As with most processes in Photoshop, there’s more than one way to achieve a desired look. Black and white image conversions are no exception. Whether you add a black and white layer, utilize a plugin like Silver Efex Pro 2, or dare I even suggest resort to merely desaturating the image, the possibilities are abundant.
When it comes to portraits, two major factors determine how good a lens is for many photographers and they are focal length and aperture. Generally speaking, many photographers prefer to have a relatively long focal length with a wide aperture as this helps with both the framing of the shot and also the kind of background blur you can achieve.
To be a good portrait photographer, you of course need to have solid lighting and shooting skills, but that's not all of it. Being a great portraitist take a strong ability to connect with your subjects, and this great video investigates why empathy is the key to doing that.
Monte Isom is a super successful commercial photographer based out of New York City. However, before he made a career of his own, he assisted some of the biggest names in the photography world. In this video he recaps his experience shooting the president of the United States of America.