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It’s a bit funny.

I love shooting in color. But much of my best work, according to others, is about my black and white photography!

Well, that’s partially true.

When I post images from my photo walks and especially the ones with lots or solely on flowers, they are usually quite a big hit.

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But my first big photography hit was my first shoot about 6 months after I started photography. That shoot I named “The Diva” and worked with some pretty amazing people including Fallon Siobhan as our muse for the day, Oxana Bjornsen-Gustavson as our hairstylist and makeup artist and Terrence Taylor who would be my shoot-saving assistant!

My first photo shoot and also with Fallon Siobhan.

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It was a big deal. It sort of put me on the map as someone to watch. I was invited to events and organizations I know would not have happened if it weren’t for that shoot.

My second shoot and my first with Alexis. One of my favorites.

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I know I have a sort of old-fashion, elegance and romantic vibe with my photography. So maybe that works well with my photography. I also tend to add a little grain which gives it a film and old-fashioned vibe with the images. I think a completely modern looking black and white image is totally okay. I just haven’t done one like that. Yet.

'Modern' black and white photography. Looks totally great and gorgeous. I don't even have to guess what brand this is when I see this style image in a magazine. Image: La Perla

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What I also think worked for me in the beginning with making good black and white photography was the camera itself. I still have the Canon 50D that I used for my early shoots and it only has 15MP on it. The ISO performance is quite poor. So all of this can give my images a slightly older look. Not bad. You really have to analyze images to sort of get it. But the optics are top-notch with the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4. I used that lens for years for everything except sports.

My second shoot with the talented Chalyce. Shot with my Canon 50D and and Zeiss 50mm f/1.4.

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The image below with Brooke was done with a Canon 5D MKII and the same Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 I'd been using on all my previous shoots. This was done with a 13 years-old camera and even older lens. But superior camera to my 50D. Manual focus too! It totally holds-up to today's standards.

Brooke looking awesome! Taken with the Canon 5D MK II and Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 lens.

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So now, I have a completely modern camera system and gear. So, is it harder to attain that look that I love? Not at all. Post-production on images is pretty quick and simple. As I heard a photographer professional say once: the image sort of sings to you when you nail it. Completely true.

Here, modern camera. Modern lens. The Panasonic Lumix G9 and Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. Wouldn't change a thing. Emelie with Major Models in New York City.

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But I think what’s especially important in black and white is the person you’re photographing. The way I look at it, an attractive person really can take advantage of color. They have lots to look at. But when shooting in black and white, it’s all about the person and what they are feeling. Yes, looks still matter. But I like to think someone’s spirit has to show through so much more to help make a black and white better. It’s also part on the photographer to bring that out in a person for the shoot.

It's so much more about the person in a black and white image. As Tashi shows here.

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But really, it’s about the person!

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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