The JW Anderson SS19 campaign video has this very unique black and white look to it (that very much applies to photography too), and I can't figure out how to replicate it. I'm not sure if it's lighting, a filter, or the way they edited it, but it's a creamy, almost-vintage look. How do I replicate this? It looks like it might be a little bit of sepia but that doesn't give me the full effect I'm going for. w [w enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where are you starting from? There's a lot of flat light in those, white-out sky to start with giving very broad lighting. Link to this answer - photo.stackexchange.com/a/100300/57929 - just because it contains flat sky examples. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 8:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ The very diffuse, overcast sky lighting is definitely a part of the "look." This would be hard to achieve in sunshine. \$\endgroup\$
    – user8356
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 14:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see absolutely nothing unique about this look. The interwebs are overflowing with low contrast monochrome images with no highlights or deep shadows and a slightly off-white color. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 4:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Those look "overexposed" -- to simulate this, you can flatten the upper end of the tone curve. Additionally, there seems to be some softening of the highlights. Smoothing and multiplying it by a (tone-adjusted) gaussian blurred image would probably do the trick. Final(x, y) = (Smooth[Image])(x, y) * ToneAdjust((Gaussian[Image, 7x7])(x, y)) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 10:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MateenUlhaq where should I run that statement? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jodast
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


If you want to achieve this digitally note how the whites aren't full white and the blacks aren't full black.

You can do that e.g. in Lightroom or any other editing tool by pulling the endpoints for the highlights and shadows towards the middle.

Flatter Curve = less contrast

To get a creamy tint, select the RGB Blue-Channel and reduce the Highlights-max Point. This bumps up the yellow:

Pull down max blue values

  • \$\begingroup\$ Instead of a linear tone curve, I think it looks more like a negative contrast curve - instead of pulling the right point down, create a new point close to the right and pull that down. This creates an S-shaped curve that flattens out detail, which looks like it matches the highlights in the source (but not the shadows, so leave the left point as described in this answer). The alternative is to just use the "highlights" correction and drag it down, then use exposure and/or tone curve to adjust everything until the values look right again. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 4:06

If those were film images, I'd say they were "overexposed" by about one stop and developed at N-1 (pull 1) to ensure well filled shadows. They may also have been printed on a warm-tone paper, and the prints preflashed to rein in the whites.

Presuming they're digital in origin, it's likely filters with similar results were applied in post Generally, this is the lowest level of what's called "high key" (at its extreme, the whole frame would be near-white, with only a few detail-rich and still pretty light shadow regions).


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