Okay, filters. Filtering black and white images is one of the most gratifying concepts/processes in photography (IMO), so I thought I’d show some different results.
Disambiguation: I’m mostly referring to contrast-enhancing, colored, filters.
To be clear, this isn’t meant as a tutorial, but here are some I enjoy for both Photoshop and GIMP:
- If you use Photoshop: Methods of Black and White Conversion
- If you use GIMP: Converting Color Images to B&W
I first became acquainted with filters in their tangible form: physical glass or plastic pieces placed in front of the lens to filter incoming light (most often used in film photography.) I use the Cokin system with my N80 when I shoot black and white film. However, I’ve had good success using them with my D80 as well, even though most photographers prefer to convert color–>BW digitally.
- Frame 1 = Color original
- Frame 2 = strong Green Filter
- Frame 3 = strong Red Filter
A good, semi-mnemonic way to remember how filters will affect your image: filter color will lighten similarhues in the image & darken complementery hues. You can refer to your basic color wheel for reference:
left of canine), and darken the cyan tones (carpet on right of canine).
I should mention there is no “correct” result. It’s all subjective, right? The green filter yields a generally more contrasty image in this example, and the red filter tends to isolate the subject (Lu-dog) a little more from the carpet.
Personally, I prefer the color image, here. Go figure.
As an outdoor example, my neighbors have some awesome tulips I’m obsessed with:
Here, my favorite is the last, the red filter. I like how it isolates the flowers from the greenery. But again, this is personal preference.
One more example, just for kicks:
The green filter in the first absorbs much of the greenish light being reflected by the hose, and so it appears white. By the same token in the first image, the filter is letting much of the red UV spectrum, reflected by the barricade’s reddish-orange stripes, through to the camera’s sensor. In the last image, which has been red-filtered, just the opposite is true. (Also, notice the grass has an increased contrast value.)
Again, this is an image I’d probably never want in BW to begin with.
Of course, the most often-used photographic application of contrast-enhancing, color filters is in landscapes: making white clouds stand out in a bright sky.
Compare, side-by-side, with a version that’s simply been desaturated without filtering: