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Why we like monochrome photographs.

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keith selmes
26 Jul 2012 - 8:27 PM

Quote: all my prints were monochrome and all my digital images were colour.

Have to think that one over. At first glance, I don't think it makes a difference to me.

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26 Jul 2012 - 8:27 PM

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Gaucho e2 Member 122305 forum postsGaucho vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jul 2012 - 11:44 PM

Keef, welcome and please do stay.

27 Jul 2012 - 4:35 AM

I have absolutely no doubt that because your average every day snap is in colour now, we do see mono as being a niche and arty thing and somewhat selective and considered. I agree that had we started with colour and mono had taken over as the joe public's image of choice we would see more colour in galleries etc as a form of diversion from public conformity and mass appeal if nothing else - but also monochrome does offer a style and expression that can never be conveyed in colour for many reasons, just like for some other images colour can only adequately represent an image to its full impact and perfect expression. In short, my backside has splinters as I am fence-sitting by saying two arguments have validity.

Gypsyman  4659 forum posts England
27 Jul 2012 - 3:57 PM

I press a button and my little compact camera gives me a coloured image A snap shot, I hope one day to produce a Photograph and I feel the
best way for me to do that is to change one of my snap shots into a good B&W copy, that is why I am here, I am still trying. Eric.

Carabosse e2 Member 1139544 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jul 2012 - 4:12 PM

Quote: change one of my snap shots into a good B&W copy

Open up the image in Photoshop or any other imaging software and hit the B/W button! Simple as that.

Obviously you can play about with the sliders etc, until you get the effect you want. But it isn't hard. Smile

psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
27 Jul 2012 - 4:44 PM

OK getting back to the original thread, my twopenneth worth...

All my images start as colour RAW files but some of them I see from the beginning as colour images, primarily due to the colours in the image. Some of them I see as mono images, mainly because I can see potential textures, patterns or contrasts in the image and sometimes just because even the colour image is virtually monochrome from the start (though depending on the colour sometimes they're better in colour or colour toned). I don't believe every image will look good in mono or vice-versa and I don't believe in trying to rescue a poor image by converting it to mono or any other effect (there's a saying about "now matter how much you polish..." Wink ).

I think removing the colour from an image allows you to concentrate on the other elements: composition, detail, tone, structure, balance and flow.

I love both colour and mono images, although I've noticed that the majority of my "better" images are mono but not through any deliberate decision! I'd also agree that I think mono tends not to work very well for me as a projected image though both mono or colour work as prints.


Last Modified By psiman at 27 Jul 2012 - 4:45 PM
TanyaH Critique Team 11587 forum postsTanyaH vcard United Kingdom48 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jul 2012 - 5:12 PM

Quote: ****er I've joined another group Grin

Quote: Oh, I seem to have joined a group. Didn't mean to do that.

See ... lure people into a discussion about the old mono v colour argument, and we get new group members. Excellent idea!

Rather than going into some of the very technical and theoretical reasons that others have illustrated above (mostly 'cos I haven't got a clue what to write ...) all I'm going to say is that colour is like the whole modern culture of t*ts and b*ms on display in so much of today's media (and elsewhere) - it's a case of we look, but because we're so exposed to it (no pun intended) we no longer see it. Whereas mono is like a woman or a man with clothes on ... the viewer has to look much harder and with more imagination in order to make sense of it.


Last Modified By TanyaH at 27 Jul 2012 - 5:13 PM
Gypsyman  4659 forum posts England
27 Jul 2012 - 8:07 PM

Carabosse, you write -- Open up the image in Photoshop or any other imaging software and hit the B/W button! Simple as that.
My Photoshop 7. does not have a B/W button. Eric.

Carabosse e2 Member 1139544 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jul 2012 - 12:46 AM

I'm sure it is there, within one of the menus, even if it is not a button, Eric. Smile

psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
28 Jul 2012 - 9:21 AM


I'm pretty sure that PS7 doesn't have a convert to B+W option only Convert to Greyscale which is less than ideal. I suggest you continue using the Channel Mixer technique that you've been using. The more modern versions of Photoshop now have a lot more Mono conversion options.


cats_123 e2 Member 104029 forum postscats_123 vcard Northern Ireland25 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jul 2012 - 9:23 AM

Within lightroom you just hit the `V' key (shortcut)

Does this work?

Quote: Photoshop CS 3:

Image > Mode > Grayscale
Click ‘Discard’

Photoshop Elements:

Image > Mode > Grayscale
Click ‘OK’

psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
28 Jul 2012 - 9:30 AM

Hi Cats, yes they'll all work but Grayscale's probably the worst option for mono conversion . Eric only has PS7 so Channel Mixer is probably his best option.

28 Jul 2012 - 11:06 AM

Hi Eric,
As psiman says above, Greyscale's not the route that I'd take either.
Have you tried this?
A lot of what it offers is 'effects' rather than straightforward mono conversion but they can all be adjusted within the programme and many of its pre-sets make a good starting point for further editing in PS7.
I have it installed as a plug-in but it can also be used as a stand-alone.
Just a thought.

Gypsyman  4659 forum posts England
28 Jul 2012 - 11:18 AM

Bren, It does not say it is compatible with Photoshop 7. Eric.

28 Jul 2012 - 11:38 AM

You're right Eric, it won't be compatible as a plug-in for PS7.
I've just looked again and I'm wrong.
You can't use it as a stand-alone by itself, which I'd thought you could.
To use it as a 'stand-alone,' you need to instal 'Virtual Studio.' which includes 'Virtual Photographer.'
Why not give it a go?
It's a tiny programme, which won't take up any room on your computer.
I've never used it but you might find that it will allow you to do some things that you can't in PS7?

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