Black and White in Color

It was a common practice in the wet darkroom to tint or tone the black and white print a color by placing it in a specific (often smelly) chemical solution. These days it's easy to create a toned black and white image in a variety of colors, either in the camera or using Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom.

Under the camera's monochrome picture style or control are additional options for toning. (See the camera manual for where to find these choices.) Most cameras provide sepia (brown), blue, purple and green to choose from.

Sepia tone setting in a Canon 5D

If your camera doesn't have these options, or you want a slightly different color than what the camera produces, you can create the effect in post-production.

Sepia effect applied with Photoshop Elements

In Photoshop or Elements, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and check the Colorize box. Then you can adjust the Hue slider for the color and the Saturation slider for the strength of the effect.

Sepia effect added with Split Toning in Lightroom

In Lightroom, first switch your image to Black and White in the Develop module. Then use the Split Toning panel to apply the color and strength you want. For the same color in both highlights and shadows, set the sliders to the same positions.

Notice that all three images here have a slightly different shade of sepia, depending on the method used to add the color.

Learn these and other powerful editing techniques to create black and white images you'll be proud of in my Advanced Black & White Photography class. Sessions begin Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana. Registration is open either online, in person or by phone.