Colours into tones in black and white

This activity didn’t concern me too much as I have done some black and white photography, including using coloured filters and actually processing black and white images in the past, so felt I knew what to expect.   I was using black and white film at that point though, along with blue, red, yellow and green Cokin filters and the results were very much as discussed in the text.

The suggestion is that producing and manipulating black and white images digitally is simpler.  All you need to do is take the picture in colour, convert it to black and white, then use the slider for each of the colours in turn to get the desired effect, but I didn’t find it to be quite that straightforward.  I though my starting point would be to convert the image to black and white, then use this as the starting point for the rest of the versions, not so,when I did this I did not get the expected results when the coloured filters were applied.  The second issue was that in Photoshop Elements, there does not seem to be the option of a yellow filter or slider bar when you convert to black and white, so I have produced 4 black and white images instead of 5.  The other issue was that it suggests that you may want to reduce the brightness of some of the other colours when one is increased and this meant that the consistency of the tones was difficult to achieve, in fact I have failed on that score! One thing that did surprise me though was that although there wasn’t an option to adjust the yellow, when the blue was increased, the yellow became considerably darker and when the green was increased the yellow became lighter.  This exercise has prompted me to get out my old Nikon F80 and do it again with black and white film and the proper filters so that I can compare the results.

My final version of this exercise is below.  From left to right; original colour photograph, converted to black and white with default settings, increased blue, green and red sliders.

Effect of different filters on black and white photographs


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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