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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.
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, the digital wayAn introduction to black and white photography in the digital age. An extended version of an article Keith Cooper wrote for Canon.
- A Digital only trip to ColoradoA look at some of the changes when moving from film photography to digital photography after a trip to Colorado by Keith Cooper. The same, but different and better...
- Better Digital Black and White printing on your Inkjet printerSimple technique to make linearising curves for black and white photo prints. Measuring test prints with flatbed scanner provide data for curve construction
- A 35mm black and white landscape photographer goes digitalLooking at what changed and what didn't when a film based landscape photographer decided to make the switch to an all digital workflow.
- Review of DxO FilmPack plugin V2Review of the FilmPack plugin and app (version 2) from DxO. Processes images to emulate the look (grain, tonality, colour) of a wide range of film types
- Paper review: Innova Cold Press Rough Textured Natural WhiteFine art Paper review of Innova Cold Press Rough Textured Natural White (IFA-13) tested on an Canon iPF8300
- Paper review Innova Decor papersPaper review of Innova heavy matte textured double sided Decor papers IFA-24 and IFA-25, tested using the Canon iPF8300.
- BowHaus True Black and White reviewBowHaus True Black and White review. Black and white specialist printing software for Canon iPF large format printers. Offers full ink control and linearisation.
- Canon 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 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
- Canon 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 – reviewA review of several photo and fine art printing papers in the Olmec range, now supplied by Innova. Gloss, satin and matte.
- 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 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 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 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 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
- X-Rite i1Photo Pro 3 plus reviewReview of the X-Rite i1Photo Pro 3 Plus monitor, scanner and printer profiling package using the i1Pro 3 Plus spectrophotometer. Backlit printed materials can now be profiled, and the spectrophotometer has an M3 option for polarised measurements
- Panoramic 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 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
- 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 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 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:
- 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)
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