Back Modifications (4)
Views: 70 (30 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Pensive Mono

By Stoxpix
Thanks for the critique Keith (Dark_Lord). As suggested here is an updated version of my previous shot (colour) - mono-fied and cropped slightly.
All constructive critiques are sincerely appreciated.

Tags: Black and white Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2013 9:21AM
The flash has balanced nicely with the ambient through the window. I think I would just lift the contrast a touch and lighten some shadows abit with the dodge tool. How are you converting to mono? There are various ways but that with most control within most image editors is the channel mixer. There you can control how much of each colour channel goes into each shade of grey.


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1 Dec 2013 10:47AM
Thanks Paul. I edited with Picasa which pretty much does it all for you. Coming from an AV background, l'm just now getting into stills. Quite a steep learning curve!
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2013 2:37PM
Hi Brian, welcome to the Critique Gallery, I think this is your first upload here. It's a good place to learn, particularly when you are exploring new territory.

I've been back to your portfolio, it's a very attractive portrait, nicely balanced and with life in the eyes. I like the idea of b&w here as the pink gilet draws attention away from the face in colour. Not sure about the crop though, this is a bit too 50/50 for my taste, with a strong line running down the middle. I prefer the off-set effect of the original, and the breadth of view that it allows her to gaze out at.

What this does need is a slight rotation clockwise.

I've taken the liberty of downloading the original, and I shall try my own conversion. As Paul mentions, use colour channels if you have them, in an image such as this you need to watch that skin tones don't come out as muddy-looking. Women's faces need clarity, luminosity.

It's important too to check the light balance after you have converted to b&w. A perfectly balanced colour image will not necessarily convert to a perfect b&w. B&W, unlike colour, almost always needs hints at least of true black, for depth, and true white, for vitality, sparkle. Always check the histogram after conversion, and adjust as necessary.

I'll upload a Mod in a little while.
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2022 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2013 4:30PM
I agree that mono works best for this image, Brian, as it tends to enhance the emotional substance. Mono conveys the simple, raw emotion of people in a way that colour can't. It's good for bringing a story into a shot.

For some reason, I didn't notice the lady's reflection in the window until I saw Moira's modification.

I kept being drawn to the overhead light just above the lady's head, so I took Moira's mod and simply cleaned the top left corner so that there is nothing to distract the eye from the face (see my mod).

banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3890 Canada
1 Dec 2013 4:47PM
Down load Gimp. Much better product and also free.

banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3890 Canada
1 Dec 2013 5:13PM
Im not convinced that mono is better, - its different.

Going back to the original upload, I have taken that and modified it before mono conversion. What I notice in the original, though quite a good shot, is that the face is lacking in detail, due to low contrast, and not enough sharpening, though the eyes sparkle well.

I do like the crop, but the original wide version also works just as well.

Leveling does also introduce problems too though, as this is a wide angle shot. Using the pole in the train as a reference throws the apartment building off, so need for care. I would tend to have the centre line vertical. I did try lens distortion correction, but it doesnt do much.

So, mod1 is the original, cropped as this one is, mid tone contrast increased, sharpening, and colour saturation reduced significantly. Ive made an attempt at getting the building and the post straighter, may not be spot on. Mod2 is a toned mono version of Mod1. Removed that spot on the window.

I expect reflections in windows, and lights in trains, so for me its optional if you want to address these areas.

View all mods LARGE


dark_lord Plus
14 2.2k 540 England
2 Dec 2013 8:36PM
Just catching up with everyone, so apologies for a late reply Smile

Good to see you tried the mono approach.
I agree about the increased contrast, perhaps I should have mentioned that in my original comment, but I didn't know how well acquainted you are or are not with mono conversion. Still, plenty of advice and food for thought given here.


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