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.
- Black and white linearisation with the i1Pro 3 Updated 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 Images Collection of printer test images - colour and monochrome (black and white). Test photos for printer and monitor checking.
- A simple black and white print A 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 size Printing 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 work Better 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
- Keith Cooper’s City Light Luminar presets Keith'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 photography Returning 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 print What 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.
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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.
- Fotospeed Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper review Fotospeed 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 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 review. Smooth unglazed gloss surface 300gsm natural white paper. Making large exhibition quality prints
- 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 Testing 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 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 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 review Review 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
- 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
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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:
- 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)