What You Need To Know To Master Black & White Photography

In this video, I share my unique insights into what’s special about black-and-white images. I show ways to visualize black-and-white possibilities and showcase 5 classic black-and-white styles. Along the way, I discuss the vital steps of making black-and-white images; color management, color conversions, tonal adjustment, and printing.

Black & White Mastery

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Explore the wonderful world of black and white, a very special form of color.


Expanding The Definition Of Black & White
The term “black & white” is not as simple as you might think..

How Gray Is Gray ? 
Both context and personal preference make this a surprisingly challenging question.

What’s Unique About Black & White 
Black & white is special, in so many ways.

Why You Need To Understand Color To Get The Best B&W Images
Color affects the exposure, processing, and printing of B&W images.

Seeing In Black & White
Learn what’s unique about black & white and how to best adjust and print it.

An Overview Of Color To Black & White Conversions
My preferred workflow for color to black & white conversions.

Optimizing Files Before Black & White Conversions (Coming Soon)
Prepare your color images before conversion to black & white to gain maximum control.

B&W Conversions Simple 1 – B&W Adjustment Layer | Download
The easiest way make color to black and white conversions.

B&W Conversions Simple 2 – Dual Adjustment Layers | Download
Dual adjustment layers offer even more control.

B&W Conversions Complex – Channels as Layers | Download
The most advanced color to black-and-white conversion method.

Adding Color To Black & White | Download 
Adding color to a neutral image can enhance the expression of any image.

Simulating Infrared | .99
Create the look of infrared with Adobe Photoshop (all versions)

Enhancing Local Contrast In Black & White Images
The best ways to dodge and burn detailed.

5 Strategies For Adding Color Back Into Black & White 
There are as many reasons to add color back into B&W photographs as there are ways to do it

Top 5 Ways To Add Color To Black & White 
By adding color to your b&w photos, you can enhance their expressive qualities.

Epson Driver – Advanced B&W Photo
Use the Epson driver to make the best black & white prints.

Black & White Signature Styles 
Like so many other artists, you too can learn to craft a unique black and white look.

5 Photographers With Signature Black & White Styles 
Study the masters to find new possibilities in black and white photography.

Watch The Essence Of B&W Mastery.

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Mastering Color Management

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Use color management to make better files and insure others see them in their best light.


How To Do It


7 Simple Steps to Good Color Management
Take these simple steps to get consistent high-quality color.

Step 1 – Use ICC Profiles 
Assign ICC profiles to make color consistent and predictable.

Step 2 – Profile Your Monitor
Calibrate your monitor with hardware.

Step 3 – Set Adobe Color Settings
Set good Photoshop Color Settings in seconds.

Step 4 – Profile Your Printer
Better printer profiles help make better prints.

Step 5 – Softproof Before You Proof
Preview how your print will look before printing it.

Step 6 – Check The Correct Boxes In Your Printer Driver
Set good color management policies in your printer driver.

Step 7 – Control Your Viewing Environment
Use good quality light in neutral environments to evaluate your images.


Things To Watch For


Thousands of shades of gray reduce posterization.

Choose A Wide-Gamut Editing Space
Choose a wide-gamut editing space to make the best prints possible.

Editing Spaces Compared
From small to large, standard RGB editing spaces including sRGB, Adobe RGB (1998), and ProPhoto.

Rendering Intents Compared 
Perceptual, Relative Colorimetric, Absolute Colorimetric, Saturation.

What to Do with Color Management Dialogs 
Know what to do with the color management dialog boxes you encounter.

The Difference Between Converting Versus Assigning With Color Profiles 
Understand the difference between assigning and converting to a profile.

Where to Put ICC Profiles 
ICC profiles need to be filed in the correct location on your computer.




When And Why To Print Test Files 
Find out more about what to test.

Make Camera Profiles With X-Rite’s Color Checker Passport
X-Rites’ Color Checker Passport can be used to quickly deliver more accurate color in a variety of ways.

Managing Camera Profiles 
If you make camera profiles customized for your camera, sooner or later you’re going to want to rename or delete a few.

Graph Profiles With Chromix Colorthink
Colorthink graphs ICC profiles for visual comparison and contrast.

Use Full Spectrum Or HIgh CRI Viewing Light
Choose full-spectrum lighting with appropriate brightness and temperature.


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Many Ways To Convert Color To Black & White

 There are at many ways to convert an image from color to black and white. Here's a roundup and evaluation of the top seven plus a set of considerations to help you choose the best one for your needs.
1          Desaturate
Desaturate or use the Saturation slider to make all the channels the same without control over the mix. Desaturaton is useful for near neutral images, otherwise it produces compressed tonal structure.
2          Convert Mode To Grayscale
Grayscale conversions eliminate all channels but one. The default mix is 59% Green, 29% Red, 11% Blue. This can be customized by targeting a single channel before conversion, to get 100% of any channel in any color space, including Lab. Quick and direct, this method eliminates future flexibility; its limited use is to create Grayscale images for reproduction but it's not the best way to make a conversion from color to black and white.
3          Channel Mixer
The Channel Mixer set to Monochrome allows you to customize the mix of channels and can be used as an adjustment layer, which allows you to change the mix at any time in the future.

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