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Digital Black and White

Our specialist black and white digital photography page


We’ve lots of articles on this site covering black and white digital photography and other monochrome issues. There are also many Black and White Photos in the Gallery

If you are just starting out with digital black and white, then this particular article may be of interest:

Black & White digital photography – an Introduction

This page is a reference point for all our digital black and white photography related articles and reviews.

It covers all aspects from taking photos for b&w 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.

Why Black and White

There is a resurgence in interest in black and white photography.

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 latest (2014) version of our standard black and white printer test image, first published in 2005

The new test image incorprates a number of features designed to make it more 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 exisiting 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.

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

  • X-Rite i1iO and a B&W test image X-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 Presets Keith 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.
  • Printer Test Images Printer Test ImagesCollection of printer test images - colour and monochrome (black and white). Test photos for printer and monitor checking.
  • Multiple Scans of Black and White film compared Multiple 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 paper Print 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 printing Test 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
  • Using Silver Efex Pro for colour prints Using Silver Efex Pro for colour printsUsing software to create monochrome images that are blended with colour images using luminosity blending to give more punch to dull photos

There are around a thousand free articles and reviews on the site - thanks to everyone who helps support it.

If you buy anything whatsoever from Amazon (not just what's listed) via one of our links below, it helps myself and Karen keep the site going. We really do appreciate this - Keith 
Link for: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Reviews

  • Nik Silver Efex Pro review Nik Silver Efex Pro reviewReview of the Nik Silver Efex Pro image ending plugin. Converts colour images to black and white, emulating films and other effects. Tested with Photoshop
  • Epson Stylus Pro 7880 printer review Epson Stylus Pro 7880 printer reviewReview of the Epson Stylus Pro 7880 printer. Large format printer is 24 inch print width and takes roll paper and sheet media, photo and fine art papers. Inc. 7880/9880 error codes
  • Innova Fibaprint Super-Glazed and Semi-Glazed paper review Innova Fibaprint Super-Glazed and Semi-Glazed paper reviewTests and review of two fine art papers from Innova, Fibaprint Super-Glazed and Semi-Glazed IFA-58 and IFA-59, tested on an Epson 4880. Note : no longer available
  • Epson Stylus Pro 4880 review Epson Stylus Pro 4880 reviewReview of the Epson Stylus Pro 4880 17" A2+ Printer. Large desktop printer tested with a range of sheet and roll paper and fine-art and photo media types
  • Epson Stylus Pro 3800 review Epson Stylus Pro 3800 reviewReview of the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 printer. Desktop printer is 17 inch print width and takes A2 sheets, photo and fine art papers.
  • Power Retouch Black White Studio 1.3 pro review Power Retouch Black White Studio 1.3 pro reviewPower Retouch Black White Studio 1.3 pro photoshop plugin for converting colour images to black and white using film simulations and filtering
  • Paper review Permajet Fibre Base Gloss Paper review Permajet Fibre Base GlossTesting Permajet Fibre Base Gloss, a 'Darkroom feel' gloss or semi-gloss lightly textured paper. Tested on an Epson SP2400

Printing

  • SpyderX Studio review 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
  • Fotospeed Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper review Fotospeed 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
  • Keith Cooper’s paper reviews Keith Cooper's paper reviewsKeith'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
  • Fotospeed Legacy Gloss 325 paper review Fotospeed 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 size Printing 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 review Fotospeed 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 work Better 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

News

  • Keith Cooper’s talks about printmaking 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 announced 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

Useful B&W resources

Useful Black and White related resources

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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)


Buying anything from Amazon (not just what's listed) via any of the links below helps Keith and Karen keep the site going - thanks if you do! [Amazon UK]