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Thread: Monocrome

  1. #1
    chypp's Avatar
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    Monocrome

    Is it best to shoot in monocome or shoot in color and change to b/w in Lightroom or Photoshop?

  2. #2
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    I always shoot in color and convert that to monochrome in post processing. Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements allow conversion to monochrome. NIK software also provides that cabability...

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    +1

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    Just about always best to convert to Monochrome in POST PRODUCTION – however . . . It does depend on what your output requirements are.

    If you require a very quick turnaround time then shooting JPEG and selecting the in camera conversion to Monochrome would be a consideration.
    If I were to do that then I would also capture the raw file, for editing later, if necessary.

    A very quick turnaround time or some other reason NOT to want to do any (or very little) Post Production would be the only reason that I can think of – for all other cases there is more control to capture the raw file and convert it to the Monochrome file and file type you require.

    If you have a camera which ONLY captures JPEG, then I would argue that it is ALWAYS be better to capture in colour and convert to Monochrome later, for IF you select to record the JPEG on Monochrome, it is REALLY DIFFICULT to later make a Colour Image from it.

    Apart from the above there is also an obscure argument (about which I am not convinced) to capture in Monochrome JPEG, for IR Photography.

    I have been a party to a detailed discussion about this: the rationale of the person putting this case forward was predicated on having no Colour Cast in the final image and a ‘correct’ IR Rendition of the grey scale within the image.

    WW

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    Re: Monocrome

    The question is only relevant for jpegs anyway:
    raw captures are always in colour, the only thing in B/W will be the embedded jpeg.

    When shooting jpeg only, I'd also prefer shooting colour, but not for difficulties in colouring later (if that's needed, why did you shoot B/W in the first place?).
    For me it's more about how you transform a colour image to B/W. The easiest method is desaturation (set your saturation to zero). But the only advantage
    of that method is it's simplicity, you have no control over the transformation. I prefer the colour mixer, which allows to control the relative contributions of
    green, red, and blue, and allows tinting.

  6. #6

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    Re: Monocrome

    I prefer conversion in post processing. Main reason being you can give the effect of using a coloured filter during conversion. This is advantageous to using an actual coloured filter because you can adjust what colours are affected, by how much, and you don't lose any light.

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    Re: Monocrome

    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    Is it best to shoot in monocome or shoot in color and change to b/w in Lightroom or Photoshop?
    I think the trick is to shoot in RAW colour and you have all the options from there. However I'm no expert.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    I think a couple of quotes from the helpful comments above, capture the key points.

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    If you require a very quick turnaround time then shooting JPEG and selecting the in camera conversion to Monochrome would be a consideration.
    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    The question is only relevant for jpegs anyway:
    raw captures are always in colour, the only thing in B/W will be the embedded jpeg.
    Shoot Raw and your are capturing ALL the data including the colour information. You can decide what you're going to do with it later in post-production.

    If like me, you are shooting to make B & W images; i.e. you know that what you are shooting is going to be finished as a B & W image, then a handy little trick is to set your camera to Mono. You are still going to be capturing all the data, including colour, in your RAW file. But what you'll see on the back screen is the camera's B & W interpretation. It can be a help in confirming how the range and balance of tones is going to look - as a check to see if what the camera thinks a B & W is going to look like matches what you are 'seeing' in your head.
    Last edited by Donald; 19th January 2013 at 07:09 AM.

  9. #9

    Re: Monocrome

    +1 to the above. Shoot in colour (RAW). There is so much more that you can do to bring out the best in a monochrome image, over and above just reducing the saturation slider.

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    Monocrome with Photoshop Elements

    A very easy but, powerful way to convert color images to monochrome is found in PSE-10. You open the image in the editing module, choose Enhance > Convert to Black and White and you have this screen pop up...

    Monocrome

    Choosing any one of the six choices: Infrared Effect, Newspaper, Portraits, Scenic Landscape, Urban Snapshots and Vivid Landscapes will show you the results in the B&W sample image above. You can, if you wish, use the sliders to further adjust the Red-Green-Blue intensity as well as the contrast. Quite often one of the six choices is pleasing to me and then all I do is to adjust the contrast. Usually, I like it with a bit of additional contrast.

    I do like Photoshop CS6 but, there are a few tweaks in PSE-10 that are fun to use...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 19th January 2013 at 03:39 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Monocrome with Photoshop Elements

    I agree with Revi: I want control over the process of converting to B&W, and that requires doing the conversion in postprocessing. However, I almost never shoot JPEGs anyway, for the same reason: I don't want to give up control to a pre-set developing algorithm in the camera.

    I don't know what software you have, but the B&W conversion tools in Lightroom are quite powerful and very easy to use.

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    Re: Monocrome with Photoshop Elements

    I shoot raw and I process with Adobe, so I only have the option of converting to black and white from the full color image. In order to use the monochrome in camera setting, I would have to change from raw to jpeg. Now, why would I want to do that? I would lose so much information, much of which can be applied to prepping the file (correcting exposure, setting blacks, recovering highlights, adjusting tint and white balance--all of which can play a role in the ensuing conversion). Using the monochrome setting while shooting raw is certainly an option as explained by Donald. One can apply that approach to the other picture controls as well (use landscape picture control when shooting landscapes). Processing with Elements, the only value of the picture control is to get an idea from the lcd of how the image might look later on one's computer. I am generally too lazy to take this advise and just keep my picture control in standard and adjust everything later in Adobe Camera Raw. I give at least a look at the screen rpcrowe posted for many of my images and decide to follow through for maybe half of those. Elements really makes it easy and fun but you do have to switch to 8 bits to convert a file. At that point, it probably doesn't matter if you shot jpeg or raw. It does, however, need to be a color file so you can do the color mixing.

  13. #13
    chypp's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    I am a newbee.....If I shoot in jpeg and set my camera to mono; in what aspect does it change if you change color to b/w?

  14. #14
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    I am a newbee.....If I shoot in jpeg and set my camera to mono; in what aspect does it change if you change color to b/w?
    I do not understand the question.

    However taking only this part of the question:
    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    If I shoot in jpeg and set my camera to mono[chrome]
    My comment is: you will NOT be able to obtain a colour photograph from the file , as the JPEG file will be recorded as a monochrome image, ONLY.

    WW

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    Re: Monocrome

    Lynn, if I understood your question: the B&W jpeg shoot will be simply the result of the settings of your camera at the moment of shooting. If you convert a color shoot in post processing, you have a full control of how the colors are converted in B&W tones, i.e. how much each color contribute to the final monochrome image.

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    Re: Monocrome

    That's easy

    If you shoot in jpeg and set the camera to monochrome, you'll end up with a B/W image,
    with no more colour information (and no way to get it, but that's the choice you make).
    (How the camera converts to B/W? No idea)

    The fun starts when you use RAW.. (see other responses ). And as quite a few here
    use RAW, and have different ways of doing things (all the right way of course) it
    gets lively sometimes.

  17. #17
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    I am a newbee.....If I shoot in jpeg and set my camera to mono; in what aspect does it change if you change color to b/w?
    Lynn, your camera (depending on model) will probably have some options on what kind of B&W it shoots. Most often you can choose a particular colour (e.g. yellow, yellow/green, blue, red) to get a certain effect.
    I would recommend shooting in colour though (JPEG or RAW), so that you can adjust the coloured filters to your liking in PP. If you have a JPEG (in colour) I would normally begin PP by adjusting levels. Then I set black or white or grey point if I feel that the White Balance needs changing. You can do this automatic as well, but sometimes black or white point works better.
    Then I look at colour vibrance and if I am satisfied with all that I'll have a look at B&W conversion.
    Desaturation is the easy way, but does not give you much choice. Decomposing works better and gives you the option of applying various coloured filters.
    In Gimp I use a special B&W plug-in that has a lot of these options incorporated and if necessary I'll create various layers in different colours and then mix them together for a certain intended effect.
    Then round of with some sharpening if needed.

  18. #18
    chypp's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    Thanks everyone for the info... I have a Cannon Rebel xs.... it does shoot in raw; however I have never used raw....I hear it takes up a lot of memory on ur card. I will try it....and post some pics for some feed back....Thanks again...

  19. #19
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Monocrome

    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    Thanks everyone for the info... I have a Cannon Rebel xs.... it does shoot in raw; however I have never used raw....I hear it takes up a lot of memory on ur card. I will try it....and post some pics for some feed back....Thanks again...
    Lynn

    If you haven't already read it, why not have a look at this tutorial here on CiC. That will give you a very good idea as to why so many of us on here would really encourage you to start shooting in RAW.

  20. #20
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    Re: Monocrome

    Quote Originally Posted by chypp View Post
    Is it best to shoot in monocome or shoot in color and change to b/w in Lightroom or Photoshop?
    Hello Lynn and others,
    Maybe I can add some ideas with some sample images that will help explain.

    If you take only JPG images- setting the camera to "monochrome" will create a fixed mono image in a fashion determined by the camera's internal software 'engine'. So you get a result that can only be adjusted later using Exposure and Contrast adjustments (including 'burning' and 'dodging' )

    So your ORIGINAL SUBJECT as seen is this-

    Monocrome

    May look like this when converted to a 'fixed' mono in the camera- How "ordinary" is this result?

    Monocrome

    If you however take your images in a 'colour' mode- either JPG or RAW, you will have full control over the colours individually and be able to lighten or darken them selectively in post-processing software. In the days of B&W film- you might use a red filter on the lens to selectively make a blue sky appear black. Software can now do this for ALL the colours in an image and you will have far greater control over any effect you may want in your monochrome image. Using the 'Brush' adjustments in Lightroom can also selectively change the tone of areas in an image.

    Here are three versions of the 'colour' image I have converted to monochrome using Lightroom-4 and in each I have varied one of the sliders that control a colour channel luminance (lightness)

    Lighten the RED channel-
    Monocrome

    Darken the RED channel and lighten the BLUE channel-
    Monocrome

    Darken the GREEN channel-
    Monocrome

    My recommendation- always shoot RAW (and JPG if you want an instant result) - use your software to 'create' your beautiful mono images.

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