Monochrome toning in Lightroom

LightRoom adjustments for Monochrome Photography

Working more with the monochrome techniques we learned at the Shooting the West photography symposium I mentioned in an earlier post. In the past, I would always start in PS to make the majority of my adjustments and then switch over to LR to finalize any highlight/shadow – white/black adjustments and luminosity smoothing before final sharpening. Mark had us start in LR using the hue sliders under color/hsl to determine how we wanted to see that color tone in greyscale. Then we would set everything back to default and make the adjustments using the color sliders under B&W mix. This technique allows the photographer to adjust the photo as if they were using multiple color filter on camera in the field.

Next we import into PS to make any final dodge/burn or layered curve adjustments to selected areas. LR for the general adjustments covering the full photograph, PS for the selected areas, (though I find I still start in PS to make initial general tonal adjustments before importing to LR.)

Save the edited .tiff file in PS and it will automatically be saved into LR. Now any final adjustments, add toning, luminosity smoothing, lens distortion, etc. before exporting the saved .tiff file. This permits you to keep the original as is and have an edited copy you can pull up anytime or readjust if your vision changes. Mark did suggest a tonal setting of Hue 40 and Saturation 15 (both shadow and highlights) for monochrome images. I’ve found this setting to be great for prints on matte paper, gives an older authentic warmness from the darkroom papers. It does seem to be a little to brown for the screen, especially in Apple retinas, so I have lowered the saturation setting to between 8 and 10 to bring back more of the greyscale feeling.

This shot of the lathe and the drill press just posted and also listed in archives/artifacts under Mammoth Mountain Machine Shop were shot with the Bower 8mm fisheye and processed monochrome with this technique. The lathe was mostly silver, grey and white, while the drill press was silver, yellow, green and red. This will give an idea of setting the color for tones of grey. I find I’m really enjoying this workflow and like the results. If anyone has questions about how Mark’s workflow’s done, feel free to email. I will gladly pass on any information I can.

Mammoth Mountain - California - Lathe - Machine Shop - Millwright Tools - Fisheye - black & white - monochrome

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