Quick Monochrome images using Photoshop
Black and White photography is arguably one of impactful genres. There is just something about the simple tones that invites a viewer to begin to unravel and interpret the images.
In this video we look at one way to create quick monochrome images and add some interesting tones to the image too.
When I am away travelling, I like to use an editing style that I can trust when I don’t have access to the wonderful Eizo screen in the studio. This means using simple, tried and tested methods. I have came to love working with Colour Look Up and Gradient Maps tables to create my colour images and black and white conversions, respectively.
Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Import your images into Lightroom, sort and add your keywords or mark as you normally do. Highlight using colour tabs or star ratings the images you wish to use.
Step 2: Select > right click > edit in > Photoshop > ( you can choose the way Photoshop opens up the image. I like to choose ‘edit a copy with Lightroom Adjustments’. This is because I might of done some ‘global’ white balance adjustments to match other images in the set or other adjustments that I have batch processed. In the settings of LR you can choose what type of file you want to create with the new file when it loads into PS. I like to use 16bit Tiff files in Abode RGB.
Step 3: Find the Gradient Map layer and click on it. You can find it a number of ways. I like to use the Layers Window often so I find it quick to click on it at the bottom. You can Press F7 to bring up the Layers Window. Click on the colour bar to bring up the options to let you pick the colours you want to use for your highlights and low lights. There is a pre-made B&W option. Click that and make sure you have the black on the Left and the White on the right.
Step 4: Using the stamp and clone tools, go around the image to clean up sections and elements that you find are in the way or distracting from the image. I have used the Stamp tool and Clone tool for this image
Step 5: Duplicate the background layer giving you access to the toggles on the image. Using the ctrl button, bring out the toggles to straighten up the image. (yes – this is one of many ways to do this, but this is just a real fast quick simple way) (hit V to get out of your tool to let you pick up the toggles)
Step 6: Create some highlights extra tones by using the blending modes to give contrast changes. Create a new curve layer and boost up the levels in the shadows to you can see as much detail as you can. Invert the mask and select (B) the brush tool. Paint in using a very soft brush to start to bring out some more detail in the image. This is very like the dodge tool but you are using it in a finer way to give more flexibility.
Step 7: Repeat the process the other way round to darken down the image. Curves> invert the mask > Brush > paint in the darker tones.
Step 8: Save out the image into Lightroom and crop in to where you want to crop. Once you have cropped, if you need to sharpen, now is a good time.
Try making the black and white colours on the grad map other tones than just Black and white, try a dark blue and very creamy yellow for a some interesting tones ? Below I have made 3 versions by just changing the colours in the Grad map.
Blue & Yellow + Gray and White
Other Monochrome images.