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Black And White Portrait Blue Filter.

Take Control. Although coloured filters can still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more prominent to save this work until the processing stage. Until a a couple years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more strong tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust one of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations can become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or rosy shirt with the red sliding control, for instance , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls should also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create separation between objects of the same brightness but with unique colours.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a convention that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers should only thought of taking a degree of because you should target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you may use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to perk up them to increase local contrast. It’s a great manner of giving a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you may set the opacity of the tools, you could build up their effect gradually so the impact is crafty and there are no hard edges.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots should work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider place than they would with a short exposure and this may help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If required , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to reduce exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). naturally , when exposures extend farther than in respect of 1/60 sec a tripod is required to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The unsurpassed monochrome conversions are run across by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome picture Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As many photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. numerous cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact plan cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users can also do this if they kick in his camera’s live postulation lane , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would instantly be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and dowdy straight from the camera. luckily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours discretely to introduce some contrast. However, a great starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some powerful blacks and whites. This could be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, should inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the unsurpassed composition.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are purely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is cooperative when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter could be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, appraise taking two or more shots with different exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be afraid to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, should also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of his own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

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If you’re serious about black and white photography and equally as serious about black and white portrait work, then a selection of colored filters is a great addition to your camera gear. They are available on your monochrome camera menu as well, so there is no reason not to experiment. Different complexions may yield different results. In general, using filters will allow you much more control over the way your photos appear, helping you to create a better image in the camera first rather than on the computer later.

Some lighting is richer in red. the meter won’t tell you that . 77 months ago (permalink)

You normally use a color filter on film if you wanted to contrast something in the background, like the sky for a more dramatic one using red filters for example.

If you use color filter on a digital camera you drasticly reduce the amount of photons to produce an image, the amount of lightness levels and the posibility to play with the grayscale conversion.

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Paul if you had quoted this from further down the page then you would have been correct no woman will ever thank you for using a dark green filter But green will sure make freckles stand out!”I would suspect exactly the opposite would occur. Green filters should absorb red causing relative underexposure of those areas (e.g., zits, freckles, lips, etc.) on the negative and thus darker reproduction on prints. Likewise, red filters will pass longer wavelengths readily while absorbing shorter (bluer) wavelengths and thus lightening the red end of the spectrum through relative greater exposure causing paler skin and lips in the final print.So, green filters are typically used to increase ruddiness and skin texture in portraits (usually in male portraiture) while red filters smooth the complexions (usually used for portraits of female sitters).” I often use deep orange for outdoor… Originally posted 77 months ago. (permalink) Metrix X edited this topic 77 months ago.

The method I am using is simply using the primary channel of a colour RGB image.

This thread is for questions, experiences and tips relating to C41 and E6 home f…

I’m putting my red filter on an going to look for a freckled person… 77 months ago (permalink)

Never shoot a Blue eyed person with a blue filter… it is creepy…. 77 months ago (permalink)

Minox’s red filter image really makes the eyes look dark and dreary. I did an HP5 roll last week shooting street and using a red filter. Sometimes I like orange or yellow filter in case I have some high contrast situation and areas aren’t blown out. 77 months ago (permalink)

I know color filters “block out” colors opposite to the color of the filter, and when used in black & white photography, can brighten or darken the object depending on its color and the color of the filter.

There are four filter colors that are available in the monochrome menu on the modern DSLR: red, yellow, green and orange. In my camera bag, I carry these as glass filters as well and have expanded the group by one with green/yellow. Yes, I am a traditionalist. I still use glass filters rather than the digital ones. For me it is about control over my images and the exposure. In my bag I also carry an analog light meter, another “ancient” tool for controlling my exposures.

Let me start with primary light colors RGB. As the skin has more red component the skin will look brighter when using a red filter (R) and the oposite hapens when using green (G) or blue (B) filters.

The first contrast is in focusing. I use a wide aperture to create a field of focused to un-focused areas of the frame. The second contrast is light to dark. Here I try to place subjects of different tonal values against one another, basically lights against darks. Combining similar tones creates a flat, almost muddy, appearance in the image.

Hello there, I’m in the hunt of a Canon RF, probably P or 7 with a 50mm or 35…

Most recentish 135 film has a DX barcode on the cartridge, usually with a six di…

Don’t the C-41 black and white films also have quite a different (more even) spectral sensitivity to the traditional ones (which were more blue sensitive (??) – which is why some photographers in the old days always kept a yellow filter on)? 77 months ago (permalink)

thats a toughie…so many complexions…many factors of the ‘model’ chosen can affect the outcome with filters… 77 months ago (permalink)

A helpful page. 77 months ago (permalink)

I haven’t tried portraits with a red filter but generally leave a yellow on the lens when shooting B+W, especially outdoors…For more info on using filters in B+W, and anything else for that matter, I think Ilford is a good place to start. 77 months ago (permalink)

beginner – HP5+ pushed to 3200, DD-X, stand development questions 5 replies

Those exposures look quite different. On what did you meter? 77 months ago (permalink)

Staying with the line of green filters, I now placed the green filter in front of my lens. It is substantially darker than the other filters and resulted in my opening up almost two stops for the exposure. You can see this in the increase of the out of focus area behind Shelby. This filter greatly enhances the contrast and detail across leaves and I use it heavily in my flower work. In portrait work it does affect the natural red tones in complexions. I feel in Shelby’s case it gave too much texture to her skin and lightened her hair just a bit. The skin texture results alone dictate that I not use this with portraits.

Hahahaa. That quote is hilarious. Thanks for the advice. Going to try these out on Thursday! 🙂 see first hand. 77 months ago (permalink)

The third contrast is textural. I use the same theory with light to dark, but with opposing textures. Paying attention to the contrasts and getting at least two of the three in your image will produce a better overall photo. In my own work, B&W images are not converted from color in post processing; they are captured using the monochrome setting on my camera with close attention to the three contrasts. Filters in black and white photography are about contrast, but in portrait work – they help with skin tones (textures) and that is how I employ them.

blocking out colors in the background, making person seem brighter to make them pop, or something like that?

OK Here is the place to put all your fine photos and gear I am going to make th…

I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve come across this idea that green filters are good for portraits quite a few times.

I just discovered an old grocery bag in the basement with a whole filter set (green, yellow, red and blue) for two of my RB67 lenses. I haven’t seen many examples of portraits with black and white film with red filters, I sorta want something really striking and quite contrasty. I haven’t found too much info on this specific thing, maybe orange too? Also, should I compensate my exposure any? any and all information is helpful! I’ve been really dying to try these for some more serious portrait work but haven’t had the guts to just wing it yet. 10:39PM, 10 April 2012 PDT (permalink)…

We can’t pick one as we get so many in a day or even hour. So I Ask the memb…

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Sandy, each contrast filter will knock some light so yes, you will have to compensate for that. Blues and reds usually 2 stops. Lighter colors are usually fractional. 2/3, 1/3 stop kind of thing.Easiest way to find out how much is to meter a scene with, and without the filter on a camera with a TTL meter. 77 months ago (permalink)

Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged portrait black-and-white color-filters or ask your own question.

So I was wondering, when doing b&w photography, is there something like a “go to” color filter for portraits, some that smooths skin tones, etc.? Or is it situational, depending on our lighting conditions, to compensate for color casts caused by environment, or blocking out colors in the background, making the person seem brighter to make them pop, or something like that?

George Wilson has more than 30 years of experience as a professional photographer, and his work has appeared in many national and international publications. Now focusing on nature and wildlife photography, George exhibits his infrared black and white landscape work and teaches photography at numerous art centers, botanical gardens and at the Walt Disney World Resort in his home state of Florida. A key element to George’s work is his dedication to traditional photography as his post processing is strictly limited to tools aligning with the traditional darkroom. To see more of George’s work, visit

As always no comment just the photos. Use your imagination and 2 per month.

In this case, the default conversion profile renders less contrasted results (P) with more gray tones and gives a result simmilar to the lightness component (From an HSL color model) (L).

George Wilson: Contrast Filters for Black and White Portrait Photography

The last yellow filter now comes out of my filter wallet. This was the first colored filter I owned back in my black and white film days. It is a great starter filter, but again has specific uses and effects. This filter produces the most subtle effect of the five colored filters. In some cases the difference is barely noticeable, but it can help to “lift” a photo just enough. In portrait photography, yellow filters produce warm, natural, pleasing flesh tones, like an orange filter but less intense. Note the differences between the skin tones with this and the orange filter. There is slightly more texture in the yellow filter image.

hi guys, just started shooting film. my first roll was developed and scanned by …

True. About the metering with a camera part to just have a good idea about compensating. I think I’ll shoot a roll this week with the different filters! I’m mostly interested in using them to bring out some more interest in the portraits I’m taking. Since I have them (seemingly out of nowhere) I might as well use them! I’m having a hard time finding examples for portraits anyway. 🙂 77 months ago (permalink)

I’m getting ready to develop some PanF+ in Kodak d-76 1:1. I’ve done this befor…

Panchromatic film is already taking into account more green in the light spectrum than red and blue, that are on the extremes of visible light spectrum, so the tendency will look more like the green sample(G)

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To give you a rough idea, I’d say you’d have to increase the exposure by about these amounts for these filters (but it obviously depends on how light/dark they are, the type of film, the lighting, etc.): yellow – 1 stop orange – 1.3 stops green – 1.5 to 2 stops red – 3 stopsFull list here: also found this (here:…) : “I find the green supresses red-toned skin blemishes, giving smoother-looking skin. Filters further towards blue end up giving you vampires with white skin and lips. Red-toned filters can end up making even slightly freckled subjects look as though they’ve been through a sh#t-storm without an umbrella… ” Originally posted 77 months ago. (permalink) paul messerschmidt (europe) edited this topic 77 months ago.

in the book of Ansel Adams “The Negative” you will find the info you need 😉 77 months ago (permalink)

Black and white (monochrome) is about contrast. In the late 1970’s I first picked up an SLR, and this formed the basis of my understanding and my methodology. This basic understanding carries through to my work today. Black and white imaging needs contrasts to help the tonal values of various greys to give depth to an image.

Correct, Metric X, I was about to make the same point myself. Green filters will make your subject’s blemishes stand out, and red/orange filters will make your subject’s skin look smoother (but it can make eyes look weird and very dark). At the extreme end, shooting a pale white person (e.g. someone of Scottish background) with IR film and an IR filter can make them look almost translucent, or like they’re made of alabaster… 77 months ago (permalink)

This quote from above is completely backwards. “I find the green supresses red-toned skin blemishes, giving smoother-looking skin. Filters further towards blue end up giving you vampires with white skin and lips. Red-toned filters can end up making even slightly freckled subjects look as though they’ve been through a sh#t-storm without an umbrella… ” Originally posted 8 hours ago. (permalink) I like using blue and green filters on portraits because I like high contrast on the skin, but usually the models do not. For the love of God please don’t use red filters on portraits. It looks terrible. Yellow and light orange is a better option for skin, but will still look fake and effecty. 77 months ago (permalink)

There are some digital filters and software tools that help you event to simulate how classic b/w films reacted to light, so:

Well I might just try out all my filters tomorrow on a few of the last frames on each roll just to have a test…… I’ll post my results when I get them back. I’ll be careful with the metering. 77 months ago (permalink)

it would be really cool with some photo examples of portraits with different filters. …one can dream I guess 😉 77 months ago (permalink)

Without getting into the technical aspects of why the filters work, the basic premise is: In order to lighten a color the most, use the same color filter. This being said, B&W contrast filters create some great affects in portrait work, but not all filters are appropriate.

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Use the blue green and red and do some trichromes!!! 77 months ago (permalink)

In the first of the contrast filter shots, I have chosen the red filter. These are preferred by landscape photographers and do not normally find their way into my portrait work. In landscape photography, the red filter will turn a blue sky almost black and make clouds jump from the frame (think of an Ansel Adams landscape image) with deep rich blacks and vibrant clouds. Red filters have a very strong effect and greatly increase contrast. They’re often considered too “harsh” for portrait work, but can be used to produce striking creative effects. If you look at the red filter image in the reference set, you will notice a dramatic increase in contrast. Skin tones have lightened and shadows on the eyes have increased. Shelby’s hair has also darkened a bit. In my opinion, the red filter gave less than flattering portrait results.

Simply shoot in RAW and in full color and play later with the conversions.

As it happens-with red filter, Olympus OM4, Zuiko 28/2.8, possibly spot metered but definitely TTL:with yellow filter, Olympus OM1, Zuiko 50/1.8:Perhaps tricky to make a comparison because of the obvious differences in exposure. 77 months ago (permalink)

DX barcode numbers on 135 film (please contribute) 150 replies

(Original photo:

I sorta like creepy sometimes. haha. 77 months ago (permalink)

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I agree it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but I wonder if it originated in “glamour” photography, where they wanted to make women’s red lips and cheeks look darker against their (perfect, zit-free) white skin? (Green (and blue?) eyes could also look nice.

) 77 months ago (permalink) I ♥ Minox says:

Next, I switched to the orange filter. This occupies a slot between red and yellow in my filter wallet. It has a nice balance between properties of both and is one of my two “go to” filters for monochrome portrait images. This also is a very good general purpose filter. In portrait photography, however, an orange filter reduces the appearance of freckles and blemishes, smoothing skin for a healthy, smooth look overall. Comparing the unfiltered monochrome image with this, you will notice a very nice change in Shelby’s skin tone.

Green is good, but for portraits I usually go bare (no filter). 77 months ago (permalink)

My goal is to change the ISF banner every month with a member’s image. If I chan…

The second of my “go to” filters, the green-yellow filter has a very nice effect on reds and red tones, making it work well on skin tones just like the orange filter. It yields slightly more texture giving a more natural look to the image overall. The orange filter on fair complexions can sometimes smooth unrealistically. In the landscape photographer’s kit, this filter helps differentiate between various shades of green foliage.

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Edit: I should note I was primarily asking for film black & white photography, but it is always good to know both sides, so answers for digital are also appreciated.

: In the first picture, taken on the OM4 (the darker one) I may have spot-metered on the face. However, I’m no expert when it comes to metering and I usually hedge my bets by taking several reading, which the OM4 allows you to do. Maybe one from the face and one from the coat? Dunno.Also, I think I’m right in thinking that red filters can fool TTL meters due to the latter being either more or less (can’t remember which) sensitive to red light than other colours.I think I prefer my craggy man to the pretty woman. 77 months ago (permalink)

There is a really important diference if you are using film or is a digital photo. I will focus on Digital aspects but will give you an idea of what to expect with film.

With B & W panchromatic films I’ve found the ‘regular’ green filter to be fine for all skin tones, male or female, but I think I’D prefer the pretty (and topless) woman to the old crag-meister!(E-e-e-e-e-w-w-w-w-w-w, ‘Minox’, couldn’t you find a young-enough-to-be-my-son, hot-looking James Dean or Leonardo DeCaprio look-alike that might have been a TIE?!) 77 months ago (permalink)

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For the examples, I enlisted the help of a young friend of mine, Shelby. The first image is a color reference shot. Note that Shelby has a fair complexion and light hair. In the image she is wearing a black shirt as well. The next image, I have turned her slightly and had her look towards me with her hair coming down over her shoulder. This posing change delivers a more slender appearance to your subject. I then wanted to emphasize her long hair, so I had Shelby drape it over her shoulder and look towards my camera. This is a monochrome image – not a color converted image. Note the tones of her hair and her complexion. See how they translate to monochrome.

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i’m shooting with ilford FP4 125 ASA speed film, trouble is I can only set my ca…

But modern color profiles and conversion tools uses a more complex combinations than simple color filters as you can see on the sliders of a grayscale conversion.

The issue, however, is that many colors, when captured in B&W, render similar tonal values. For example, some shades of red, green, and blue look completely different in color, but almost identical in black and white. This can cause objects in a black and white image to blend into one another, leaving you with a photo that is flat, lifeless and lacking in both contrast and definition. It is, therefore, necessary to separate them further with the use of contrast filters. Do you see the word I used? Contrast filters! Contrast is what we seek in B&W and these filters are a tremendous enhancement to your work if used properly.

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