Photography apps these days are packed with filters and effects. The one technique that has escaped much usage on my Mac is converting a color photo to grayscale. I like color. It’s very forgiving. Monochrome photos, at least to me, have always been more of an art form, a technique for those with a creative eye. Merely stripping the color from a photo was sufficient for me to enter that creative realm, but recently I’ve become a convert. There’s more to grayscale than meets the eye.
Mac users have plenty of apps that, among their many and varied features, filters, and effects, almost always have a grayscale option which strips out the color from a photo. But only a few Mac photo enhancement apps do it right. If you’re on a budget but have the black and white creative gene, Monochrome for the Mac is a good place to start your career as the 21st century Ansel Adams.
Other than the one-click options in some photo apps there’s no easier, faster, or less expensive way to convert a color image to the monochromatic creation of your dreams. The slider bar and presets alone are worth the price of admission, though there are dozens of effects from motion blur, to vintage photo effects to edge burning and more.
Choose from an RGB or HSL-based color mixer, two levels of color desaturation, and monotone color remapping, or built-in presets. Every adjustment is previewed and viewing parts or the entire image is actually fun with the color stripping slider bar which displays the original and the modified image side-by-side.
Monochrome is batch savvy, too, and lets you export converted images in the background and apply presets to more than one image at a time. Photos can be viewed with the built-in slide show function which displays images fullscreen.
Monochrome is social and friendly. It comes with templates to print monochromatic images on a per page, contact sheet, or as image slices (and, of course, all images can be saved as PDFs to share) and files can be shared online via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and photos can be dragged and dropped onto other graphics or photo enhancement apps.
Caveats? A few, but not much.
To the untrained or inexperienced eye, simply removing color from a photo, as is available in many less expensive Mac photo apps, may appear to be much the same thing as Monochrome. The real value comes in the presets and the few options to highlight shadows (not something available in lesser apps), but I would like to see a setting that would help to reduce noise in photos taken in low light.