Black & White and Color at the Same Time

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

In my post In-Camera Monochrome Capture, I mentioned that “In an upcoming post, I’ll give you a few reasons why color capture and conversion later in the digital darkroom may be the best option.” This is that post…

These days most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have monochrome modes built-in and some, like Canon’s Picture Styles, even offer options that let you enhance gray tones while making the rest of the colors less vibrant producing an old-fashioned hand-colored look.

You can always make these kinds of adjustments after the fact using Adobe Photoshop or your favorite digital imaging software but shooting directly in black and white can affect how you see while making the image and the instant feedback helps focus your vision. The reason that I’m not afraid of losing the original color image for future use is because I can capture color and monochrome image files at the same time and so can you!

Tip #1: Almost all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras offer the ability to simultaneously capture RAW+JPEG files and these same cameras let you to capture monochrome only images as JPEG files. If you set your camera for RAW+JPEG capture then select the monochrome effect you want, you’ll end up with two files: one in color (RAW) and the other in black and white (JPEG.)

Tip #2: These days more and more DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have dual memory card slots that let you capture RAW files on one memory card and JPEG image files on the other. That means you can put all of your color RAW files on one card and the monochrome images on the other. Give it a try.

How I made these shots: The (top) RAW file of Jerry and Maureen Magnuson’s Magnitude ’32 Muroc roadster was captured using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II N with EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. Exposure was 1/60 sec at f/8 and ISO 1250. The bottom monochrome JPEG was made simultaneously as a sepia JPEG file. The only thing different is that the camera’s Picture Style was set for Monochrome mode with the Sepia toning option selected giving it a completely different and vintage look. It also minimized a spectator’s foot that creeped into the top of the frame.

Postscript: Maureen Magnuson is my wife’s cousin and her husband the legendary Jerry Magnuson passed away some time after these images were made at the unveiling of the Magnitude roadster at SEMA.


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My book Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is currently out-of-print but is available from Amazon with used copies starting at less than four bucks, as I write this. That’s cheaper than a Starbucks latte, so get’em while you can.