Monotone photography is a type of photography that displays only one tone of color instead of the original colors; this color tone might be black and white (monochrome), red, blue, green, or any other colors. People make monotonic photos for some reasons; it can be just for the sake of art or many of them do it to emphasize something in their pictures. Whatever your reasons are, creating monotone photography is relatively easy but it needs the right technique. With the availability of photo-editing software, creating monotone pictures will only take minutes to finish.
Here are the things that you will need:
1. A digital camera (preferably a DSLR camera) with a memory card
2. A desktop computer or laptop that has a photo editing software (such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, etc.)
3. Memory card reader to transfer your photos from your camera to your computer
4. Last but not least, some basic skills on how to operate your camera and your computer
The whole process will cost you $0 by assuming you already have a camera, a computer, and a photo-editing program.
For demonstration purpose, this is the list of equipment that I used to make these sets of instructions:
1. A Canon 550D (Rebel T3i in the USA) DSLR camera with SD Memory Card
2. A 2009 Apple MacBook Pro
3. Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac
Different cameras or softwares have different interfaces. However, I will try to give the instruction as general as I could. As long as you get the concept, you should be able to do this using different equipment.
Step 1: Preparing the Pictures
1. Plug your memory card to your computer using the memory card reader
2. Open your memory card folder
• If you are using a Windows computer, open My Computer to find your memory card folder
• If you are using a Mac, the folder will appear on your Desktop
3. Find the photo that you want to use
4. Right-click on the photo, then click Copy
5. Paste your photos on your Desktop by making a right-click on your Desktop, then choose Paste Item
Note: you can paste your photos anywhere in your computer but I would recommend pasting those on your Desktop so they will become easy to find
Step 2: Editing the Picture
6. Open your photo-editing program. In this case, I will open my Adobe Photoshop CS 5
7. After Adobe Photoshop is opened, click on File > Open
8. On the dialog box, go to your Desktop (or the folder where you pasted your photos)
9. Choose the photo that you want to use, then hit Open. You should see your picture on the main Photoshop screen. In this case, I am using my photo of the Brooklyn Bridge
10. Notice that on the right bottom part of your Photoshop screen, there is a box that says “Layer.” A thumbnail of your photo should be located below it and labeled as “Background.” Right click the thumbnail, and click “Layer From Background.”
11. It will give you a dialog box. Just click “OK”
Step 3: Editing the Picture (cont'd)
12. On the top of your screen, click Image > Adjustment > Black & White. Then click OK. This will make your photo black and white then later you can convert this into a single color
13. Then click Image > Adjustment > Brightness & Contrast. Play with the scroll bar to adjust your brightness and contrast to your desired appearance. Your goal is to make your object as distinct as possible from the surrounding.
14. If your main goal is to make black and white pictures, you are done. But many monotone photographs are not only black and white. You can add a color tone to give a sense of feeling to your pictures.
15. To give a color tone, click Image > Adjustment > Color Balance
16. Move the scroll bars to give different color tones
Note: Blue-ish color tones are usually used to give a sense of calm, cool feelings on your picture where orange or red color tone will give a sense of warm, energized feelings.
17. After you get your desired color tone, play around with the brightness and contrast once again to make sure your picture successfully tells the whole story
Step 4: Done!
Your picture is done! Click File > Save As to save your file into your computer
Notice that this photo emphasizes the bridge well by eliminating other objects, such as other people. Deep blue color give a sense of dark and cool, while a high contrast can eliminate the appearance of other objects.