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Image editing tutorial - Monochrome

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Note
For this tutorial I have used Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, however the methods and tools that I have used are common to many other image editing programs, so you should have no problems following this tutorial in recent versions of Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro or earlier versions of Elements, as well as any other program that features adjustment layers.

Introduction
Although colour photography is far more popular these days, there’s still something very attractive about nice black and white print. However you've probably noticed that if you simply set your camera to black & white, or convert a colour image to greyscale (removing the colour information) using your image editing software, the resulting image looks very flat and uninteresting.

In traditional black and white photography colour filters are placed over the camera lens to emphasise different tones in the final image. For example a red or orange filter blocks out blue light, and so makes a blue sky look much darker, which allows the clouds to stand out. You can achieve the same effect in Photoshop Elements using two hue/saturation/brightness adjustment layers, one to simulate the effects of the colour filter, and the other to convert the final image to monochrome.

It’s important choose a good starting image. The best choice is a photo that already has interesting textures, good tonal range, with all the shades from white to black, and good contrast. I’m going to use this photo of Lympstone Harbour in Devon. It will make a good example because it has a wide range of colours, including plenty of blue sky with white clouds.




Converting it to greyscale produces a monochrome image, but it is fairly dull and the clouds don’t stand out well against the sky.

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