Black and White Processing Book

Hector1970

EOS Rebel T7i
Mar 22, 2012
869
22
#1
Hi All, Would there be any book you'd recommend on processing black and white photographs in Lightroom / Photoshop. I already use them and Silver Efex Pro but maybe not yet satisified I've fully developed a real great BW look.
It also could be an online course you did. Thanks in advance for any advice
 

beforeEos Camaras

love to take photos.
Sep 8, 2014
246
33
#2
Hi All, Would there be any book you'd recommend on processing black and white photographs in Lightroom / Photoshop. I already use them and Silver Efex Pro but maybe not yet satisified I've fully developed a real great BW look.
It also could be an online course you did. Thanks in advance for any advice
try and find either the old time life series on b&w photos or the Kodak series of b&w a lot will deal with wet process and tri x film. but the digital output is too sharp noiseless. a lot of true b&w has grain patterns with the gradients of black and gray light. I hope this helps

last light cape cod
by joseph kelly, on Flickr
 
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Pookie

Don't forget to gargle private...
#3
What exactly are you asking about? If it is PS related then any book should have the basics covered. If you are asking what make a BW image better that is a loaded question. There are numerous answers to that question. First off, a question for you. What types of scenes are you shooting? Portraits, street, landscapes, etc?

As a more general approach might be warranted I would suggest someone a bit dated but also very much applicable to BW photography. Ansel Adams and in particular the book "The Negative", it covers everything about the actual film negative, yes film and printing. Often what was needed to make a good negative are the exact things that make a strong BW image. The Zone system can teach you how to expose correctly and what things to look for in a strong image. No one answer but gives you the tools to evaluate the scene and produce some really nice images. That with good PS skills and/or printing will lead you on the right path.

This and... finding a photographer you really like. Dissect his/her work. Ask yourself what makes you like it and where your difference lay... that will help you identify what you need to focus on. For me there are many that I study. Liebowitz, Avedon, Lange, Frank, HCB, Munkacsi , Erwitt, Friedlander, Mann, and on and on. I shoot digital and analog... a lot of analog these days in BW, C41, and E6 (in all formats). BW happens to be my personal favorite for analog.



 
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YuengLinger

EOS 7D Mark II
Dec 20, 2012
1,940
32
Southeastern USA
#4
Harold Davis has a book that has become a sort of de facto primer, but his subjects don't excite me.

I am learning by carefully studying studio-system portrait photographers of days past. Here's an amazing repository: http://www.doctormacro.com/

Going beyond portraits, if you can, get your hands on books by Sebastiao Salgado.

So many of the classic films of the 1930's are master's workshops in B&W lighting and cinemaphotography that it's hard to go wrong picking at random.

You must experiment and decide when you prefer to do your basic conversion in LR, which produces excellent results, or in PS CC. Plug-ins can make life easier and add more pleasing grain, if that is what you like in a particular image. And of course many of the plug-ins allow you to preview many different looks for an image, giving you starting points.
 

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Pookie

Don't forget to gargle private...
#5
Harold Davis has a book that has become a sort of de facto primer, but his subjects don't excite me.

I am learning by carefully studying studio-system portrait photographers of days past. Here's an amazing repository: http://www.doctormacro.com/

Going beyond portraits, if you can, get your hands on books by Sebastiao Salgado.

So many of the classic films of the 1930's are master's workshops in B&W lighting and cinemaphotography that it's hard to go wrong picking at random.

You must experiment and decide when you prefer to do your basic conversion in LR, which produces excellent results, or in PS CC. Plug-ins can make life easier and add more pleasing grain, if that is what you like in a particular image. And of course many of the plug-ins allow you to preview many different looks for an image, giving you starting points.
A word of caution when evaluating cinematic films from the 30's or older... during this time, although panchromatic film was available it was often very expensive compared to orthochromatic film. Ortho is shot entirely different from panchromatic film. Ortho will produce non-realistic tonal qualities and required a special makeup and lighting to reproduce a more "natural" look. Not really an issue but something you should keep in mind when studying them or trying to reproduce a look. If you are aware of these inherent qualities of these films you can use them to your advantage when shooting analog. This can be seen very clearly with modern films such as Ilford's HP5 or Delta 100/400 (very pan) compared to say Adox Silvermax (ortho).
 
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Likes: stevelee

YuengLinger

EOS 7D Mark II
Dec 20, 2012
1,940
32
Southeastern USA
#6
A word of caution when evaluating cinematic films from the 30's or older... during this time, although panchromatic film was available it was often very expensive compared to orthochromatic film. Ortho is shot entirely different from panchromatic film. Ortho will produce non-realistic tonal qualities and required a special makeup and lighting to reproduce a more "natural" look. Not really an issue but something you should keep in mind when studying them or trying to reproduce a look. If you are aware of these inherent qualities of these films you can use them to your advantage when shooting analog. This can be seen very clearly with modern films such as Ilford's HP5 or Delta 100/400 (very pan) compared to say Adox Silvermax (ortho).
Some of the subtleties, I would imagine, are reduced when the films are digitized and broadcast. I was speaking in terms of inspiration, direction, not exact reproduction. And then there's the lens component and other factors, but we can create very nice approximations with modern gear and editing software.

Film noir from the 40's and 50's is another exciting source of inspiration.
 
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Jun 4, 2015
60
0
#7
Hector,
I purchased an e-book through Digital Photography School By David J. Nightingale.
I posted the cover and Table of Contents. Take a look and see if it may be what you're looking for.

Good Luck!
 

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Mar 22, 2012
869
22
#8
Hector,
I purchased an e-book through Digital Photography School By David J. Nightingale.
I posted the cover and Table of Contents. Take a look and see if it may be what you're looking for.

Good Luck!
Thanks Macoose.
Hector,
I purchased an e-book through Digital Photography School By David J. Nightingale.
I posted the cover and Table of Contents. Take a look and see if it may be what you're looking for.

Good Luck!
Thanks Macoose. That's the sort of thing I was curious about whether there was books like that available.

Thanks everyone else for the replies too.
I'm doing Black and White conversion for years in Photoshop / Lightroom / Silver Efex / Topaz etc.
The basics are absolutely fine for me.
I was just wondering if there was any special book that I haven't come across on Black and White processing and these days they are often e-books or videos.
There are print books but not much recently.
I have studied the masters photographs as mentioned above and I've all 3 Ansel Adams book.
Silver Efex shows you the Zone system but its not adjustable by the Zones.
I'm surprised no company has software that would make that easy. Split the photo into 10 zones that can be adjusted.
Luminosity masks can achieve something like it but its not that straightforward
I've Salgado's books and really enjoyed Salt of the Earth which is a very inspiring film.
What I haven't found is a book that really tells you how to increase the impact of your BW photographs.
There alot of books on Photoshop techniques but they tend to be colour based.
I'd like to better go to extremes of black and white without losing detail
Yousef Karsh would be a favourite - of course this was film and darkroom.
One of the questions is what am I shooting - just about anything to be honest.
Wildlife, sport , portraits , models , street etc... I'm pretty snap happy.
 
Jul 6, 2017
813
58
Davidson, NC
#9
Ortho is shot entirely different from panchromatic film. Ortho will produce non-realistic tonal qualities and required a special makeup and lighting to reproduce a more "natural" look.
I recall seeing a color photo in an encyclopedia long ago of a woman in makeup for cinema. As I recall, her face was green and various features were exaggerated with other false colors. I guess the actors got used to it, or they would have had trouble keeping a straight face during filming.