Monochrome Magic - part 2 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Published 01/10/2004


Image preparation

Whether you shoot digital or scan emulsions, the first tip is to use the highest bit depth that you have available to preclude problems with banding and posterisation downstream in the workflow. For digital shooting go for RAW files so that you can bring out a 16 bit colour image for conversion to mono. Converting to a different mode always loses digital information so take care when doing so - certainly beware of going back and forth from one mode to another unless you have to! Starting from a colour RGB image there are a number of routes to a mono image.You will find many ways of converting and different experts will favour different methods. Suffice to say that the best method is the one which achieves the result you prefer at the speed you need. If you only require modest control simple hit the Desaturate button. If you want full control follow the Channel Mixer or double HSB route described here. Within all of the methods you have the option of obtaining or writing an action or droplet to automatically process large numbers of images.


Wet monochrome printers have always toned their prints for colour, longevity, increased Dmax or combinations of all three. There are a number of ways of achieving a tone to an image. Bear in mind that applying a single overriding tone to an image can enhance it but in addition may also mask any deficiencies in your printer profiles and grey linearistion.

The main methods are as follows:
Adjust using Hue Saturation and Brightness
Adjust using large values in the Colour Balance
Convert the RGB image to Grayscale and then Duo
Tone itSepia tone using default Photoshop actionSepia tone in the printer driverSepia tone in camera

If you want to match a print to a specific tone then using duo tones is a good way of achieving this as you can pick a specific Pantone as your toning colourant.To some extent you can also choose the hue value that you colourise to in the HSB Dialogue.


Infra Red

Infrared films are sensitive deep into that end of the electromagnetic spectrum and have been used for scientific imaging and medical research for years. As ever with creative people, it did not take long for somebody to try it out away from the laboratory and to start producing images with a very different look to them. Most good books on Photoshop and most magazines routinely set out how to achieve an infrared look to an image. Remember that a digital detector of a camera is more sensitive to infrared and you can often utilise this quirk in creating an infrared image. The additional sensitivity is sometimes filtered out by a special filter in the camera so you have to experiment. However the image by Tony Galic which heads this feature is a classic example and was made using a Nikon Coolpix 990 with a red filter taped over the lens - a triumph of creative thinking over expansive technology the image has been taken into the permanent collection of the PPA, won the Best Wedding Portrait, was a major award winner for this year's Professional Photographers of Canada print competition and was picked as a monthly award winner by our own Terry Hansen. We let Tony describe its creation in his own words

"Andree's Day was taken two weeks prior to the Wedding Day. It's what I call a Pre-Bridal photo session. A week or two before the wedding I offer the brides a couple hours of my time to photograph them before their wedding day. This way it gives them more options for their wedding album, also it guarantees me great shots of the bride without all the stress from the actual wedding day. For wedding and portrait photography I usually use my Fuji FinePix S2 Pro but I always carry my Nikon Coolpix 990 equipped with a red filter for infra red effect for specialty shots just like this one. The camera was set on black & white and fine mode on the Program setting. The bride was standing on a big rock overlooking the water. The sky was overcast with perfect cloud formation. The setting was perfect for the subject."

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1st Published 01/10/2004
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