Many Photoshop plug-in that let you convert color photographs to black & white, such as Silver Efex Pro, also give you the option to apply the effect of applying colored filters to the monochrome conversation to make it seen as if you had placed a filter in front of your camera’s lens. If you’re new to the world of traditional filters for black and white photography, here’s a quick primer:
A yellow filter slightly darkens the sky, emphasizing clouds and is primarily used for landscape photography and when shooting in snow, can produce dynamic textures. An orange filter produces similar effects but skies are darker and clouds more defined. An orange filter can be used in glamour photographs to produce smooth skin tones.
The red filter produces dramatic landscapes with black skies and maximum contrast but in portrait or glamour work a subject’s lips may appear washed out. On the other hand, this filter can almost eliminate freckles and blemishes. A green filter lightens vegetation in landscape photography but doesn’t darken the sky as much as the red filter. With some portrait subjects, skin tones may be more pleasing but freckles and blemishes are more apparent.
Look at the example: One the left half is the original color image, on the right a green filter was applied and it completely chances the subtext of the image. Using a red filter would have had a completely opposite effect.
Joe is the author of Creative Digital Monochrome Effects that’s available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.