Exercise: Colours into tones in black and white

For this exercise we had to compose a still life image of the four primary colours. I placed a yellow pepper, green pepper and a red tomato onto a blue background that I had as part of a portable lighting studio and took the image with flash as the indoors light was quite poor. The exercise was to convert this to black and white and to apply different filter effects. As I use digital, I took one image and then converted this image, if I was working with film, then I would need to apply different colour filters and take a series of images.

I like black and white photography, I feel that it has a timeless quality that colour doesn’t always have, and I often convert my images to monochrome so this exercise was going to be quite interesting. One thing that stood out from the original colour image was how vibrant and eye-catching the primary colours were together, so to take that away and apply a black and white filter, took a lot of the initial punch away. However with a different subject choice, the conversion might add more to the image, than take away from it.

I’ve converted the images from raw to jpg without any colour modification at all. I then used Photoshop to convert the images to:-

– Original

Tones 1 unedited


– Neutral black and white

Tones 1 BW no filter

– Black and white with a yellow filter

Tones 1 BW yellow filter

– Black and white with a red filter

Tones 1 BW red filter

– Black and white with a green filter

Tones 1 BW green filter

– Black and white with a blue filter

Tones 1 BW blue filter

Out of all of the images, I liked the neutral one with no filter, and the one with a green filter applied. I didn’t feel that the other ones looked natural enough, and while there was a colour cast to them, I don’t feel that it helped to emphasise the original colours.


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