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Digital Black and White

Our specialist black and white digital photography page


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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.

Videos

  • Video: Black and White from colourVideo: Black and White from colourKeith looks the basics of turning a colour image into black and white. Why simple 'convert to BW' conversions are often only a starting point, and how simple adjustments can change the whole feel of the image (8m 30s)
  • Video: The black and white printer test imageVideo: The black and white printer test imageKeith Cooper looks at the basics of using his specialist black and white printer test image to evaluate black and white printing (6mins)
  • 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)

Articles

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

  • Epson SureColor P600 printer reviewEpson SureColor P600 printer reviewDetailed Epson SureColor P600 review. The SC-P600 is an A3 plus (13" width) pigment ink printer tested with different papers for colour and black & white. It supports borderless printing, roll paper and CD/DVD printing
  • Epson V850 film scanner reviewEpson V850 film scanner reviewReview of the Epson Perfection V850 flatbed scanner. 6400dpi scanning for transparencies, 4800 dpi for photographs. Film and slide holders included
  • Canon Pixma PRO-100 printer reviewCanon Pixma PRO-100 printer reviewDetailed review of the Canon Pixma PRO-100 printer. A 13" width (A3+ paper size) dye ink based printer for colour and black and white.
  • Museo Silver Rag reviewMuseo Silver Rag reviewLooking at Museo Silver Rag 300gsm semi-gloss cotton rag paper, tested on a Canon iPF8300. Paper supplied under the Canon Oce brand.
  • Museo Max 250 cotton rag paperMuseo Max 250 cotton rag paperTesting Museo Max 250, a cotton OBA free smoothish ('velina') matt art paper on the Canon iPF8300. Includes print set-up details
  • Review of Tonality ProReview of Tonality Pro Review of Tonality Pro Software from Macphun to create black and white images from colour photographs. Plugin Version 1. Apple Mac software
  • Review of Intensify ProReview of Intensify ProReview of the MacPhun image editing plugin, Intensify Pro. Also available as standalone app. Edit with layers in Lightroom, tested with Photoshop.
  • Review of DxO FilmPack V4.5Review of DxO FilmPack V4.5DxO FilmPack Version 4.5 review. Accurate simulation of the look (grain colour and tonality) of a wide collection of film makes and types

Printing

  • Panoramic printing review using Fotospeed paperPanoramic printing review using Fotospeed paperWide prints and panoramic photo composition. Review of Fotospeed panoramic paper (210mm x 594mm) for wide prints colour and black and white. Some thoughts about making wide prints work.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Fotospeed Metallic Lustre paper reviewFotospeed Metallic Lustre paper reviewFotospeed Metallic Lustre 275 gsm paper review. A microporous coated paper with a metallic lustre surface finish, for dye and pigment inks. A4 sheet to 44" roll sizes available

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:

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Site update: Thanks for all your support and help - Keith & Karen
...Get our Newsletter for new articles/reviews and why not subscribe to Keith's YouTube Channel
...Keith's book about how to use tilt/shift lenses is now available.
Our site contains affiliate links - these help support the site. See our Advertising policies for more