Black & White Competition Photo Tips from George of A Images

Since our Black & White Competition is currently running on, we thought we would ask one of our experts for some tips on how photographers can make the most of your B&W images.

George of A Images (OMP Member #4921) has shot images over 20 years, and has consistently displayed incredible imagery on his OMP portfolio. He gives us some valuable suggestions on the planning, creation and editing process of black and white photographs. George relates the following advice:

I have often been asked how I create many of my glamour B&W images.  I usually start with a color image because it gives more latitude in the creative process, and I then convert to B&W through Photoshop.  Actually, my conversion approach is very simple and I am sure it is used by the majority of today’s working photographers:

1.) First, and most importantly, choose to work with a model who can charm the viewer.

2.) Make sure to properly expose the image.  To avoid unsightly shadows, best to have a nice soft light source (I often use an inexpensive umbrella), in front of the model or slightly off to the side.  Of course, you can make the shot more dramatic but adding side and/or back lighting, but for the image depicted above only one light was used.

3.) Crop the image for maximum impact.

4.) Avoid using  “grayscale mode” feature (it does not afford much control).  First go to image>adjustments>channel mixer and sample the “presets” to get an idea as to the effect desired.

5.) Then manipulate the sliders in the channel mixer to achieve the desired results.

6.) Finally, consider adding some grain, and or, a glow by clicking on file>filter gallery to enhance the image

The result is hopefully a pleasing black and white glamour image.

About the Artist: George’s interest in the photographic arts came from an unlikely source. “Many years ago, I was chatting with my girlfriend’s father, and we discussed his passion for photography. He noticed I had an interest, so he proceeded to retrieve his favorite camera, a Nikon F. He showed me all the settings, told me what to consider when shooting, and provided sample images. He then gave me an old rangefinder camera — I think it was a 35mm Petri — and I was forever hooked!” Subsequently, school and varies jobs occupied his time, but George continued to shoot, and effortlessly making the transition from shooting friends to professional models.”

He first discovered and signed up for One Model Place back in 2001. “I had just completed a shoot and while looking through the images, I was told I should consider posting some of my photos on some of the popular model websites. She thought my images looked good, and said it would be fun and that I would receive some valuable comments. When I asked which site to join, she recommended One Model Place. Initially, I was hesitant, but I decided to post some shots, and ever since I stayed with OMP. “

While George still considers photography more of a hobby than a career, he feels that OMP has given him the opportunity to meet some wonderful models and photographers. “The models, in particular, have helped me improve my photo skills and shape my image style. Actually, my image success is due solely to their creative talents and supportive efforts.”

He recalls getting his first Showcase image and his record-breaking 501st. “In the beginning, I just posted some basis fine art photos on One Model Place, and one day I noticed the Showcase designation next to one of my images. I really paid no attention to it until, while surfing the site, a photographer or model commented on the Showcase concept. So I again checked out my page and saw the designation. I was pleased, and thought it was real cool! In fact, it was a shot of the model who had suggested I post on OMP.

George wanted to full circle when selecting which image to upload for his potential portfolio-topping 501st photo. “Regarding my last Showcase image, I posted another image of the same model. I thought I would be nice to start and close with her images, but the OMP folks did not go for it. I then decided to do something a little different (I usually shoot fine art nudes/glamour) using available light in a shower. I was lucky because the model I wanted to shoot was available. She was perfect. I really had nothing to do with the shot, she did it all — the pose, movement, emotion. I just stood there, pointed the camera, and shot. The result was Showcase number 501.”

Choosing which OMP models he has enjoyed working with the most proves to be difficult for George, who has had so many amazing muses over the years. “Answering this question is difficult. Each model contributes something different and meaningful, and I try to enhance the effect by showing the beauty/mood/emotion the model projects. Probably my OMP profile speaks for itself. There are many images posted for just a handful of models. Obviously, those images tell the story. If you view the profile you can readily see which models have impacted my image style the most. In fact, I have enjoyed working with all of the OMP models posted in my profile.

“But I will mention one, Dorothy OMP Model #2720 . I have been shooting with her continually over 7 years, and every time the results are outstanding — mainly due to her efforts. Not only is she a great model, she is also a wonderful person who brings something very special to the process. She has also introduced me to several other wonderful models who have contributed immensely to my imagery. Honestly, I could not have reached the 501 mark without her assistance.”

He offers some insightful words of advice for photographers who are just starting out. “Carefully study the beauty surrounding us all. Examine various lighting situations. Listen to what your models have to say — I find letting them express themselves works best. Try not to compromise your objectives. Listen to constructive criticism and adjust accordingly. Practice, practice, practice. And most importantly be professional…or else you will never work with quality models.”

The Staten Island-based photographer admits that even he does not know the secret formula to getting a Showcase image on OMP. “I haven’t a clue! I guess, it is the one image which, when viewed, causes nearly everyone to reflect and think ‘Damn, I wish I took that shot!’”

George wants to express his gratitude to the staff and administrators of One Model Place for supporting and encouraging both him and his work over the years. But now that his portfolio is completely filled, he is trying to figure out what his next step is. “I would like to thank OMP for giving me the forum to display my images and enabling me to interact with some really great photographers/models. However, I am not sure as to what to do now!”

Image by George of A Images OMP Member #4921

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