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Thread: Photos - black and white or sepia?

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    Photos - black and white or sepia?

    Would the correct way to assess if an image is 'true' black and white, to convert it to greyscale? I have posted these images onto the forum (below) and some members have said they are a sepia tint. To the best of my knowledge these are monotone with no tint, and running them through a greyscale conversion confirms this.







    please ask before PP my images

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    I'm no expert, but there is 'colour' in black and white photos, I think because there is colour in all light ? Just my theory.

    I do know that when you Pp b&w, one thing to look at is hue. This places / controls the hue in the image....which are coloured.

    Desaturate I think is zero hue. Again I'm unsure. I do know sepia has a brown/copper type tone.....and these I would not call sepia.


    They look a tad green to me, ....but I am on an uncalibrated iPad. slide your hue bar around and see what happens. Also temperature effects final look too.

    True monochrome? Hhmmmm.....not sure there is such a thing....



    On closer inspection the bricks are a tad warm.
    Last edited by Kerrie; 17-05-2012 at 7:00pm.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrie View Post
    I'm no expert, but there is 'colour' in black and white photos, I think because there is colour in all light ? Just my theory.

    I do know that when you Pp b&w, one thing to look at is hue. This places / controls the hue in the image....which are coloured.

    Desaturate I think is zero hue. Again I'm unsure. I do know sepia has a brown/copper type tone.....and these I would not call sepia.


    They look a tad green to me, ....but I am on an uncalibrated iPad. slide your hue bar around and see what happens. Also temperature effects final look too.

    True monochrome? Hhmmmm.....not sure there is such a thing....



    On closer inspection the bricks are a tad warm.
    Maybe it was the way the sun was hitting the bricks that makes them look warmer? As moving the hue slider when it's in monochrome has no effect on the toning of the image. Again, after creating the above images I have converted them to greyscale to make sure that the above images are monotone (no tints) and there is no change when doing this to the above images.
    Last edited by wideangle; 17-05-2012 at 7:34pm.

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    Oh. Ok. Then I have no idea why they would be called sepia? Maybe they were just mistaken

    But I do know tones can vary....if tones is the right word...hopefully someone can help us know more


    Maybe try Select colour changes ? or a bw gradient if you want them more black n white.?

    Maybe it's the white balance? I also recently heard about ' calibration' , it turns things bw.....

    http://www.photoshopessentials.com/p...ack-and-white/


    Good luck
    Last edited by Kerrie; 17-05-2012 at 7:54pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrie View Post
    Oh. Ok. Then I have no idea why they would be called sepia? Maybe they were just mistaken

    But I do know tones vary....hopefully someone can help us know more
    Yes, just more curious than anything, but I suppose the complexities of monotone, as you point out, are vast and black and white ain't black and white!

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    I asked Thomas to post these and ask, cause on my monitor they seem to have a slight sepia tone, and I commented on it in his thread, but he doesn't see it. So I wondered if it was just me, and not his images.
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    Well for the little I know about monochrome ATM......I now know just a little more ( thanks to this thread) and the greyscale convert definitely has no colour in it !

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    I have looked at these on my iPhone. iPad and desktop with a calibrated monitor at home!! They all look BW to me!!
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    I too commented on the tone...they have a brownish tinge on my monitor....hence I was agreeing with Rick on the 'sepia' look.


    Standing to attention by Miss Monny, on Flickr

    this was a black and white film. I am posting this here just to see if there is a difference or not between the two.

    Edit: Well, they look very similar. The only thing that may be altering our view is the sky in the first one?? It, to me, seems a warmer shade of grey.

    They are still great images, even if they are showing different tinges of b&w on some monitors.
    Last edited by Ms Monny; 17-05-2012 at 8:23pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Monny View Post
    I too commented on the tone...they have a brownish tinge on my monitor....hence I was agreeing with Rick on the 'sepia' look.


    Standing to attention by Miss Monny, on Flickr

    this was a black and white film. I am posting this here just to see if there is a difference or not between the two.

    Edit: Well, they look very similar. The only thing that may be altering our view is the sky in the first one?? It, to me, seems a warmer shade of grey.

    They are still great images, even if they are showing different tinges of b&w on some monitors.
    Very interesting, I find your image to have a similar look in terms of hue appearance. My guess is what's happening is the different light in different areas of the subjects are creating a sense of different hues? Maybe it's the mind playing games? lol

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    maybe! Its funny because just looking at yours I see a brown tint, very faint but there BUT put up against the b&w film, they look the same. Yep, lets just put it down to mind games!!

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    Now I know the context of the conversation, this is my take.

    The middle photo of the close up bricks does seem ' a strange grey'

    Agreed, they are great photos.

    My photos never look the same here as on my monitor in cs5. One day I will calibrate.

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    I will fire up my main editing pc tomorrow and have a look on that. I am starting to suspect its not Thomas' photos, but rather the monitors some of us are using. I have viewed all this on my laptop (calibrated) but laptop screens are notoriously unreliable

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    If it helps, I am using a hardware calibrated monitor.

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    They definitely look B&W to me.
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    I wonder if the background colour (of the AP page) has an effect on how the tones are perceived? The first image looks slightly tinted to me (on the dark bluish-grey background), but if I "View Image" it looks pure B&W (opens on a white background in a new tab). The inverse of the bluish-grey background is a slightly pinkish/brownish grey, so perhaps the background shifts our perception of the image tones in that direction? Perhaps also the predominance of mid-greys and lack of significant areas of (pure) black and white in this image exacerbates the effect?

    BTW, my understanding is that monochrome simply means one colour, not necessarily pure black and white. Cyanotype prints (blue) for example would be considered monochrome.


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    I can't see any colour cast at all. It all looks like shades of black, white and grey on my monitor.

    We all have our monitors calibrated differently, and therein possibly lies the explanation as to why some folk see some colour cast.
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    Hi, I'd call them B & W, and I'm thinking its maybe a perception of colour, from the screen background colours, or the wall behind you, maybe casting a colour tone.

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    They all look b/w to me.........top one has some banding in the sky.........

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