honest-dark-monochrome - Intro

Written by Manuel Faessler
Hi folks!

As the pictures of this project are so well received and many of you asked me about how I've shot and processed them I want to write a little blog-series about it and explain the setups and the post-processing a little bit. If you're interessted I may even post the photoshop-action I've written for the project along with a PSD-File to explain how I've used it.

As I've mentioned a couple of times, the main goal of this project was to create a very honest and authentic series of portraits in a dark black-and-white style. I had a couple of reasons and motivations to do the project exactly as I did it. The pictures from this project can be seen here: http://www.mfphotography.at/index.php/en/photos/projects

The first reason was simply that I really like this kind of dark black-and-white style for portraits. I like the „blinding out" of all distractions like background, colors, etc. and the focusing on the person and the expression. This very deliberate reduction of possibilities to compose the picture like using color-looks or creating some kind of interaction with the environment is, what makes it special to me as it makes it more of a challenge for the photographer (my opinion) and creates pictures that are a lot more intimate and expressive because the focus is only on the face, the emotions, the expression, etc.

A second reason sure was the will to learn a lot of things. First of all I wanted to get better at shooting portraits, so the idea was to shoot as many persons as possible to learn how to „handle" all the different faces and shoot and light them as good as possible. Second, it was my first „bigger" photographic project which required a „little" bit of preparation and lots of office-work. From the concept to the preparation of the shootings, the communication with all the models, the photographing, the post-processing, the publishing, etc. everything was new for me ... I've learnt a lot and I'll sure do some things different the next time... ;-).

Another reason was, that I wanted to do something a little bit in contrast to my „regular" photographic work. My other pictures are very „staged" with professional make-up, special light set-ups, great models and elaborate post-production (including retouching, body-forming, etc.). With this project I wanted to show the people in a „honest" way ... without retouching, without bodyforming but with all wrinkles and all the rough edges that really make the people what they are. I've only retouched temporary things like skin impurities, spots on the clothing, etc. ... everything else is as it was.

And last but not least I wanted to create a series with great pictures in a style and way which I really like. I think this is a goal (my opinion and based on a lot of feedback) I've already achieved, despite the fact, that the series is still open and there will be coming more pics soon.

The following blog-posts (in this series) will mainly focus on how I shot and post-processed the photos. As a last post in this little series, I want to write a litte conclusion with my thoughts on the project as a whole.

If you have some additional questions for my, feel free to ask me. You can just comment here, write me an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or send me a message on facebook. I'll do my best to answer all your questions.

If you want me to write about a specific topic in the future please let me know. I'll be happy to write a little post about it.

And as allways: if you like this post (or not), please let me know ... spread the word, press „like", etc. I really appreciate your feedback!!!


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