Last week someone posted a Photoshop tutorial to the Digital Photography School entitled "Mono, with a Dash of Colour [sic]." Basically, the image is desaturate to black and white, with only one bit of color left as a point of interest. I knew the technique described in the post fairly well, and had used it on one of my pumpkin pictures last year. In the comments section, several posted alternate techniques using a monochrome channel mixer layer. It looked intriguing, so I decided to give it a try. I figured I had the perfect photo for it.
Several weeks back I did a photoshoot with my brother Stephen and his family. His daughters, Lauren and Kelsey, both wore bright red shoes. In the image above, I used the mono channel mixer technique, adjusting the RGB balance until I had the shading I wanted. Lauren had leaned back into a shaded area, so her face was not lit as well as Kelsey’s. I highlighted her face and did some work to enhance the contrast and make it as clear as her sister’s. It turned out fairly well, although Kelsey’s face is much sharper.
Overall, I like the effect of the photo. I had several 5X7s printed, and I think the effect is much better in hardcopy.
Back to my original attempt with the pumpkin (orange gourd, actually), I found that the intense orange was a bit stark when applied to the B&W image. As seen in these two images, I desaturated the orange just a touch so that it would be a bit more subtle.