Hints: digital

There are countless books and magazines dealing with all aspects of digital photography, and we are not going to try to be comprehensive here. In any case, some topics are common to both traditional and digital, eg, composition is relevant whatever the medium. We will use this section for hints and ideas that our members think may be of interest, and which are less likely to be discussed elsewhere.

Colour management

Even when people use colour profiling (our Club has GretagMacbeth equipment that members may hire for a small fee), a few still seem to have problems with their print colours not resembling what they see on their monitor. One of our member's suggestion is to try 'soft proofing' which may help. Your imaging software Help files should show you how to set this if it supports the facility. He also said to put the profile for the printer back to the manufacturer's settings. Our member says that i has made a big difference although concedes it's still early days. The message seems to be to try different methods if the first one doesn't succeed.

Blending different exposures of the same black & white image using Layers

This is a summary of an approach demonstrated by the Club's Monotones group at the meeting in January 2018.

These techniques assume that the reader understands layers at a basic level and

Procedure

  1. Open your RAW colour image in Photoshop.
  2. Convert to a B&W image using the sliders in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to produce the contrast/tones you like.
  3. Open the B&W image in Photoshop from ACR
  4. Duplicate the B&W background layer TWICE, so that you have 3 layers.
  5. Turn off the top duplicated layer.
  6. Change the Bottom duplicated Layer blend mode to “MULTIPLY (which darkens). Add a layer mask and invert this mask (In Photoshop this is CTRL(CMD for a Mac)+i) so the “mask thumbnail” will just be black. Choose a brush tool with a very soft setting and select as a starting point (say) 50% opacity and 30% flow brush options. Set the foreground colour to WHITE. Now using the brush tool, paint on the image where you want it to be darker. As the flow is less than 100%, you can build up the darkening over a specific area with repeated strokes. Turn off/on this layer to judge if the effect is what you are looking for. If the overall effect is too dark, reduce the “Layer Opacity”of this duplicate layer. Or you could set the foreground colour to BLACK and at 20% opacity and 10% flow brush options and paint over the too dark areas to lighten them. Turn off/on this layer to judge what you have done.
  7. Turn back on the top duplicated Layer. Change this Layer's blend mode to “SCREEN” (which brightens). With the top layer active do the same as in step 6 above except paint on the image where you want it to be lighter.
  8. Save with a new file name.

Footnotes

  1. For best results, before starting the above, you could reduce image noise (eg in ACR or with NIK Dfine) etc.
  2. Be very subtle by using a low % flow brush option so that each repeated brush stroke builds up the darkening or lightening effect gently.

Some software for making a mono conversion (paid for if not specifically shown as free)

The following list has been compiled by the Club's Monotones group (January 2018) and is not claimed to be a complete list.

(a) Specialist B&W software (often when installed, you have the option to use it as a plug-in for your main photo-editing software which makes it accessible (and effectively work within) your main software

(b) Photo-editing software with B&W conversion included