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Duotone prints with Photoshop

A duotone makes a really nice alternative to a black and white print, and they're so easy to do in Photoshop!  No longer are we subject to the whims of the chemicals as they develop and (maybe) give us the subtle tones that we want. 

My three favorite combinations are based upon black with burgundy, black with cyan, and a sepia tritone that uses black, magenta, and yellow.  I chose black with cyan for this image from a recent wedding.  I hope your monitor will show the color, but you might just have to take my word for it that this isn't a black and white portrait. 

1. Make a good quality black and white image using your favorite method.  Mine are at the link.

2. Flatten the image and chose Grayscale for your Mode.  Discard the color information when it asks you. 

3. Chose Duotone for your Mode and either use one of the presets or load your own.  You can adjust the curves boxes next to the ink colors.  For this sample, just to keep things simple, I chose a preset called "cyan bl3.ado".

4. Add an adjustment layer and tweak the Brightness/Contrast.  Flatten the image.

5. If you are going to print the image, reconvert the Mode to RGB and use the curves adjustment if the color changes.      

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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I've never used Duotone Mode in Photoshop. Does it have an advantage over just using Color Balance or Hue/Saturation?

Before you say okay to "Discard color info?", be sure you have saved the original color photo elsewhere!
Cyndi L said…
Well, the hue and color balance function affects the entire image, but duotone or tritone breaks it up into several different colors. It may be hard to see in my low res image, but you just can't get this look with simple adjustment layers. The other thing about duo and tritone is that you can do a levels or curve adjustment on each color in your mix. It's amazingly versatile.
Wow, that's all great to know. Thank you, Cyndi!