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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: Why prints come out wrong and what to doVideo: Why prints come out wrong and what to doKeith looks at the top reasons photo prints don't come out right, along with the steps needed to fix your print problems. Based on years of sorting out print problems for photographers (22m 30s)
  • Video: Where are the high quality A4 photo printersVideo: Where are the high quality A4 photo printersWhy you don't get high quality photo and fine art printers at A4 or Letter size. What features do you get with larger printers apart from the ability to make larger sizes photo prints (6m 30s)
  • Video: What printer marketing doesn’t tell youVideo: What printer marketing doesn't tell youWhat printer marketing doesn't say. Keith Cooper looks how much better prints you will get from a new printer and why it probably won't be significantly different from the last model (13m 20s)
  • Video: From landscape to printVideo: From landscape to printKeith looks a the whole process of making a black & white landscape print, from stopping to admire the view, taking some photos, editing and processing them through to paper choices & printing (32m 16s)
  • Video: Are third party inks worth it?Video: Are third party inks worth it?Keith Cooper looks at ink choices for inkjet printers and asks if third party or 'compatible' inks are really worth trying, or are they a false economy if print quality and consistency matters? (7m 30s)

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Articles

  • Printer Test ImagesPrinter Test ImagesCollection of printer test images - colour and monochrome (black and white). Test photos for printer and monitor checking.
  • Dye inks or pigment inks for photo printingDye inks or pigment inks for photo printingWould a dye based ink printer or one using pigment inks be better for your photo printing. What prints look best on what printer ink type?
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-200Black and white printing with the PRO-200Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-200 A3+ dye based ink printer. Addressing the problem of colour tints under different lighting. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • Black and White printing with the P700/P900Black and White printing with the P700/P900Black and white printing on the Epson SC-P700 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your monochrome photos
  • Custom media for the PRO-300Custom media for the PRO-300Creating custom media settings for the Canon PRO-300 printer with the MCT software. Using the free Media Configuration Tool software for the PRO300 A3+ (13")printer
  • Black and white printing with the PRO-300Black and white printing with the PRO-300Printing black and white on the Canon PRO-300 A3+ pigment ink printer. Different types of paper and optimising the reproduction of your photos.
  • Keith Cooper’s paper reviewsKeith 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. Regularly updated for new papers tested
  • Digital black and white photographyDigital black and white photographyExploring 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.

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

  • What paper should I use?What paper should I use?With a massive range of different papers available, how should you go about seeing which papers work best for your photos. Some of the choices you can consider when looking at paper types and brands for printing your photographs
  • Canon iPF5100 printer reviewCanon iPF5100 printer reviewDetailed review testing the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100 17 inch width large format printer. Sheet and roll paper, looking at colour and black and white pigment ink based printing a range of paper types.
  • Epson Stylus Pro SP4900 reviewEpson Stylus Pro SP4900 reviewReview of the Stylus Pro SP4900 11 colour 17 inch (A2) printer from Epson. Setup and printing. Includes fitting and use of the optional Spectroproofer unit.
  • Epson Stylus Photo R3000 reviewEpson Stylus Photo R3000 reviewDetailed Epson Stylus Photo R3000 review. Using the SP R3000 A3+ printer for colour and black and white photo printing
  • Book Review B&W printing by George DeWolfeBook Review B&W printing by George DeWolfeKeith Cooper reviews B&W printing by George DeWolfe - part of the Digital masters series. A 'guide to producing exhibition quality black and white prints'
  • Paper review Innova FibaPrint Warm Cotton GlossPaper review Innova FibaPrint Warm Cotton GlossIFA-45 fine art paper review. Innova FibaPrint Warm / Exhibition Cotton Gloss 335gsm paper tested for colour and black and white printing. Includes information about linearising B&W print output
  • A personal health warning about paper reviewsA 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?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?

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:

More of Keith's articles/reviews (Google's picks to match this page)


 

 

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