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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.
- Video: Starting to print your own photosKeith Cooper looks at starting to print your own photos your new inkjet photo printer. How to make some initial paper choices and what image types are good to start with (16m 10s)
- Video: Your first prints with a new printerKeith Cooper looks at what should be your first images to have a go at printing after setting up your new inkjet photo printer. Includes links to test images (9m 20s)
- Video: Choosing between the PRO-200 and PRO-300Keith Cooper looks at the differences between the similar looking Canon PRO-200 and PRO-300 inkjet photo printers. Which works best for particular photographic needs(13m 15s)
- Video: Dye or pigment ink printer choicesKeith Cooper looks at the differences between dye based and pigment based inks for inkjet photo printers. What works best? Is one type a better fit for some photographers (12m 40s)
- Video: 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)
- A personal health warning about paper reviewsWhy you should be wary of paper reviews. Reviews for specialist inkjet photo printing papers may contain lots of measurement data, but paper choice is about so much more than that. There are so many other aspects of your photographic workflow that need looking at too.
- Do your prints have depth?What is 'Depth'? How do you describe your photo prints? Or, more to the point, how do I actually know what you mean and how can I be sure?
- Printing greyscale images and removing unwanted colour tintsAddressing problems with black and white printing. Some subtle changes in print colour casts with lighting changes, and removing colour tints from monochrome prints.
- Keith Cooper and black and white photographyBased on a lengthy interview for a magazine article, Keith Cooper talks about his black and white photography, influences and techniques
- Black and white photo printingKeith Cooper is interviewed about his approach to printing his black and white photography. Extended version with additional notes and information from a printed magazine article.
- Which side of the paper to print onSome fine art papers look almost the same on each side. How to tell which side to print on if you are unsure
- Media settings – Printer Test ImagesTest images for optimising media settings when printing. Essential to check before profiling papers to know if too much (or too little) ink is being used for the particular paper chosen
- Photography Tutorial – Making a black and white landscape printMaking a black and white landscape print. A photography tutorial covering the steps needed to produce a black and white print from a colour image.
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.
- 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 GlossTesting Permajet Fibre Base Gloss, a 'Darkroom feel' gloss or semi-gloss lightly textured paper. Tested on an Epson SP2400
- Software review Convert to BW Pro 3Review of the Convert to B/W Pro V3 plugin from 'Theimagingfactory' for converting colour images to black and white.
- MonoChromePro pigment inks for black and white printingReview of the MonoChromePro pigment ink set for black and white printing. Includes custom profile curve creation procedures for using QuadToneRIP (QTR). Making use of black and diluted black (grey) ink sets for monochrome photo printing
- 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.
- Canon 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 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 paperTesting Museo Max 250, a cotton OBA free smoothish ('velina') matt art paper on the Canon iPF8300. Includes print set-up details
- 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
- Innova FibaPrint Baryta IFA69 paper reviewInnova have announced a new 310 gsm paper with a Baryta (Barium Sulphate) layer for its whiteness and weight. It's a good white, and not too warm for more general use.
- Canon iPF6400 – 6450 printer reviewDetailed review of the imagePROGRAF iPF6450 (ipF6400) 24 inch large format printer. Colour management and print setup for colour and black and white
- Epson Stylus Photo R2000 reviewEpson Stylus Photo R2000 full review, using the SP R2000 A3+ printer for colour and black and white printing, with custom ICC profiles. 13 inch print width and roll media support
- 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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