Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Pick of the Pix Series, Portraits #5 - High Contrast

Specs: 1/125s, 300.0mm, f/5.6, ISO: 800, extreme contrast adjustment in Picasa

I love good high contrast portraits. This one of Carl van Roon at the recent Taupo World Champs trials is straight out of the camera, converted to black and white then contrast pushed to the extreme in Picasa.

Here's the original image:

Here's another recent favourite:

And more that I like:

To take a high contrast image here are a few suggestions:
1. Turn your camera ISO up as far as it will go. This is optional but will add noise to the photo, making it look more "gritty" than a low ISO image which would have much smoother tones.
2. You need either a very dark background or a very light background.
3. It helps to have strong directional light going across your subject from one side of them, preferably slightly in front of them too.
4. Don't use flash unless it is a separate unit from your camera and can provide directional light as described in 3 above. Straight on flash will make the image look flat.
5. Convert to black and white and play around with increasing contrast on both the dark and light parts of the image with Photoshop, Picasa or a similar image editing program.