Let’s Party in Black and White — Jaclyn Michele

We thought we would talk to an all black and white photographer today after yesterday’s post, Jaclyn Michele.
“This was the joint birthday party of Jaxson and Abigail. Their parents went all out on decorations and even got their own little petting zoo and ponies for riding. It was a lot of fun. They are repeat clients of mine and their family is just full of good energy and laughs. Christina (mom) is a hobbyist photographer herself, and actually found me through the ClickinMoms forum last year and hired me for their family portraits.
All shot with my Leica M4 with a 35mm f/2.0 Zeiss lens. I love that lens for shooting indoors when I want to capture environmental portraits. I especially love it on my rangefinder because there is little to no distortion even all the way to the corners. I actually shot Kodak Portra 800 pushed one stop because I knew Mom would probably want a couple of the detail shots in color, but knew while I was shooting that I would be converting the rest to black and white in post production because, well, I see in black and white when I shoot and I feel like my compositions reflect that. Which is why all of the work featured on my website is black and white film! Can’t get enough of it.”
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We asked Jaclyn how she attracts clients and makes a success out of shooting only black and white:
“By showing only black and white photos on my website is the first step in attracting the right clients for my work. They are usually seeking out timeless and classic images for their family or event and are generally more drawn to the emotion and story in photographs than pretty extras. When a client contacts me, I make sure they know that their session will be 100% black and white and if they are hiring me for event coverage, I tell them that I may shoot a few frames of color throughout the day, but that I default back to my black and white and that is what the majority of their proofs would be delivered as. But really, I cannot remember the last time I had somebody ask if I could shoot color or not book me just on the basis of being a black and white shooter. Technically, I am a strong color shooter and my color work is nice. You guys have featured it on Let the Kids before! But last year a shift happened in the little creative chamber of my heart and I’ve been shooting black and white film almost exclusively since then. When I DO shoot color for those oddball requests or just because I ran out of black and white film and need to snap a few frames of my kids or other personal work, I almost always feel compelled to convert it to black and white the second I pull it into Photoshop for dust and scratch clean up. There are rolls of color film that have been sitting in my refrigerator for over a year even though I am constantly restocking my HP5+ and Delta 3200!
However, from a business perspective, I think things have changed a little bit since moving to black and white and away from color. I am booking at a lower volume, but the bookings I do get are with people who totally mesh with my personality and shooting style. Like there is a certain kind of person who is drawn to all black and white photos and we are a little bit like momentary soul mates. Okay, that was totally cheesy. But you know what I’m saying. It is a definite niche market, for sure. But once you carve out that little spot for yourself, you wouldn’t have it any other way. I also find that the clients I am attracting now seem to appreciate photography as an art more than just a periodic documentation of what their family members look like. And the type of prints and products they purchase reflect that.”

Thanks for hanging with us this week,
Wendy + Tory


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