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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: 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)
- 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
- 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
- Keith Cooper’s City Light Luminar presetsKeith's 'City Light' presets for MacPhun's Luminar photo editing software. 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.
- Moving back to film photographyReturning to film? Rediscovering old film equipment offers a simpler more direct world of photography. Is it time for Keith to buy some camera batteries and rolls of film?
- The art of the big photographic landscape printWhat makes for a great looking large 'fine art' print? What differences do you need to consider when deciding to make larger prints (A2 and above). Larger prints are that work are far more than just more megapixels, sharper lenses and big printers.
- 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 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.
- 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
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.
- X-Rite i1Photo Pro 2 reviewReview of the X-Rite i1Photo Pro 2. Printer profiling as part of the 'i1Photo' package, including OBA compensation
- Canon 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 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 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
- Nik Silver Efex Pro V2 reviewReview of Nik Silver Efex Pro version 2. Plugin converts colour images to black and white, with many adjustment options and preset conversions (Now part of the DxO Nik Collection)
- Review of Nik HDR Efex Pro pluginReview of the Nik (Google/DxO) plugin for creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from multiple exposure images of the same scene. Works with aperture, Lightroom and Photoshop.
- HP DesignJet Z3200 reviewDetailed review of the HP DesignJet Z3200. Testing the Z3200ps 24 inch large format printer with fine art and photo media, including profiling and colour management, for colour and black and white printing.
- Why are my prints too dark?Why are my prints too dark? Why monitor brightness matters when it comes to printing your photos. Some of the common problems and their solutions
- 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
- 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 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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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