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vibrant color? or dramatic black & white? | San Antonio Headshot Photographer

That is the question. I’ve talked about b&w vs. color before and it really is something I love. I take my saturation slider down in RAW on every single image I shoot. Just to see. Sometimes, the b&w moves me. Sometimes it’s the color that I love most of all. & I usually have a very clear favorite. I almost always know how I will process the instant I press the shutter button.

Color is beautiful. Sometimes the tones strongly influence the mood of the image. The warm sunny glow of early evening. The rosy cheeks of a toddler. The perfect pink rosebud lips of a newborn. But sometimes, it’s really distracting. Or bad. Or off. It sure is beautiful, when done well. I am known for photographing newborns in vibrant color, and that is how I like them. It is extremely difficult & I love the challenge.

But black & white is simply…breathtaking. It is about emotion. Feeling. Passion. Depth. I think deep down my love leans towards black & white imagery because they are hard to do well. Harder than color, I’d venture to say (unless we’re talking newborns) because b&w’s require a connection. Something between the subject & the photographer that makes the subject comfortable enough to be vulnerable & authentic. Then you really get to see them–in the absence of color & in the presence of emotion.

Which brings me to Michelle. The stunningly beautiful Michelle. Nowlin referred her to me, as she was looking for some new headshots for her business. She is Anthropologie‘s Personal Shopper at the La Cantera location. (To reach Michelle, you can call the store directly, or email her at The instant I met her, we hit it off. She is warm and gentle and kind. You can see it in her eyes. But she is also STUNNING. & she was up for letting me experiment. So we spent a half hour together last week & I tested my new toy, the lensbaby composer & it was magic. Pure magic. Michelle, I hope you love these images as much as I do. I love the color just as much as the black & whites…so you are getting them all. I think you’ll find it is nearly impossible to pick a favorite–but the first one–in color– gets my vote. You are gorgeous!

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The two images above were my first real shoot with my lensbaby composer. I am developing a very quick love for the nifty little thing. It’s hard to master, and I am not ready to use it on a moving subject, but boy, do I love it. Who knew a $250 lens could be so awesome! (thanks to my BFF & her birthday recon efforts!!!)


I have the most beautiful clients. Seriously.


& just in case you were wondering, I do headshot sessions every so often. They are treated as mini sessions & I shoot for 20-30 minutes & you get 5 digital images, printable up to 8×10 & web ready. This is the only time I shoot anything but newborns & are intended for business professionals for marketing purposes. Headshots are essential to brand success & an online identity is SO IMPORTANT. I love seeing my clients using my images around the internet! :)

undefined So at the end of the day…what does it for you? black & white? or color? I just can’t decide…

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  • Heather F. - I personally love black and white. While I am not a photographer or master editor, I find that when I have a photo of myself that is just a little off, the simplest edit of color -> b&w makes me so happy with the image.ReplyCancel

  • nowlin roberts - WOW…I love the shoot! I especially love the last two on this post. Shawna, you are amazing…Michelle you are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Drea - I love both :) – but lately ive been a fan of color more.
    Ive been playing with my lensbaby too, so fun. Which size AP. did you use on those 1st few images? Ive played with the 2.8 and 4, but thought abt going up to the 5 today.ReplyCancel

  • Lacie - I love the black & white images. Her eyes just sparkle in them. The colors are beautiful, but B&W seems classic to me in these pics. :)ReplyCancel

  • - Wow, these are gorgeous shots! I am a black and white kind of girl so those are my favorite…just because they are so timeless and beautiful. Very classic. They are all beautiful shots though!
    Star Hughes LivingReplyCancel

  • Beth McDonough - yep… still love both. :) now, tell us non-photographers … what the heck is a lensbaby besides a cutely named $250 lens?ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - ha–it’s a manual selective focus lens. So…it only applies sharp focus to one specific spot in the image, which you manually set by turning the ring on the lens & tilting the lens to where you want the focus point to be. It’s like a ball & socket, so you literally turn the lens. aperture is different too–you change it with a magnetic device & that determines how much of the image is in/out of focus. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Hi Shawna~

    I’m a long time reader, and I’ve asked you a few questions from time to time. These pictures absolutely gorgeous; I’m having a hard time choosing either as my favorite, the b&w or color, that is.

    I believe I’ve asked you this prior, but what type of software do you use for editing? I’m looking into Elements, since it’s a cheaper option and I really only do photos for myself and my family.

    Also, I have the Canon Rebel EOS T2i and I’m looking for great close-up shots that I can get a blur with. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks so much… and keep shooting; you are a natural, that’s for sure.


    • -shawna- - hey Sar! Elements is a great starting place. I use CS4, but that is not essential for a beginner. The blur is called aperture. Read up on that & you’ll be able to achieve what you are looking for! I always shoot wide open. :) Thank you for the kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Erin W. - The B&W’s are the best on these IMP! They look great, good job!ReplyCancel

  • Molly at Anthromollogies - Shawna, these images of Michelle are truly breathtaking. Of course, I already know how gorgeous she is IRL…not to mention friendly, gracious, sincere, and patient. And her style sense is fantastic. So glad she’s a personal shopper now! You’ve really captured her beauty with ease and grace.ReplyCancel

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