Scott Kelby’s Sessions Duotone Settings

Scott Kelby recently wrote about being inspired to do a series of portraits as a project for himself (click here for that original post). If you haven’t viewed it, go back and take a look. He made some beautiful images based on a theme.

Then yesterday he posted the formula he used in Lightroom and/or Camera Raw to get that particular duotone look (click here to read that later post). It was a very simple formula that even could be applied as an action if you so desired. And the key? It really looked great with Scott’s lighting setup and original photos. So, I wondered: how would it look on just any portrait of mine? Or perhaps yours? Would it be the same effect or should you really be looking at your style instead of just copying Scott?

This is a portrait of a great-niece. She was the flower girl at a nephew’s wedding last year.

So, first I just opened the image in camera raw, converted it to black-and-white and then applied Scott’s duotone formula. This is what I got:

Then I took the original image and converted it to a more pleasing Black-and-white (to me) image in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. This is that image:

And finally I took the Silver Efex Pro image and added Scott’s duotone effect to it, with this final result:

I left the images larger than usual so you could get a good look and make a decent comparison. I believe the image certainly needed a good B&W conversion before applying the duotone (compare the first duotone with the last). Making a straight conversion in camera raw and going right to the duotone (the first one) didn’t do much for the image quality. And, although I liked the B&W version from Nik, I believe Scott’s formula made the converted image more pleasing. What do you think?

I chose this particular image at random, simply because it was close at hand. So no cherry-picking or selecting to give Scott’s formula any kind of headstart. I think he has provided another valuable technique, easily applied, for which he deserves another round of applause. Try this little experiment on your images and see what you think. Let me know how it works for you … I think you’ll like it.

1 Comment

  1. Dear James,

    Could I trouble to give me these steps in Photoshop as I do not use either Light Room or Camera Raw.

    Thanks in advance.

    BTW, Really Stunning Photo!

Leave a Reply