How to Photograph Black Clothing (For Brighter Photographers)

Business, For Photogs

September 3, 2019

I’ve always kind of been a bright photographer, and then once I found my style a few years in, I was consistently the style I display now. Which if you’re new here is bright, bold and colorful.
When I first started photography I would tell clients to stay away from wearing black to sessions. I was convinced I could never get it to photograph well. It would look great on a RAW, non-edited image and then once I started to apply my normal preset and tweaks it would suddenly be a grey or faded black… yuck. HOWEVER, a lot of clients love incorporating black clothing into their session, and as a wedding photographer you are more than likely to photograph your fair share of black suits. So instead of learning to avoid it, learn how to fix it.

How to Photograph Black Clothing for Bright Photographers - Business Education - Brooke Michelle Photography

For me, I edit almost always 100% in Lightroom. Unless it’s a real tough job I keep my images in Lightroom and avoid pulling them into photoshop. So to fix my rather dull blacks, I created a brush in Lightroom to brush the black fabrics and make them the true dark tones they deserve to be… adding back that pop to the image!
Below is my exact brush I use to get the darks back to their natural, in real life state. The only thing that changes is the exposure (depending on the lighting and image situation I am working with at the moment).

How to Photograph Black Clothing for Bright Photographers - Business Education - Brooke Michelle Photography

To create a brush in Lightroom you simply hover to the far, far right under the Histogram and click on the brush tool. You then hit new (directly under the brush icon), set your settings and sliders as desired. And once you habe your brush as you wish you hit the dropdown menu where it will now say “Custom,” scroll to the very bottom of the list and hit “Save Current Settings as New Preset.”
AND BAM, your brush is ready to be used time and time again.

How to Photograph Black Clothing for Bright Photographers - Business Education - Brooke Michelle Photography

Using the brush technique only usually takes me an additional few minutes to edit a gallery, or maybe an hour if it’s an entire wedding we are talking about. But as you can see, it creates a much more dramatic and true to life image that is much prettier to admire and look at.

How to Photograph Black Clothing for Bright Photographers - Business Education - Brooke Michelle Photography

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  1. Carter

    September 4th, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Ahh thank you Brooke!! You’re a gem for sharing your specific brush settings! I’m actually pretty excited to test it out. This is definitely going to be a useful tool.

  2. Brooke Jackson

    September 6th, 2019 at 9:37 am

    YAY! I am so excited! Let me know how it works for you!

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