic Compositions
Using diagonal lines is a great way to add excitement and drama to images. I choose a palm tree to introduce such an element. Even a simple prop like a tree that a person can lean against offers not only physical but psychological support as well, lessening any unease that non-models or beginner models often experience.
This is a simple trick not to be forgotten: to make your subject more comfortable have them either hold something, lean against something or sit down.
With the man leaning against the tree a whole array of diagonal lines are created automatically.
Tilting the camera will “force” the creation of diagonal lines therefore completely transforming the static feel of the couple into something more dynamic and interesting.
Successful Candid Couples Photography Using the KISS Method
The famous KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method is illustrated with the last picture. What is simpler than (after some preplanning) the photographer FINALLY shuts up and removes him or herself from the life of the couple? Undoubtedly these candid photographs will be some of the most favorite frames for the client and often the photographer too.