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Digital Black and White

Our specialist black and white digital photography page

Site update: Thanks for everyone's support - work is still very sparse, but at least I've lots of videos, articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please just let me know - Keith & Karen
...Get our Newsletter for new articles/reviews and why not visit Keith's YouTube Channel
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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

  • Keith Cooper’s City Light Luminar presetsKeith Cooper's City Light Luminar presetsKeith's 'City Light' presets for MacPhun's Luminar photo editing software. 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.
  • Moving back to film photographyMoving back to film photographyReturning to film? Rediscovering old film equipment offers a simpler more direct world of photography. Is it time for Keith to buy some camera batteries and rolls of film?
  • The art of the big photographic landscape printThe art of the big photographic landscape printWhat makes for a great looking large 'fine art' print? What differences do you need to consider when deciding to make larger prints (A2 and above). Larger prints are that work are far more than just more megapixels, sharper lenses and big printers.
  • X-Rite i1iO and a B&W test imageX-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 PresetsKeith 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 comparedMultiple 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 paperPrint 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 printingTest 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

There are over 1100 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 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
  • Review of the Epson P5000 printerReview 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
  • Epson SC-P20000 printer reviewEpson SC-P20000 printer reviewReview of the Epson SC-P20000 printer by Keith Cooper. 64 inch width large format printer with new UltraChrome Pro 10-colour ink-set including high density Mk/Pk inks and three grey inks for better Black & White printing
  • Paper review Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300Paper review Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300Paper review, looking at Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300gsm paper by Fotospeed. Tested on the Canon PRO-2000 pigment ink printer for colour and black and white printing
  • Impressora pro photo media reviewImpressora pro photo media reviewReview of six different papers from the Impressora range of photo media, from Canvas to cotton rag paper to glossy metallic finish. All tested on the Canon PRO-2000 printer
  • Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 printer reviewCanon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 printer reviewDetailed review of the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 24" pigment ink printer. 11 inks and a gloss optimiser coat. Dual roll feed option. Roll and sheet media tested, including a print over 7m long.
  • Mirage print software review (V3.5)Mirage print software review (V3.5)A review of the Mirage print software by Dinax. Tested with the Canon PRO-2000 printer, the software now supports Canon and Epson large format printers. One feature is its freedom from print length limitations, ideal for huge pano prints at photo print resolutions.
  • Epson Expression Photo XP-960 printer reviewEpson Expression Photo XP-960 printer reviewReview of the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 printer. All-in-one printer/scanner/copier that supports double sided printing and photo prints up to A3 size (11"x17"). Dual paper tray

Printing

  • Canon iPF6300 reviewCanon iPF6300 reviewCanon iPF6300 review, testing the imagePROGRAF iPF6300 24 inch large format printer, for colour and black and white fine art printing.
  • Epson Stylus Pro 3880 reviewEpson Stylus Pro 3880 reviewReview of the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer. Desktop printer is 17 inch print width and takes A2 sheets, photo and fine art papers. Colour and black and white printing
  • Which side of the paper to print onWhich side of the paper to print onSome fine art papers look almost the same on each side. How to tell which side to print on if you are unsure
  • Full width printing Epson 3800 and OSX 10.6Full width printing Epson 3800 and OSX 10.6Solving full width (17") printing problems with the Epson SP3800 and Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard). tested with Epson Traditional Photo Paper
  • Canon Pixma Pro9500 Mk II reviewCanon Pixma Pro9500 Mk II reviewDetailed Canon Pixma Pro9500 Mk II review, using the Canon 9500 II A3+ printer for colour and black and white photo printing.
  • Olmec Photo papers – reviewOlmec Photo papers - reviewA review of several photo and fine art printing papers in the Olmec range, now supplied by Innova. Gloss, satin and matte.
  • Media settings – Printer Test ImagesMedia settings - Printer Test ImagesTest images for optimising media settings when printing. Essential to check before profiling papers to know if too much (or too little) ink is being used for the particular paper chosen
  • Epson Stylus Photo R2880 reviewEpson Stylus Photo R2880 reviewReview of the Epson Stylus Pro 2880 printer. Desktop printer is 13 inch print width and takes A3+ sheets and roll, photo and fine art papers for colour and monochrome printing.

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)


See all of Keith's 1000+ articles and reviews

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Site update: Thanks for everyone's support - work is still very sparse, but at least I've lots of videos, articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please just let me know - Keith & Karen
...Get our Newsletter for new articles/reviews and why not visit Keith's YouTube Channel
...My book about how to use tilt/shift lenses is now available.