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Digital Black and White

Our specialist black and white digital photography page

Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has diminished greatly in these challenging times, so I'm at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith
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We’ve lots of articles on this site covering black and white digital photography and other monochrome issues.

If you are just starting out with digital black and white, then this particular article may be of interest. It’s a 2020 version of the original I wrote in 2004.

The basics of Black & White digital photography

This page is the reference point for all our digital black and white photography related articles and reviews.

It covers all aspects from taking photos for black and white use, processing and editing them (converting colour to b&w) and producing black and white prints.

Articles listed here are those with significant sections dealing with aspects of black and white photography. There are also some of my older Black and White Photos in the Gallery

Why Black and White

Black and white photography still inspires me.

I’m reminded of this quote from someone who’s original work, and ability to explore new techniques I admire:

“I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.”

– Ansel Adams
forward to his book “the Negative”, published January, 1980

Black and White Photography

specialist monochrome test image for print

The image to the right is a special black and white printer test image.

Keith Cooper has created it to test the quality of black and white printing.

This is the current version of our standard black and white printer test image, first published in 2005.

The test image incorporates a number of features designed to make it useful in testing and then improving monochrome print output.

Many features are also directly copied from the old version so as to maintain compatibility with existing test prints.

It’s quite a harsh test, but covers most areas where printers have difficulties, such as shadow detail, colour casts, and linearity.

All the various parts are explained and an A4 300ppi sized version is freely available for download. There are versions with a 51 and 21 step greyscale ramp available for creating QTR ‘correction’ profiles. There are also numerous articles that include its use.

Black and White photography articles on this site

The articles and reviews are grouped into different categories. You can look through all the articles via the categories selection at there right, or use the search box.

Articles

  • Black and white test image for use with i1iSisBlack and white test image for use with i1iSisBlack and white test image and 51 step (2%) greyscale step wedge for use with X-Rite i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer. Includes target files and downloadable test image
  • Fine tuning black and white photo printingFine tuning black and white photo printingFine tuning black and white photo printing with a flatbed scanner when using using monochrome print settings such as Epson ABW or Canon Black and White photo print modes. Test for optimal media settings. Print linearisation with curves.
  • Using effects lens filtersUsing effects lens filtersAfter being given some assorted lens filters dating back to film days, Keith wonders if they are still of any use with modern digital cameras and how B&W film 'emulation' has its limits.
  • Black and white linearisation with the i1Pro 3Black and white linearisation with the i1Pro 3Updated linearisation for black and white printing with the X-Rite i1Pro3 spectrophotometer. Using the free chart measurement features of i1Profiler. Includes files and data for incorporating test strips into printer test images
  • Printer Test ImagesPrinter Test ImagesCollection of printer test images - colour and monochrome (black and white). Test photos for printer and monitor checking.
  • A simple black and white printA simple black and white printA simple black and white print workflow aimed at showing just how easy it is to create a black and white landscape print, with a few simple edits.
  • Printing low megapixel images at large sizePrinting low megapixel images at large sizePrinting low megapixel images at large size, looking at resizing and image editing techniques that let you make larger prints than you thought possible. Getting good prints at A2 and 17" x 25" sizes
  • Better photography by printing your workBetter photography by printing your workBetter Photography from prints. Printing your photos is a useful skill to work on. 5 steps towards getting great prints that will help you improve all of your photography

There are around a thousand free articles and reviews on the site - thanks to everyone who helps support it.
We appreciate any purchases you make through our partners such as B&H which help us sustain the site.

Reviews

  • SpyderX Studio reviewSpyderX Studio reviewReview of the Spyder X Studio kit from Datacolor. Includes the Spyder X Elite monitor calibrator, SpyderCube white balance and exposure tool and SpyderPrint printer profiling kit for creating ICC printer profiles
  • Review: DxO Nik Collection 2Review: DxO Nik Collection 2Nik Collection 2 image editing plugins - Updated Nik plugin collection from DxO with improved compatibility for modern apps. Links to Keith's detailed reviews and discussion of new functionality
  • Fotospeed Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper reviewFotospeed Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper reviewFotospeed Smooth cotton 300 paper review. Smooth matte surface surface, Cotton based 300gsm white paper. Takes a good ink load and for a matte paper gives solid colour and B&W tonality
  • Fotospeed Legacy Gloss 325 paper reviewFotospeed Legacy Gloss 325 paper reviewFotospeed Legacy Gloss 325 paper review. Smooth unglazed gloss surface, Cotton based 325gsm natural warm white paper. OBA free. Making large exhibition quality prints.
  • Fotospeed Platinum Baryta 300 paper reviewFotospeed Platinum Baryta 300 paper reviewFotospeed Platinum Baryta 300 paper review. Smooth unglazed gloss surface 300gsm natural white paper. Making large exhibition quality prints
  • Nik plugins by DxO – review info.Nik plugins by DxO - review info.Looking at the Nik image editing plugins - The updated version of the Nik plugin collection is launched by DxO with improved compatibility for modern apps. Links to all of Keith's detailed reviews of the plugins
  • Canon imagePROGRAF TX-3000 reviewCanon imagePROGRAF TX-3000 reviewTesting the Canon TX-3000 36" width printer. Keith Cooper reviews the Canon TX wide format printer and plotter for photo and graphics printing. Also covers the 24" TX-2000 printer and 44" TX-4000
  • Fotospeed Matt art papers reviewFotospeed Matt art papers reviewFotospeed Platinum Cotton 305 and Cotton Etching 305 matt art papers review. Cotton acid free fine art paper. Natural white smooth and Etching finish bright white

Printing

  • Black and White printing with the P700Black and White printing with the P700Black and white printing on the Epson SC-P700 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your monochrome photos
  • Epson SC-P700 printer reviewEpson SC-P700 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P700 13" (A3+) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and roll paper holder. 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
  • Video: B&W printing on the Canon PRO-300Video: B&W printing on the Canon PRO-300Black and white photo printing on the Canon PRO-300 A3+ (13") printer by Keith Cooper. Why the B&W print mode is the best approach (8 mins)
  • Custom media for the PRO-300Custom media for the PRO-300Creating custom media settings for the Canon PRO-300 printer with the MCT software. Using the free Media Configuration Tool software for the PRO300 A3+ (13")printer
  • Canon PRO-300 printer reviewCanon PRO-300 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-300Black and white printing with the PRO-300Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-300 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 reviewPermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 reviewReview: PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 glossy baryta paper. The 315gsm Gold Silk paper has been reformulated with a smoother surface finish and improved coatings.
  • Keith Cooper’s paper reviewsKeith Cooper's paper reviewsKeith's photo paper reviews - collected data from all the papers for printing photos that we've tested over the years. Helpful if you can't get them where you live. Matt, satin, lustre and glossy. Regularly updated for new papers tested

News

  • Epson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announcedEpson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announcedLatest information about the new SureColor P5000 17" large format printer from Epson. The replacement for the SP4900 A2 sized desktop printer.
  • Keith Cooper’s talks about printmakingKeith Cooper's talks about printmakingKeith Cooper talks about making large prints at The Photography Show 2017 - Getting great looking big prints from your work. From camera to print, the complete workflow
  • New Canon papers announcedNew Canon papers announcedCanon USA announce three new Premium Fine Art papers — Premium Fine Art Smooth, Premium Fine Art Bright White and Premium Polished Rag. Designed to produce, rich-color reproduction, and detailed expression of gradation. Keith has a roll of the Fine Art Smooth for an upcoming paper review

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More print related information

For information about other printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main Articles and Reviews page, or use the search box at the top of any page. There are also specific index pages for any articles connected with the following topics:

More of Keith's articles/reviews (Google's picks to match this page)


 

 

Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has diminished greatly in these challenging times, so I'm at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith
...Why not sign up for our (ad free) Newsletter to keep informed about new articles and subscribe to my YouTube Channel