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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: 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)
- Video: The black and white printer test imageKeith Cooper looks at the basics of using his specialist black and white printer test image to evaluate black and white printing (6mins)
- Video: B&W printing on the Canon PRO-300Black and white photo printing on the Canon PRO-300 A3+ (13") printer by Keith Cooper. Why the B&W print mode is the best approach (8 mins)
- Better black and white profiling with the ColorMunkiUsing the Colormunki to create QuadToneRIP (QTR) linearising icc profiles for black and white printmaking. Smoother gradations and unblocked shadows
- Printing Black and White digital photographyPrinting Black and White digital photography, is the second part of an interview with Keith Cooper about all aspects of digital monochrome photography
- Black and white digital photography with Keith CooperAn extended version of a magazine interview with Keith Cooper, discussing different aspects of digital black and white photography. B&W photography tips and advice
- Digital Black and White – working in 16 bitHow converting 8 bit colour JPEG images images to 16 bit before converting to black and white gives up to 10 bit greyscale (B&W) images.
- QTR and PrintFIX PRO to get better black and white printsUsing the PrintFIX Pro colorimeter with QTR to make greyscale ICC profiles to improve linearity for black and white printing.
- Why don’t my prints match my screen?Why your prints often don't match your screen very well. Some explanations, solutions and ways of dealing with the problem
- Digital photography – two years onSome thoughts about aspects of digital photography - revisiting the issues and ideas, some two years after deciding to ditch film. A decision I've never remotely had second thoughts about
- A Black and White test imageSpecial test image designed for black and white print checking. Includes explanation of use for all features of the downloadable 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.
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.
- Epson XP-15000 printer reviewKeith Cooper's review of the Epson XP-15000 printer for photo printing, The A3+ or 13" width printer uses dye based inks with an extra red and grey ink. The review concentrates on using the printer for high quality photo output rather than it's 'office printer' functionality
- Canon PRO-200 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
- Epson SC-P900 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P900 17" (A2) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and optional powered roll paper holder. It has 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
- Epson SC-P700 printer reviewDetailed review of the Epson SC-P700 13" (A3+) pigment ink printer with sheet feed and roll paper holder. 10 inks and no matte/photo black ink switching
- Canon PRO-300 printer reviewDetailed Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer review. Keith tests the PRO-300 pigment ink printer with a range of glossy and fine-art media, including panoramic prints up to 990mm (~39") long
- PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 reviewReview: PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 glossy baryta paper. The 315gsm Gold Silk paper has been reformulated with a smoother surface finish and improved coatings.
- Review of DxO Nik Collection 3Review of Nik Collection 3 by DxO - The Image editing plugins are updated and expanded to fit more varied workflow choices without losing the original Nik functionality. Demo available.
- 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
- Epson 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 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 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 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?
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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