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Old 11-08-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
rino54's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 86
Default A tone story


There were recent threads that talked about black and white (B&W) photography. In a recent one (, we came to talk about tones. This notion is a bit hard to understand with words only so I did this illustrated tutorial to give you a better idea. It may help anyone who is interested with B&W Photography. Please correct me and/or complete this post. Remember this is an introduction to the subject and this means it won't be very complex. I had to cut this message in two parts as I can't add more than 4 pics per post!


Most of human beings see the world in colour. Digital SLR too (what I am going to say is about digital but you can use it with film anyway). Some subjects are very strong in coulours but become flat in B&W. Here is a good example :

On the previous pictures, this is the green/red relationship that makes this picture strong. The reason is that they are complimentary colours (like orange against blue, etc). But when you process it in B&W ... it becomes a kind of "gray uniform" picture. This is the moment we have to talk about tones (or luminosity of the colours). Here is a visual exemple :

You can note that grays are close (it's even hard to do the difference). We can say they have the same tone. Let me show you something else. This time, I take one colour and change its luminosity :

We have more grays, like in a gradient : from dark grey (close to black) to light grey (close to white). This is this parameter - colour luminosity - that will help to detect good candidates for B&W pictures.
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