Lightroom and other imaging programs often have many preset toning effects ranging from sepia to black and white, and like this sample cyanotype. Cyanotype is an old style process used by engineers both for it's easy and economical processing, and because the blue toning makes lines and angles stand out and easier to see. Think "Blueprint." In my opinion cyanotypes rarely are the best choice for modern photography, especially since digital takes the processing cost and ease factors from the equation.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM @F8 1/320th 24mm ISO 100

Lightroom and other imaging programs often have many preset toning effects ranging from sepia to black and white, and like this sample cyanotype.  Cyanotype is an old style process used by engineers both for it's easy and economical processing, and because the blue toning makes lines and angles stand out and easier to see.  Think "Blueprint." In my opinion cyanotypes rarely are the best choice for modern photography, especially since digital takes the processing cost and ease factors from the equation.

Yet, with this composition which includes lines and complex angles I found it worked well, initially drawing your attention to the most severe lines and angles, and then the small details like the boat motor and boats/objects across the river, while effectively nulling the less important parts of the composition.  I prefer to skip presets in favor of doing my own toning.

This image is significant because it’s the first in my new series where I’ll discuss the purpose and application of the most popular toning techniques contained as presets in most imaging software.

 

Cyanotype doesn’t work for the above image at all. There are no lines separating the image into sections, no significant angles, only a single subject on a null background.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM @F8 1/1000th 200mm ISO 100

Cyanotype doesn’t work for the above image at all.  There are no lines separating the image into sections, no significant angles, only a single subject on a null background.

Give the Cyanotype effect a try on some of your images and see if you can find one where it works for you.  If you like, send it in and tell me why and we’ll publish it in the weekly column.