A Quick And Dirty Fun Black And White Portrait Collage Tutorial

I seldom do black and white shots but my girlfriend found a shot in the internet of Chris Hemsworth (I know, I know….) and I needed to take my shot at it. So here is quick tutorial on a very simple, quick and cool black and white portrait shot.

B&W Portrait

What you need:

  • A flash (for this I used a 160watts studio strobe)
  • A Diffuser
  • A Camera (duh)

How to do it:

I guess this is not the best black and white conversion method that you can find out there, consider this more of a in camera fun and games. The first thing to do is to change the camera settings to monochrome . I am using Nikon, but the Canon or Sony (or any other camera) steps are very similar. Next, adjust the contrast to its highest setting.


For the background I used a white seamless paper (with the hopes that Amazon will let this one slide) because I wanted a really high contrast shot, but you can use any light colored wall. Placed your subject really close to the background – this will create a little bit of shadow of the subject in the background – not too much.

Place your lights on the camera axis above the model. I placed a studio strobe with a shoot thru umbrella above me, pointing 45 degrees downwards towards the model. The power of the strobe was at the lowest power. To fill in the shadows, place a reflector just beneath the model (( used an illustration board).

You can use whatever you want for triggering, I used the optical slave on the studio strobe which was triggered by the on camera flash set at 1/64. My camera was set to 1/160, f4 – 5.6, ISO 200

Setup Shot

Took multiple photos of the subject (more than I need just to make sure I have extra photos). Make sure to give plenty of directions and keep changing poses. A way to turn this into a game is to ask the model to change a pose each time they hear the recycle beep.


Choose the shots you want to make a collage from. I used photoshop to open one picture, and when using the crop tool I expanded the white parts of the frame so I have enough space to place the pictures next to each other. Of course any other graphic program will do.

photoshop crop'

You can use guidelines to make sure that you align the pictures correctly. (simply drag a line from the top or side ruler to create a guideline)

Guidelines in photoshop

Then it was just dragging and dropping the pictures until I got my final shot.

photoshop done


Final Shots

B&W Portrait



Lucas B&W

  • http://www.joacimschwartz.com/ Joacim Schwartz

    For a simpler way to make a collage, use the Tych Panel 2 plugin. Just a few clicks and seconds, then it’s done!