Not 4 Color

B&W, 2 & 3 Color, Sepia Tones & Minimal Black Can Be Effortless

In other words, changing a 4 color photo to Not 4 Color.

Well, maybe not completely effortless, but if its not worth the effort . . .

I know many of my peers are into B&W photography.  While I do some,  it never really drove my interest.  I much prefer the challenge of two color.

The considerations are:

  • does the photo lend itself to B&W in some portions, such as landscapes
  • which is the color(s) I want to keep
  • how do I present the B&W (high contrast, sepia tone, selenium tone, dark and light sections, etc.)

I did all this work in Lightroom (works with any version), though you could also do it in Photoshop if you want to create layers and have multiple versions of the photo in a single file.

I took this photo of a woman clamming on Cape Cod

Clamming Cape Code, MA
This photo lent itself to some color experimentation since the ground and water were black and white already.

In Lightroom Develop, under Saturation, it was pretty simple to desaturate all the colors except yellow, then work with general tools like contrast, blacks and whites to get this look:

Not 4 Color
Desaturated everything but yellow.

I then had a thought about possibly adding the blue back in, for a slightly different look.

Seems to work well either way.

Clamming, Cape Cod MA. B&W, Blue and Yellow
Left in blue and yellow

With this shot, I first tried de-saturating the red, orange, yellow and magenta from the flowers, but did not like that look. I de-saturated the sky instead.

Tulips, Looking Up
Photo taken from below the tulips into the sky.  Nice creative shot, in of itself.


DSC 4104 Edit 1
Sort of a colorful/bleak photo!

Here is a beach shot I took in Florida
There are a lot of colors to work with here, so I did not even try for black and one color. Instead, I came up with two different options. All this was done in Lightroom.

surfboards and sailboats
Somewhere on one of the peninsulas in Florida

Florida beach

Left a lot of orange, yellow, red and blue (for the flag).

I do not always have a plan for a particular photo.  I do find it hard to use B&W with color in landscapes.  It is certainly do able, but I do find those images difficult.

From what you see here, I tend to work with photos that have objects like clothing, flowers, boats,  etc.  Still life’s also lend themselves to this kind of work.

florida surf boards on beach
Changed the background tone









Times Sq Green Blue
Times Square area, NYC
Minimal Black is variable saturation control. Here I de-saturated all but Yellow and Organe.



DSC 5808 Edit
There is, always, B&W.
Pedicab driver in India.










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Comments welcome below

Also see:

Good Step By Step Short Video

5 Intriguing In Camera Creative Photography Ideas With Detailed Photos

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