Black and White VS Colour Headshots

Black and White Portrait

Black and White, or Colour?

Sometimes it is hard to know what is going to be better. A black and white portrait or a colour portrait? Both can be absolutely stunning, but some people can really have a preference. Personal opinion is a big one when it comes to this, so we will do a few comparisons below.
Sometimes you know when you want a black and white portrait. Some industries have trends, so it can feel best to follow the norm. Sometimes black and white fits in with a company’s branding. Their website and social media might be tied together with black and white imagery, so it would make sense to have a black and white portrait.

Niki came to me to refresh her musical theatre headshots, and requested black and white images.
Jonathan wanted a black and white image for his website – which is mostly monochrome.
I use a black and white portrait of myself because I prefer the mood it gives.


Sometimes it’s nice to compare Black and White portraits to Colour Portraits. I’ve taken four headshots taken in my studio and compared them in colour and black and white.

You need to consider:

  • Does colour add anything to the image?
  • What are you wanting to say with the portrait?
  • Is the lighting and use of texture going to be compelling enough for a black and white image?
  • Does Black and White simplify the image in a positive way?
  • Is colour becoming a distraction to the subject of the portrait?

It is most effective to view them side by side:

 What is your opinion?

My personal work is primarily in colour. I love colour so much and I heavily discuss it in terms of clothing in another blog post. I believe it is a great way to express, to tie an image together, and to show realism within a character. Furthermore, I primary shoot to show an honest representation of how I see a person.

But I do love black and white images, and when a client requests a black and white portrait I won’t blink twice! Black and white can really emphasise dynamic lighting and emphasise form, contrast and texture. As I said above, one of my own headshots is a black and white image, and I believe it is a stronger image that way. It comes down to the overall intention and personal preference.

What do you think? Which images above, if any, do you prefer as a Black and White Portrait and why?

This Headshot is one of my favourite black and white images that I have taken:

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