Go Monochrome this Black Friday

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

One of the things that I like to do to get myself out of a photographic rut is to make portraits in monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images that you make during a session; maybe just a few to see what happens.

You may think that’s a bad idea because you worry about what happens if you change your mind at some later date and want that image to be in color? Just set capture for RAW+JPEG and then select Monochrome and you will capture a monochrome (JPEG) and color (RAW) file at the same time. Some dual-slot cameras even let you simultaneously shoot RAW onto the one memory car card and JPEG files on the other card.

If you prefer to capture in color and convert to monochrome later in the digital darkroom that’s not a bad idea either. The biggest differences and advantage to this approach is that most retouching tools, including my favorite—Imagenomic’s’ Portraiture—work better with color files. Tip: To avoid plasticky looking skin tones from Portraiture, apply retouching  to a separate layer then use Photoshop’s Opacity menu to lower that topmost effects layer so that you see actual skin tone peek through from the bottom or background layer. That’s why more often than not I shoot portraits in color and convert to monochrome later using Silver Efex Pro but not the above image.

How I Made the above shot: Subject is my former muse Tia Stoneman who is rockin’ a retro vibe. She was photographed outdoors in the doorway of an old building that has since been remodeled into something nicer but with decidedly less character. I asked Tia to sit near the doorway and then her pose was refined—shooting through the pose—before arriving at this shot after making eight different variations of it. Image was captured directly in monochrome mode using a Canon EOS 50D and EF 28-105mm lens (at 53mm) that I’m sorry I sold. An EX550 speedlight was used for fill.

If you know of any models or aspiring models who would like to become my new muse, please have them Contact me through the above email link.

Posing for Portraits & Glamour



Joe is the author of Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography with new copies available at from Amazon for $18.78. Used copes are selling for $17.31, so if you’re an Amazon Prime member the new copy might be cheaper because it includes free shipping.  Prices are as I write this…