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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 completely dried up in these challenging times, so I'll be 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.


We’ve lots of articles on this site covering black and white digital photography and other monochrome issues. There are also many Black and White Photos in the Gallery

If you are just starting out with digital black and white, then this particular article may be of interest:

Black & White digital photography – an Introduction

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

It covers all aspects from taking photos for b&w 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.

Why Black and White

There is a resurgence in interest in black and white photography.

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 latest (2014) version of our standard black and white printer test image, first published in 2005

The new test image incorprates a number of features designed to make it more 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 exisiting 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.

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

  • X-Rite i1iO and a B&W test image X-Rite i1iO and a B&W test imageThe X-Rite i1iO table and i1Pro2 spectrophotometer are used with a modified version of Keith's black and white test print (8 & 16 bit versions downloadable). Quick and easy check for monochrome print linearity includes chart averaging.
  • Keith Cooper’s City Light Tonality Presets Keith Cooper's City Light Tonality PresetsKeith's 'City Light' presets for the MacPhun Tonality Pro plugin. Developed for architectural images when converting from colour to B&W. Before and after examples, and how they differ from 'straight' B&W conversions. Also using them as a luminance adjustment for colour images.
  • Multiple Scans of Black and White film compared Multiple Scans of Black and White film comparedAfter reviewing the Epson Perfection V850 film scanner, Keith Cooper looks at the same piece of film scanned in several different scanners, including drum scanning
  • Print setup for a new fine art paper Print setup for a new fine art paperSetup and profiling an unknown new paper for colour and Black & White printing. Looking at the whole process including media settings and types, and creating icc printer profiles.
  • Test image for black and white printing Test image for black and white printingTest image for testing performance and quality of black and white (monochrome) printing. Article explains functionality of parts of the image
  • Using Silver Efex Pro for colour prints Using Silver Efex Pro for colour printsUsing software to create monochrome images that are blended with colour images using luminosity blending to give more punch to dull photos
  • Reducing halos with Silver Efex Pro 2 Reducing halos with Silver Efex Pro 2Ways of using colour to black and white conversion software such as Nik Silver Efex Pro that do not produce unwanted halo effects around objects. Ensuring that trees don't make the sky lighter for example

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

  • Fotospeed Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper review Fotospeed 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 review Fotospeed 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 review Fotospeed 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 review Canon 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 review Fotospeed 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
  • Review of the Epson P5000 printer Review of the Epson P5000 printerReview of the Epson Surecolor P5000 printer. 17 inch width A2, with roll support and paper cartridge for sheet media. Looking at print capabilities and colour management

Printing

  • SpyderPrint black and white print refinement SpyderPrint black and white print refinementBlack and white printer test image for use with the Datacolor SpyderPrint spectrocolorimeter. Check linearity and black and white print performance with Photoshop & Affinity Photo
  • What goes into a print What goes into a printWhat goes into a photo print - getting more from your prints. Looking at printers, image preparation and just what makes a print worth going on your wall. Why are you making prints and who are they for?
  • PermaJet FB Pearl 300gsm PermaJet  FB Pearl 300gsmPaper review: Permajet FB Pearl 300gsm lustre/pearl finish photo paper. Fibre based baryta paper for pigment and dye based inks - give a bit more of a 'darkroom' feel to some images
  • Black and white test image for use with i1iSis Black 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
  • Permajet Titanium Gloss 300 metallic Permajet Titanium Gloss 300 metallicPaper review: Permajet Titanium Gloss 300gsm metallic gloss finish photo paper. High gloss paper for pigment and dye based inks
  • Fine tuning black and white photo printing Fine 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.
  • Black and white linearisation with the i1Pro 3 Black 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

News

  • Epson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announced Epson 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 printmaking Keith 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 announced New 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

Useful B&W resources

Useful Black and White related resources

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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 completely dried up in these challenging times, so I'll be 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.