Monochrome workers ever since the earliest days of photography have been able to add a subtle tone to their pictures to convey a particular atmosphere. In the age of Lightroom and Photoshop this is now a trivial procedure: Lightroom, for instance, provides a large number of presets for this.
I have been casting round for specific split tone settings for monochrome images, and in the past few months have found a couple of methods that I like. Both Lightroom and Camera Raw allow you to add toning to either the shadows or highlights, or even different tones to each. (Having said that, I have never really taken to adding different tones to both the highlights and shadows, and haven't pursued that.)
I came across an entry in Scott Kelby's blog where he showed toning of the shadow regions -- giving warmth to the darkest tones.
|Fig. 1. The split toning panel in Lightroom: settings similar to the Kelby toning method. An equivalent panel is available in the current version of ACR.|
This appealed to me, so I have made a Lightroom preset similar to this (Fig. 1). I have posted a number of examples of this, but to illustrate, here is one. Note how the highlights sparkle white, but the darker regions have a slightly warm tone.
|Fig. 2. Darker regions toned using the settings shown in Fig. 1.|
I had never previously thought of toning the highlights rather than the shadows, but Tim Clinch introduced me to a very pleasing method. The Creamtone preset supplied with Lightroom puts a soft creamy appearance on the highlight regions, and this can be very attractive.
|Fig. 3. Settings for Creamtone highlights|
The problems with this particular preset are that it introduces an increase in the exposure, and the black-and-white conversion is by simple desaturation. My preference is to use the B&W panel in Lightroom for converting to monochrome, so that the targeted adjustment tools can be used to alter the contribution of the original colours to the final image. So, I set up my own version of the Creamtone preset, which doesn't change the exposure and the B&W panel is used for conversion; the toning follows the original Creamtone values (Fig. 3).
|Fig. 4. Toned with the Creamtone settings|
I think for the moment these two approaches will do me for much of my monochrome work.