This is my annual series of “THE ART OF BLACK AND WHITE”, and now it is issue #7. This is a collection of some of the best black and white photos found on the internet in the last few months, from some of the most talented photographers in the world. I said last year that the interest in black and white has been developing for some time now, and this year the photos collected are the most amazing photos I’ve had to date. Congratulations to the photographers who’s photo was chosen for this presentation.

As far as how I pick these photos, here is some of the criteria I look for:

  • The photo must have good contrast, and have excellent blacks and whites.
  • Would this photo look better in black and white, than in color.
  • For facial pictures or portraits, the exposure must be perfect. No washed out tones and the greys are very nice.
  • Some black and white photos tell a story, and it can be best told in black and white.

With that in mind, here is this years winning photos:

Here is an exceptional black and white photo, but, it’s color, but, it’s story is something you can’t pass up. I have never really had a photo, that is technically color, but, represents black and white so well. The meaning and thought to this photo is powerul. The photographer: Matheus Viana, who regularly posts his photos on Pexels.com, has some talent in his photography, and should be recognized.
Photographer Attila Hangyasi has come up with a wonderful portrait of this fine man. This black and white of this fine man struck me as one portrait that nailed it on exposure. The exposure is so right on. Plus, the pose is just so nice. I don’t usually pick a lot of portraits for this presentation, but, there is some real good ones this year. To see more of Atilla’s great photos, go to his FACEBOOK web page: https://www.facebook.com/attila.hangyasi.121
This photograph of this beautiful girl was also taken by Attila Hangyasi. I was curious if he was just lucky with one good photo of the older man, but, it appears he has black and white portraiture down to an art. Good exposure, nice grey tones. Certainly worth seeing two great photos from him. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/attila.hangyasi.121 to see more of his work.
Photo by PAUL ANTHONY WILSON (c). Now I know elephants are grey in color, but, to get this photo of the two elephants together was a job in itself. I really like how detailed the elephants skin is. It just makes you want to reach out and pet them. The black background was what really set this photo off. It just made this a winning photo. Paul Anthony Wilson has mastered his photography skill and has his own website. You should see some more of his photos. Please go to: http://www.paulanthonywilson.co.uk Great job Anthony!
Photo by Jim Miller (c). This photo is just amazing. Look at the rain in this photo. That is something that takes skill to create this type of photo. But, the composition is so good. Jim is a great photographer, and this is his second appearance in this series. He had another amazing photo in last years presentation. You can see his and other photos from other photographer by going to: https://123photogo.com/gallery/. Thanks Jim for always coming through.
Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels Photos. This black and white photo was chosen because of the guitar being vintage, and then the photographer had the mindset to put it up against an old door and a very old looking floor. It just takes a current photo, and made it look old. Congratulations Jessica, this was well done.
Photo taken by Lanny Cottrell photography. This black and white photo, compared to the color version is about the same. That is what makes some winter photos do so well in black and white. Other than a slight tint to the wood, they are almost identical. The contrast between black and white is amazing for sure, and makes this winter photo look delightful.
Photo by Herman Van Bon (c). An animal done as a perfect portrait, I love the face on this sheep, and how it makes you just want to maybe keep your distance. The detail of the face, and then to vignette the photo, I think, makes it a real class photo. He lives in Napier, Western Cape, South Africa, and has developed an amazing talent in photography. He has his own website, and if you want to see more great photos, you really need to go to his website and check them out: http://hermanvanbon.com
Photo by Steve Brown (c). This long exposure of the mountain stream is really nice in black and white. Normally, I wouldn’t pick this type of photo in black and white, but, this one was just nice. The blur of water in the stream, the leaves in the stream and along the banks of the stream, just seemed beautiful in black and white. Thanks Steve for sharing your talent.
Photo by Javant Kalkarni and was displayed on Pexels website. There is such a popularity of this type of photography. The simple photo with lots of background is really nice. This is the type of photography that is going on the walls now. This photo is way awesome because you can see the story behind a couple of men on a boat, whether they are fishing or not, it just seems to grab you, and draw your eyes to the main subject. It is done very well.
Photo by Jaoa Cabral from the Pexels web site. Fog and misty photos are really good in black and white. This just is one great example. The color seems to be taken away because the light is so subdued. And the subject in the photo is placed to tell as story. I have a feeling that wherever this is, it’s very typical of this weather.
This is another photo from Joao Cabral. Pexels is a great site to capture good, new young aspiring photographers. This photo is of fog again. I think maybe Joao is fascinated with these types of photos, because he is very good at them.
Photo by Kayln Kostov. The reason this photo was chosen, is because the exposure is real good with this, plus, the freckles on this person, in black and white are amazing. I think a portrait of a person with freckles is just amazing, and the person doesn’t need to be shy about having them either. Is there anyone who doesn’t like freckles? This is just a wonderful portrait.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels. This is a photo that works really good on black and white. The good contrast, the subject material, the expression on the person’s face all contribute to this wonderful photo. I don’t think I want to be kicked by him.
Photo by David Pearce (c). From looking over David’s Facebook website, it appears that this is a walk he takes often. And I can see why. This natural foggy scene, with those beautiful trees, are just spectacular in this kind of weather. The fog on this one photo is nice because it’s just thick enough to create a wonderful fade to white. A great capture of this weather. Thanks David.
Photo by Todd Trapani. I have seen photos of this site many times, but most people don’t take the time to get different angles of this monument. And I really just liked to see that a photographer was willing to beyond the norm, and get a photo of this monument from an angle that we don’t normally see. Now you can get an idea of just how rugged this area is, and besides it being a famous tourist site, makes this interesting photo.
Photo by Nika Akin from Pexels. We have all seen photos like this before from older photography. The exposure is spot on, because you have perfect blacks, and perfect highlights. This was done on purpose to lighten the image on the half of the face. Hardly any grey tones to this photo, but, this one works. It just makes the model more mysterious this way. This is a technique that only works when done this way. Very well done. And it’s good to see the talent put forward on this.

This concludes this year’s ART OF BLACK AND WHITE, VOLUME 7. Thanks to those who let me use their photos. You have amazing talent and perhaps we may use your photos again.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Winning Photos from new Photographers !

You know we usually put on the Photos of the week, images of flowers, mountains, etc. But there is a new wave of photographers out there that are taking some incredible photos as well. Definitely worthy to be photos of the week. But, there ideas and thoughts that go in to their photography seems exciting and different. And this is the place to show the great stuff they are doing. Let’s go!

Photo by Lanny Cottrell, this is a night photo, and the only light in this picture is from the street lights, or foliage lighting
Photo by Lanny Cottrell, photo taken at night time, in a parking lot. The spotlight was accentuated by the misty night air.

cottage in forest among trees in daytime
Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com
happy woman with flying hair on river coast
Photo by Tatiana Twinslol on Pexels.com
silhouette of person holding glass mason jar
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com
crop woman with translucent veil
Photo by Francesca Zama on Pexels.com
adventure beautiful boardwalk bridge
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
cold dark eerie environment
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
light landscape sky sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
mirror fragments on gray surface with the reflection of a person s arm
Photo by Thiago Matos on Pexels.com


As photographers, even if you are a landscape photographer, you will eventually take pictures of people, whether it be your own family, or just a friend because they know you have a real camera. Well, even though this article is probably written for portrait photographers, we can all learn something about taking pictures of people, and in this case: what to do with those hands. If you put them in the wrong place, it looks pretty phony, and like you don’t know what you are doing. The placement of hands is almost more critical than how they smile (or don’t smile).

This article written by: Kent Dufalt for Picture / Correct is just an awesome article and I wanted to share this with you:

There are three modes of non-verbal communication in humans.

The first and most apparent is facial expression, including using our eyes and mouths.

The second is body language—how we position ourselves.

The third is our hands.

hands in photography
rom left: Photos by Cristian Newman, Kent Dufault and KTMD Entertainment

Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century German philosopher, has an excellent quote about hands. “The hand is the visible part of the brain,” he said. This phrase should be on the mind of every photographer who takes pictures of people.

Pay Attention to the Hands

Photographers tend to pay a lot of attention to the face, but sometimes pay little attention to body language, and even less toward their subject’s hands.

Here are some photography tips for shooting people in such a way that incorporates their hands, including do’s and dont’s.

Photo by Trevor Cole

Don’t place a subject’s hand close to the face, unless it frames the face or provides context to the expression.

In the example photo above, the subject’s hand attracts as much visual attention as the face itself, if not more. This may have been a jewelry shoot to showcase her rings, but if the prominence of her hands was not intentional, then the effect is often distracting.

how to place hands in photos
Photo by David Alvarado

When appropriately positioned, and with good lighting, hands can accentuate a face. They can provide an eye-catching frame that forces a viewer’s eyes right toward the subject of the portrait.

hand in photos examples
From top: Photos by Hichem Dahmani and Allef Vinicius

Keep the hands close to, or parallel to, the body. Placing one or both hands closer to the camera than the rest of the body rarely works out—unless you’re going for a unique effect.

hands in pockets photos good or bad
Photo by Michael Afonso

It is equally important not to let your subject push their hands all the way into their pockets—they will simply disappear.

An old trick used by wedding photographers is to have a subject hook just their thumbs into their pockets, while leaving the rest of their hands hanging on the outside of their pants. Another option is to have the subject slide the last three fingers into the pocket while keeping the thumb and forefinger exposed.

You may be wondering, why place their hands in their pockets at all?

The reason is simple and mostly psychological: when photographing subjects who are uneasy or not used to being in front of the camera, giving them something to do with their hands will often relax them.

how to pose subjects hands in photos
Photo by Nick Karvounis

When posing the hands, you must also take into account the framing of your picture. Is it a headshot? Is it a half body shot? Maybe it is a full-figure shot? The placement of the hands will change based upon the amount of body you include in your picture.

This last example photo is a perfect use of hands in a portrait. Here’s why:

  1. They don’t distract from the subject’s face.
  2. The hand placement provides a balance to the composition by giving some shape and contrast against the dark coat in the lower part of the frame.
  3. The body language of the arms and hands matches the expression of the subject’s face.
  4. Her ring becomes a small focal point, helping to tell a story about the subject’s sense of style and perhaps her personality.

About the Author:
Kent DuFault is an author and photographer with over 35 years of experience. He’s currently the director of content at the online photography school, Photzy.

Here’s some more portraits using hands.

woman sitting and smiling
Photo by Guilherme Almeida on Pexels.com
photo of person covered by red headscarf
Photo by Adam Sabljaković on Pexels.com
man in gray suit
Photo by emre keshavarz on Pexels.com
cheerful young black female leaning on hands
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Which is more important: Lighting or Composition?

I have been a photographer for a long time. I have worked in camera stores for 20 years, helping people understand photography. And then this question pops up today: WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT: LIGHTING OR COMPOSITION?

That is a very good question. Because without good lighting, you can’t have good composition. And good composition can’t be any good if the subject is not lit up correctly.

I am going to show you how lighting was the key to several photos, but, in these cases, composition was good, only because lighting helped create these amazing photos.

asphalt dark dawn endless
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Using some of my friends from Pexel Photos, I am using this photo as a lesson in lighting. Answer these questions with me, and see if you agree: 1- Is this good composition? 2- Does lighting play an important role in the success of this photo? 3- Would this photo be so good if it didn’t have this lighting? All good questions, but, it goes back to the important lesson good photographers learn somewhere along the way. And because I am so involved in these blogs, I understand more than ever, how important it is to see a good photo. It is an art. And it takes 10,000 photos you have to take before you really learn to SEE a good photo (said a professional photographer once). In this photo above, I think this photographer was just driving down the road, and noticed the incredible lighting, and stopped and captured this photo.

photo of people reaching each other s hands
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This photo was one of the most beautiful photos taken in the last little while. And the lighting is rather flat. Not exciting. But, if the light hadn’t been perfect on these hands, the message would not be the same. This is a beautiful photo of hands that has made a wonderful statement in the last year.

As landscape artists, we are told that the best time of day to get really good photos of landscapes, is to either go early in the morning or late afternoon to get the most dramatic photos of your landscape. Would this photo above be the same if it was shot at noon? No, definitely not. The shadows, the side lighting is what totally makes this photo. If you have ever been here, taken a photo at noon, you would be severely disappointed in your photos. But, if you got up early in the morning, when you have the long shadows, then you will always have a winner.

woman in white clothing touching her face
Photo by Yuliya Kosolapova on Pexels.com
woman with veil on head in studio
Photo by Владимир Васильев on Pexels.com

If you are a portrait photographer, in order for you to be successful in portrait photos, you have to know and see lighting better than the average photographer. The question you may run in to, as a portrait photographer, is: Would this portrait be more dramatic with the whole room full of lights, or just one light? Here above, are two portraits taken with just a minimal amount of lights. The first photo, involves two lights, one in blue to shine on the back of the model, and then the yellow light in front. So, basically, on the face…. just one light. This second portrait, only one light was used. Knowing how to get that lighting so perfect was an art. We call this “Rembrandt Lighting”. A very beautiful lighting technique, that uses 1 light, and have it give you that triangle of light on the one side of the face. Do you see it? That is what you need to see in all photos: the perfect light.

symmetrical photography of clouds covered blue sky
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

What makes this photo so great? If you just had the lake and the mountain in the photo, would it be so good? No, I don’t think so. The lighting from the sunset is what makes this photo so spectacular. And without this light, it would, in my book, only be a 2 or 3 (rating it from 1 to 10, and 10 being the best). But, with light, and the different color of light, this photo is close to a 10, I think.

So, what is the priority in photography? Lighting or Composition? I will pick lighting first. You can have great composition on a photo, but, without the proper lighting, composition is nothing.

two person riding boat on body of water
Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

I hope by even looking at this photo, that you now see what light will do to get an amazing photo. Start by looking at things with special lighting on it, and practice “seeing” a photo. You will notice right away, that light is so important.

Article written by Lanny Cottrell, Editor, author of 123PhotoGo.