We love monochrome – always have, always will.
We output hundreds and hundreds of monochrome 35mm, 6x7cm and 5″x4″ transparencies every year (diapositives or dias to our continental friends) and, perhaps surprisingly, it is done on regular colour film alongside all the colour slides. It doesn’t actually make any difference to us whether your images are black & white or colour. We take care over the neutrality of our output – this is important for colour slides but even more important for monochrome. It is incredibly difficult to nail this as slide film and chemistry varies slightly from batch to batch. It’s all part of the delight of real film – if everything was perfect we might as well stick with digital! Actually, monochrome film isn’t strictly neutral in colour – all monochrome emulsions have their own tint characteristics, from warm to cold.
You don’t need you do anything special to your files, work on your screen just the same as colour images. The easiest conversion is to simply desaturate your image and save. Those who are a bit more particular will use the IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > BLACK & WHITE in Photoshop and play around with the colour sliders to make a more visually pleasing conversion from colour to monochrome. There are some great plugins too – NIK’s “Silver Efex Pro” especially.
Provide your files in the following format:
RGB JPEG (saved as level 10 or ‘high’ quality) – definitely don’t use CMYK or, perhaps counter-intuitively, monochrome formats.
sRGB profile (but other profiles are fine)
Output image dimensions
35mm – 4096px x 2732px
6x7cm – 8192px x 6702px
5″x4″ – 8192px x 6732px
The above are the exact dimensions we output at. There isn’t much point in up-scaling low resolution images to these sizes as you won’t gain any quality, but if you are shooting at higher resolutions than indicated then you can down-size, if you wish.