Ugly Urban - how to create high contrast monochrome pictures

This video tutorial is all about creating high contrast, gritty and moody monochromes such as those Mark produced for his recent hit photo essay (urban ugliness slideshow) on ugly, derelict, neglected and dilapidated urban areas of Plymouth.

The video is simple to follow and covers the complete workflow and editing process typical of the photos in that essay. By watching it you will be able to apply the same steps to your own shots and, provided they have the basic ingredients present, you will soon be on the way to producing great shots with lots of mood.

Video Tutorial: Urban Ugliness Workflow

The video starts with the production of three TIF files from one RAW capture (using Rawshooter Essentials). It then covers their conversion to a high dynamic range image (using Dynamic Photo HDR) and the accompanying tone-mapping step. Finally the image is brought into Photoshop for conversion to mono via the b&w filter and the application of a soft-light layer vignette.

The video is 21mins long and is narrated throughout in a clearly spoken voice. All steps are simply explained, with Mark taking the time to point out and let the viewer see what the effect is on the image as each step is applied. This makes it easy to understand and follow what is going on right the way through.

By watching and learning from the tutorial you will be able to apply the techniques in your own ways to bring moody monochrome melodrama to your shots.

In addition to the photo essay and this tutorial, the Highton-Ridley web site contains galleries of all Mark’s fine art images, each of which can be ordered on-line as either canvas or matted prints (using the trusted PayPal for payment handling). Although Mark majors in monochrome there are some beautiful colour images in his flora and colour galleries.

About the Author:

Mark Highton Ridley was born and raised in Scotland before he and family moved to Plymouth (following his father, who was a merchant-navy captain). In shooting his pictures, he searches for the striking and powerful in the everyday and the mundane - details often seen but rarely noticed by other eyes. His work invites you to reassess the familiar with fresh eyes and to listen to the story he’s trying to tell.

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