Best B&W Processing, Is There Such a Thing?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sween, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. sween

    sween TPF Noob!

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    I've long loved B&W, probably due to the fact that when I first got "into" amateur photography everyone did their own processing and printing. Doing color was really difficult, so B&W ruled.

    Who out there offers true B&W processing from digital files? Although all the usual outlets, like Walgreens, Sams, K-Mart, etc., do a pretty darned good job with color, none of them use B&W paper, so you end up with most B&W prints having an almost purple tint. Not exactly what you had in mind.

    Any direction, input, thoughts, advice, greatly appreciated...

    Thanks
     
  2. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think you generally do the conversion to B&W on your own computer. There are pre-packaged lightroom presets and photoshop actions that can do this for you, and will have different settings for different looks.

    For printing, I've actually had good luck with Ritz, but they use a pretty flimsy paper. My local pro-shop does a killer job as well, on better paper. Make sure and tell them you want black and white printing only as well, and this may help with the purple color cast. The other option is getting a high-end home photo printer for $300 or so. You can set up color profiles, use whatever paper you want and have total control of the outcome. The biggest benefit is that you can use trial and error to get it perfect.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    With the advent of digital, photographers discovered it worked out best to shoot the image in color and use that color information to convert the image to black and white.

    Dedicated B&W film photographers did the same but used different films, filters added to the lens and/or enlarger, and print papers to achieve the range of contrast and density they wanted.

    Using the digital color information gives a huge measure of contrast control. If a digital camera is used in Monotone (B&W) mode, none of that color information is captured. Using software pre-sets or actions limits your creativity but does simplify the conversion process. They are partcularly usefull if you don't really have a vision for the image you're working with.

    Just like the darkroom days B&W images get printed on different papers. Some commercial online printers like www.mpix.com only offer 1 B&W specific paper. Pro printers like Millers Professional Imaging and H&H Color Lab offer more choices.

    There are books available that can guide you with converting digital images to B&W.
     

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