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Black And White Photography Printing.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would right now be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and colorless straight from the camera. providentially , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours discretely to introduce some contrast. However, a great starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some powerful blacks and whites. This can be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, can inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the best composition.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots could work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider area than they would with a short exposure and this may help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If compulsory , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). classically , when exposures extend farther than with regard to 1/60 sec a tripod is required to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a manner that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers can only thought of taking a degree of because you may target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you may use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to perk up them to grow local contrast. It’s a great approach of giving a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you can set the opacity of the tools, you can build up her effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are purely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is cooperative when you want to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter could be used to decrease reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, assess taking two or more shots with diverse exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be afraid to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, can also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of his opposite colour while lightening objects of his own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

Take Control. Although coloured filters may still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more common to save this work until the processing stage. Until a few years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more powerful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations could become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pink shirt with the red sliding control, for moment , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls can also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create separation between objects of the same brightness but with diverse colours.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The most excellent monochrome conversions are arrived at by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome picture Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As numerous photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. most cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact policy cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users may also do this if they kick in their camera’s live image roadway , but the usually slower responses mean that numerous will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

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As expected, the Hahnemule canned profile performed very well, but there is a significant improvement using the QTR. Aside from the evident (visual) smooth transition from Black to White of the test strip printed with QTR, the data also shows a higher dMax and a more linear response. With a bit of tweak, you can even see tonal differences in 2% steps (the 21 step-wedge is 5% increments)

If you do, test and compare. Compare the data and methods. It is not enough only to compare the tools, but you must also compare the processes.

The following article on better digital black and white photography printing, is again written by guest writer Red Ognita, who’s not only a multi awarded black and white fine art photographer based in the Philippines, but he’s also a specialist in creating fine art black and white photographs. Many times in the past I’ve stated the importance of printing your work, especially if you consider yourself a fine art photographer: a photograph can only be considered a fine art photograph if it’s at least printed, anything else is digital art at best. The time and effort spent on the creation of a photograph, can only be appreciated if it’s printed and if it’s printed by a good fine art printer. Please read more on the importance of printing digital photographs in Red’s previous guest article.

Making a digital black and white print is easy, but how good your black and white print is, is another question. How determined you are in achieving the best black and white print is something that you alone can answer. Remember that printing is only as complicated as you’d want it to be.

Manufacturers have reformulated their ink sets to include multiple blacks and highly saturated colors to produce a better digital black and white print. Printer brands also produced their own software solution, rendering digital black and white photography files differently. All you need to do is read a bit, select options then press print.

Why does it have to be linear? A linear response solves a lot of challenges when printing Black and White; abrupt tonal jumps (banding) ; reduced metamerism; consistent graybalance; high dMax without sacrificing shadow detail; print permanence  (less yellow ink; the most notorious color) and the ability to produce a neutral color (no colorcast)

I have printed a 21-step wedge for measurement on Hahnemuhle Photorag fine art paper. I chose this paper for its long history (1584) in paper making and its popularity amongst digital printmakers. Arguably, Hahnemuhle has one of the best canned profiles (ICC profile readily available) in the market today. Having a good baseline in testing is necessary to ascertain if there are any differences with the printing routes. Additionally, if there’s any improvement with HPR, it is almost certain that there would be significant differences with others. I will be using a Datacolor spectrophotometer (Spyder3 print SR) to measure. Note that the test strip was not printed to serve as a target, instead it was printed as a step-wedge to test the black and white linearity of different printing paths (printing a target dictates a different process)

If you’re serious about digital Black and White photography printing, you owe it to yourself to try using QTR.

If you want your work to be printed in the best way possible then I can highly recommend visiting Red Ognita’s website or visit his RedLab Facebook page where he talks passionately and with a lot of knowledge on creating fine art prints and the importance of printing in this digital day and age. Please enjoy Red’s article where he talks about “Better black and white printing”, which will be the first article in a series on better black and white photography printing in the digital age.

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With the data above, it seems that it’s a toss-up between the RGB with canned profile, ABW and QTR. Here’s a side by side comparison..

Individual measurement results: From Left to Right* RGB printing with canned profile* ABW (Advanced Black and White)* ABW with custom luminance ICC* Quadtone RIP

That straight line top to bottom is where you’d want to be. That’s Luminance. Move a wee bit and you’ll touch color (colorcast)

But how would you know how that you’re producing your best? Do you even like to know?

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by Joel Tjintjelaar | Jul 9, 2015 | Blog, Guest Writers, Tutorials | 0 comments

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