In this video, Mark Wallace explains how to take high-contrast images. He also explains some key terms that you should think about when you shoot this type of portraits.
It might sound technical, but it's terms like "form," "shape," and "contrast" that really define what your photos will look like in the end, especially when you're shooting in studio. Mark discusses the position of the light and how you'll create a better-looking image with contrast if you place the light to the side, maybe at a 45° angle or even a 90° angle.
He also adds a light from the back to create shape in the hair and to separate the talent from the background, and he shows how to quickly change from a high-contrast black background shot to a white one. You'll be impressed to see how quickly and how little you have to do to have a completely different style of photograph.
Mark Wallace always creates very educational videos with Adorama, and once again, it's done in an entertaining yet informative way. The only thing I find difficult now is to invest in another light, or even two lights to really make the portraits I want to shoot sing.