Black and White Effects – Windows Live Photo Gallery

Windows Live Photo Gallery has a selection of tools for “fixing” – enhancing, correcting – photos. Included is a group of six tools for black and white effects. Maybe I should say more correctly “monochrome” effects, because two of them are “Cyan tone” and “Sepia tone”.


The effects go well beyond “fixing”, they allow you to create images of different moods, pictures that are not just a representation of what you saw, but what you want to share with the viewer. The sepia tone creates images that evoke old times. Cyan abstracts a photo to a cool, formal image. The other four are black and white effects. The first, “No filter”, translates the photo to the gray tones that we find normal. It shows how a photo would appear when printed in a newspaper. Then there are three color filter effects, yellow, orange, and red.

Back in the days of black-and-white film photography, these filters were quite popular. I still have a collection of them – various sizes for different lenses – but now, with digital photography I don’t need the actual filters, the effects can be done with a click of the mouse. (The Undo option removes the effect – it is easy to try one after another.)

The yellow filter darkens blues and greens slightly. The orange filter deepens these effects. Blue skies are made darker, bringing out clouds more prominently. Green foliage is darkened while yellow and red colors of flowers are made lighter. The most dramatic color effects are achieved with the red filter.



Photo by Justin Keck

Here is a pleasant picture of Death Valley, California, showing the desolate landscape, the valley and the Panamint Mountains beyond. The mountains are some twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) away. The atmospheric haze makes them appear blue. We are used to that and associate that appearance with distance. The sky has just a few wispy clouds. Now take a look at the dramatic picture that the red filter creates:


The sky is very dark, almost giving the picture the appearance of a night scene. The distant mountains seem much closer. The mood is totally different from the original color photo.

See what you can do with your photos. You might like what you can achieve.


About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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5 Responses to Black and White Effects – Windows Live Photo Gallery

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  2. Sara says:

    Your photo with the “red filter” is black and white. What’s the deal?

    • Ludwig says:

      The post is about black & White effects. The filtration is applied before (or during) the conversion process. Filtering allows for the described effects.

    • Ludwig says:

      Sadly, Microsoft has not seen fit to support their own superior Photo Gallery program. In Windows 8 and the coming Windows 8.1 you must start the import process from Photo Gallery. It works like a charm and offers all the options and benefits. It does require a few additional clicks: Start Photo Gallery, click Import, with the camera turned on it will show up in the dialog, so the camera icon needs to be clicked. Windows 8 is indeed directed to unsophisticated two-year olds. Windows 8.1 is a tad better. I will have a post on how to make Windows 8.1 into a OS that prior Windows users can use and appreciate. They won’t love it, however.

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