Colours into tones in black-and-white

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” – Robert Frank.

As mentioned earlier I have always been biased towards black and white, but have not considered the use of filters (or their digital equivalent) and the effect of that use.



Original all settings in lightroom zeroed.

I converted the image to black and white under the HSL/Colour/B&W section of Lightroom.


Conversion to black and white, note variation on colour sliders

Lightroom has, under its own pre-sets the four filters relevant to this exercise yellow, red, blue green and red.  I’ve shown in the images below the changes in the colour sliders as a result of using the pre-sets.

yellow filter

Using yellow filter in Lightroom. Yellow becomes almost white; green and red become lighter while blue appears to be disproportionately darker. The grey seems relatively  unaffected.


Using red filter in Lightroom.  The colours all become even lighter, although blue is not as affected, as does the greyscale.



Using green filter in Lightroom.  Green is slightly lighter, blue, red and yellow darker and greyscale back to normal.


Using blue filter in Lightroom. Blue becomes very light while red darkens significantly as does yellow but green is relatively unaffected.

As the course book says the exercise gives some indication of how the use of filters can accentuate an aspect of an image.  As an example I took this image on a trip to London:-



The black and white conversion does nothing to alter the overall feel of the picture:-




But when the blue filter is used notice how the skin tones change dramatically.


Blue filter applied

Of course you would need to be judicious in their use but it illustrates the impact these filters can have and it will be something I ‘ll be considering in the future.



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