I love black & white photography. Many non-photographers don't know that there is an artistry in black and white portrait photography that is a lot more than just pressing the desaturate button.
Way back in the old days, when we used film, there were many different kinds of black and white films stocks available. Each film stock gave the image a different feel, mood, or contrast level. Some stocks had a lot of grain or a lot of grays in the image. Others were relatively free of grain and had whites and blacks but very few grays.
These days, it's up to the photographer to choose the kind of overall treatment they want to give their black and white image in the digital darkroom. But grain, contrast, highlights, shadows, color toning, borders, dodging and burning, are just a few of the tools available to us. Above are a few examples.
The center image is the original portrait I took straight from camera. I haven't done any retouching to the portrait. The bottom image was achieved by simply desaturating the picture. Any photo editing software has a "black & white" button. It looks really blah, and is not nearly as interesting as the color image.
The top portrait is the one I delivered to the client. When I create a black and white image for a client, I am not merely punching pre-set buttons. I am toning each individual image, manipulating contrast, brightening highlights, darkening or lightening shadow areas, adding grain, and directing the viewer's eye through the image. It's very similar to how photographers toned their images by hand in the film days, just with slightly different tools
I treat each portrait like a work of art. These are images that should be displayed on the wall. They have taken me time, care, and thought as to how I want the artwork to look, and I think my clients recognize that an artist created their portrait, not a computer program.