3 tips to quickly create interesting monochrome images using Tonality

Version 4

We are back with another installment in our photo tips series. Today we are going to demonstrate some simple ways to dramatically enhance your images with Tonality, a black and white conversion tool from Macphun.

I love big colors, but there’s just something that’s timeless about a nice black and white image. They can be arrestingly beautiful in their colorless simplicity. When an image lacks color, your eyes are naturally drawn to the shapes and lines of the photo. It’s a photograph that is reduced to its simplest form, and it can be breath-taking.

While I spend most of my time creating images that are full of color, when I want a stunning monochrome, I turn to Tonality by Macphun. It’s the best black and white editor that I have ever used, and I believe that you will love it too.

Whether you are interested in a genuine film look, a traditional black and white, or some unique uses of color and texture, Tonality has it all. In other words, this is not your father’s black and white editor – it’s so much more!

If you would like to download a free trial of Tonality, you can do that here. It is also available as part of their Creative Kit bundle, which you can find here.

This post is part of a mini series of photography tutorials written by professional photographer Jim Nix and brought to you by Macphun. Over the course of several weeks, Jim has shared quick and simple tips to dramatically improve your photos with easy-to-use professional software.

For today’s lesson, I will use this iPhone image of the Eiffel Tower from lovely Paris. It was late afternoon in the Fall in Paris, and the light was already starting to fade. I opted to tilt my camera to capture a slightly different view of this iconic landmark.


We are going to show 3 different final versions of this photo, all of which you can quickly create with just a couple of clicks. Tonality gives you much finer control over your images than any iPhone app out there, and while the examples today are not complicated edits, you can absolutely go much deeper to further customize your images than we do here.  It’s all up to you!

Version #1

1) As with previous lessons, we will start in Apple Photos. Once you select the image you want to use, just double-click on it, then hit Edit in the upper right corner of your screen, and you will be taken to this Edit screen. To use Tonality, which is set up as an Extension to Photos, you just click on Extensions and then choose Tonality as your editor.


2) This is your landing screen in Tonality. You will see that your photo has already been converted to black and white, and frankly it looks great. However, today we will walk through three very quick changes you can make to your photo, using Presets.


3) To view Presets, just single-click on the word Presets in the bottom right corner of the screen. There are several categories of Presets, and it will default to the last one that was used. It will also display a film strip along the bottom, showing some of the presets available in the currently selected category.


If you click on the currently-selected category (Basic is the current one in this view), it will display a list of ALL the preset categories.


4) For this first version of the photo, we are using a Preset from the Street category. So, select Street and you will get this view. Scroll to the right and choose the Preset titled Underground.


After selecting your Preset, you can then click on the word Preset again and the film strip will drop out of sight, giving you the full screen to view your image.


Once the Preset is chosen, it will update your photo with all the changes that the Preset contains. If you look at the menu on the right-hand side of the image, you will see all sorts of adjustment labels. The ones that are in yellow are the ones that have been changed as part of the Preset – the ones in white have not.

As you can tell, many changes have occurred to the photo with this single click. You can click on any of these adjustment labels and the menu will open up, allowing you to further adjust this to your liking. But in this example, I like it a lot just how it is, so I am going to leave it and move on to a different version of this photo.

Just click Save Changes in the upper right corner, and your photo will return to the edit screen in Photos. Then click Done and it will drop back into your library next to the original.

Here’s the final version of this edit:


Version #2

1) As with Edit #1 above, we start in Photos and follow the same steps to get the image into Tonality. This time, we will choose a Preset from the Vintage category. So once you are back in Tonality, click on Presets and then choose the Vintage category, and select the Preset called Crumpled Photo.


Then click on the word Presets again to drop the film strip out of sight and give your photo more viewing room.


2) I love the look of this Preset. It has a crumpled paper texture applied, which gives it a great look in my opinion. You could definitely just stop right here and call it done. But, I want to add one more step to change up the color tones just a little bit.

So, in the right hand menu, click on Split Toning. A menu will open up and you will be presented with this view:


Split toning allows you to make adjustments to the Highlights and Shadows of an image separately. You can move the sliders in each section – Highlights or Shadows – and choose a Tint (color tone) and then move the next slider to adjust the Saturation of that color. It’s a quick and easy way to completely change the look of your photo.

3) However, Tonality has made it even easier. There are Presets in this category, all ready for you to click them and move on. Do you see the little color boxes along the top of this menu box, right below the word Split Toning? Those are basically presets for this section, and the color of the box indicates the color that will apply to your image when you click them.

Here are two examples of using the presets for split toning. Note that the preset selected is highlighted with a yellow border to let you know which one you are viewing. Also note the changes that have occurred to the sliders in each image.




4) I selected the 2nd preset from the left, sort of the blue one. With one click it is applied to my image, and here is the result:


Here is the final version of this edit:


Version #3

Ok, just to demonstrate the versatility of Tonality, we will show one more preset option for a completely different look than the previous two. This time, we will go for more of a sepia-toned image.

1) Follow the same steps as before, moving your image from Photos over to Tonality. When you get to Tonality, open the Preset menu, choose the Toning category, and select the Preset called Copper & Selenium. Click the word Presets once again to get a full screen view.



2) As you can see based on the right-hand menu, the only item that has been affected by this preset is Split Toning (it’s the only menu item highlighted in yellow). I like the colors here, so we will leave Split Toning alone, but we are going to dress this photo up a little bit more.

The first thing I do is open up the Clarity & Structure menu, and drag the two sliders a bit to the right. This creates more visible detail across the entire photo, and also creates a little bit of noise, which gives it almost a film-quality feel.


3) The photo is much more detailed and “punchy” than it was at first. That’s really about all I want to do to the photo, except for adding a frame, which is our final step.

Just click on Frames in the right hand menu, and then you will be presented with various frame options:


4) Choose the frame option you prefer by clicking on it, then click the X to close the frame options box. You can then drag the slider to adjust the width of the frame on your photo. Once you are satisfied, just click Save Changes to be returned to Photos, and then Done to drop it back into your Photos Library.


Here’s the final version of the image:


That’s it for today, folks: 3 simple and quick alternatives to create an interesting and unique black and white version of your photos, all done with just a couple of clicks in Tonality by Macphun. Thanks for stopping by and let us know if you have any questions!

Catch up on previous photo tutorials

Jim Nix is a traveler, photographer, and wanderlust sufferer. He aims to inspire others with his photos, tips, adventures and more on his blog. You can connect with him on Facebook, or YouTube.