Black and white photography goes way further than black, white and grey. Adding colored filters to your camera whilst shooting B&W basically allows you to control the intensity of dark and light tones, increasing or decreasing contrast and even smoothing skin tones. The logic is pretty simple too, working by the chromatic circle: they work by filtering the light depending on the colour used. Worry not – you can check the effect of red, orange, yellow, green and blue filters below.
Red – Using a red filter means you will be filtering red tones, making them whiter. But remember the chromatic circle: yellows, oranges and purples have red in their composition as well, so it will lighten those tones too, depending on the amount of red they have (for instance, a deep purple will look grayish). This means that tones with no red in it will get darker, such as blues and greens.
Orange – This filter is highly recommended whilst shooting portraits. Though it is a low contrast filter, it enriches greys and smooths reds and yellows in the skin portrayed. Warm up filters may achieve the same effect!
Yellow – Filtering yellow tones, the effect is richer grey tones and low contrast. This happens because only oranges, greens and yellows are affected (or, as you might guess, colours that contain yellow on their composition). Keep in mind that the light that you’re shooting with will influence the results too: yellow lights will make you image quite white.
Green – Adding a green filter to your camera will lighten green tones (including blues!). Not the best option whilst shooting landscape – as you can imagine, it will make everything quite pale, except reds (the green filter will make them darker, since there’s no green in it). Overall, you will get light greys and some black where there’s red.
Blue – This type of filter is also known as the high contrast one! Filtering the blue tones, you get grey in greens and deep black in reds, oranges and yellows. You might want to avoid it when shooting portraits (ashy skin, anyone?), though.
Author: Yéssica Klein/ Instagram: YéssicaKlein
Images: © Yéssica Klein/ Filter image: © Heavens Graphix