As a long time photographer who started shooting film as a teenager, graduated to SLRs (with the associated expense of film, slides, and prints), advanced to DSLRs, and who now prefers my iPhone camera, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are four kinds of black and white photos.
First, Ansel Adams. Enough said. Second, black and white film from the Kodak years. Third, color digital photos converted to gray scale (the poor man’s version of black and white, easily available on dozens of iPhone and Mac apps), and, true black and white with all the tonal nuance required to create an art form.
As a Mac user with an iPhone, and who isn’t, you’ll appreciate the Tonality app; a Mac photo editor that creates the black and white art form from any photo. Here’s an example. The black and white photo is to the left; the Before. And the black and white Tonality enhanced photo is to the right; the After.
The differences between standard black and white or color photos with the color stripped out, and what Tonality can generate with a few clicks, is nothing short of astounding, and you don’t have to start with a black and white photo to get the same artistic results.
Tonality works fine on any photo, color or black and white. It strips out color as needed, of course, but then gives you granular controls over shadows, highlights, and details.
Tonality is packed with presets which make it a breeze to get the artistic look you’ve wanted. But presets are only part of the story. Each setting has granular fine tune controls for additional clarity, detail, and options to blend modes for even more impressive results.
Sections of a photo can receive selective editing with a customizable brush for toning. There’s even a built-in authentic film emulation effect with a customizable analog grain engine to give your photo a film look.
How is all that accomplished? Point. And. Click.
Tonality must be tried to be appreciated, so even though the base Tonality app is Mac App Store only, there’s a trial version you can download from the developer’s website. You’ll also find a Pro version with more features, including RAW file editing, plugin support for Photoshop and Lightroom, and more controls.
I wonder what Ansel Adams would think of the Mac and Tonality. He died just after the Mac was introduced in 1984.