Digital Black and White

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Zulu2, May 4, 2010.

  1. Zulu2

    Zulu2 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all.

    I'm just getting back into taking pictures since 2005.

    I started taking pictures (serious amature) back in the early 70's, took university course and 2 nikon courses, etc. Mostly black and white (had a darkroom) and color slides. Lost all, 30+ years of images in New Orleans flood. :violin:

    I want to do black and white and thought I wanted to shoot film again so I bought a few familiar friends (nikon fe's). But I've come to the conclusion that I don't have the time to get into the darkroom again.

    So, I'm going digital using my Canon EOS10D I bought in 2004 to do black and white.

    I'll be looking for advice as to techiques and the do's and don'ts of digital B&W, sources for printing photo's etc.

    I've ordered photoshop elements and lightroom which I believe should give me the tools to prepare the images.

    Any advice on this process will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Joe
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    The one thing I can recommend is that you DO NOT use the desaturate tool in PS. It is simple to use, but the resulatant B/W images is poor. I don't know about elements, but CS4 has a set of individual color sliders which make fine B/W adjustment easy (and simulate filters that we put in front of the lens in the film era).

    There are a couple of excellent books that I've found useful:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1598633759/ref=oss_product]Amazon.com: Mastering Digital Black and White: A Photographer's Guide to High Quality Black-and-White Imaging and Printing (Digital Process and Print) (9781598633757): Amadou Diallo: Books[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1600592104/ref=oss_product]Amazon.com: Advanced Digital Black & White Photography (A Lark Photography Book) (9781600592102): John Beardsworth: Books[/ame]
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The tools for doing B&W conversions in Elements are rudimentry at best. In Lightroom, dodge and burn are somewhat cumbersome but the big limiter is no adjustment layers, or any other kind of layers for that matter.

    Nik Software makes some good B&W conversion tools and Photoshop CS5 is also good but costs $700 retail. The upside of PS/CS5 is that upgrades (CS6, CS7, CS8) then only cost $199 each. Upgrades usually appear every 18 months, but many skip an upgrade or 2.
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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  5. Zulu2

    Zulu2 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reference books Ian.

    Keith,

    I've been reading up on PS and thought the elements and lightroom would be good. I may be able to change the order. Is CS5 all I would need or would one of the other 2 compliment it?

    Thanks
    Joe
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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  7. TomBlaze

    TomBlaze TPF Noob!

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    Simple answer is to shoot in monochrome mode with the camera. Or shoot in raw and converto to black and white in the RAW editor. You can also use a black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop and then there is the old school conversion that I still use from time to time:

    Open the file in Photoshop. Convert color space to Lab mode. In the channels palette, delete the a and b channels (leaving only the lightness channel). The image turns to a crisp B&W. Change the image mode to grayscale. Duplicate the main layer use the high pass filter (set to about 10-15 pixels) on the new layer and set it to either soft light or overlay and adjust opacity to suit.

    Works pretty well for me.
     
  8. Zulu2

    Zulu2 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the info.

    Where do you guys get your printing done if you're not doing it yourself?

    Local or on-line?

    Joe
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Elements is a simplified consumer version of PS/CS. If you have PS/CS you don't need Elements.

    Many photographers use both Lightroom and PS/CS. They use Lightroom to batch edit photos and use PS/CS for specific local edits to individual photos.

    Adobe designed Lightroom to primarily be an image database manager. They included a robust version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to allow some image editing too. PS/CS has a less robust version of ACR and an image management section known as Bridge.

    So there is some overlap but each program has it's advantages over the other and they are complementary.
     
  10. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I decided that the cost of maintenance/ink upkeep on my own printer was not worth it. I don't print enough to make it viable. I use mpix.com for printing and have been very happy with them.
     
  11. Zulu2

    Zulu2 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to all again for your input. Helps me out a great deal.

    Joe
     
  12. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would like to hear more about this NIK software. I am about to download a free trial. Who here actually uses it?
     

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