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.
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
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.
- Producing better photographs Why you probably don't need to rush out and spend money to improve your photography - it about thinking more, and taking more photos. New cameras and lenses are nice but not as essential as you might think
- Re-using the zone system? With its origins in the exposure and development of film, do aspects of the zone system still work in today's digital black and white photography?
- Industrial photography in a foundry Preparation and subsequent image processing required when taking photographs in a working foundry. Also looks at how final size affect image editing
- Black and white print linearisation with the i1Pro 2 Using the X-Rite i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer to measure black and white test print targets to create linearising curves and profile with the QTR software package
- Black and white print linearisation with i1Profiler and QTR Black and white print linearisation using QTR icc profiles created with X-Rite i1Profiler software and the i1Pro spectrophotometer
- Black and white from Colour Large collection of methods and techniques for converting colour images to black and white. Photoshop techniques and references to specialist plugins
- Is your printer OK for black and white photography? Choosing a good printer for black and white photography is nowhere as easy as it is for colour. Keith looks over some of the options, including getting better black and white out of your existing printer.
- Using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for dull colour images Contrast boosting by using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for dull colour images. Using software designed for producing black and white images to adjust image luminosity
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.
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.
- Paper review Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300 Paper 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 review Review 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 review Detailed 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) 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 review Review 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
- Canon PRO-1000 printer review Detailed review of the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 17" pigment ink printer. 11 inks and a colour optimiser coat. Tested for colour and B&W printing on a range of media types. Paper sixes up to A2, with borderless print options.
- Epson SureColor P7000 printer review Detailed review of the Epson SureColor SC-P7000 24" width large format printer. Using the P7000 for fine art and photo printing with the LLk ink option. Review applies to the larger 44" SC-P9000 as well.
- Canon iPF8300 review and notes Ongoing Canon iPF8300 review and notes about using the imagePROGRAF iPF8300 44 inch large format printer, by Keith Cooper. Notes date back to setting up the printer in November 2010
- PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 review Review: 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 reviews Keith'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
- Digital black and white photography Exploring black and white photography and image editing. Methods of converting colour to B&W. How to get the monochrome image you want from a colour photo.
- Choosing the best paper for your photo prints What photo paper is best for printing your photos? What paper is best to use with your printer? Why when choosing a paper for your prints needs, you need to start with the basics
- SpyderPrint black and white print refinement Black 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 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 Paper 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 and 51 step (2%) greyscale step wedge for use with X-Rite i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer. Includes target files and downloadable test image
- Epson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Printer announced Latest 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 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 Canon 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
Never miss a new article or review - Sign up for our Newsletter (2-4 a month max.)
Enjoyed this article?
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:
- Digital Black and White
- Tutorials and 'How to' articles
- Colour Management
- Printer test images
- Why do your prints look wrong?
More of Keith's articles/reviews (Google's picks to match this page)