Four simple keys to getting the best OUT OF Black and White PHOTOGRAPHY

(This advice applies to shooting and printing color shots as well)

The budding photographer needs four essential things to make a good black and white photo: to develop a good creative vision, to have good equipment, to use good editing and printing software

Good creative vision – Think before taking the shot. Learn what your camera can do. Study the manual. Shoot from inside the camera; practice, and force yourself not to look at your controls, but to read what your camera is saying to you from inside the viewfinder. Develop your creative talent by looking at how the professionals do it. Scrutinize their compositions in magazines and books. Study what they put in; what they exclude, how their shots try to tell a story, communicate emotion, and realize their creative vision. The shots with a clear focal point, and one light source, are usually the most amazing. Shots that contain good light and natural contrasting tones make good Black and White material (Notice, I did NOT say “shots zapped to artificially produce contrast”). Digital Camera World does a great basic review of how to use the camera, and to produce a good Black and White photo. See,

Good equipment – If you are a young person getting into photography, and a stranger to the world of SLR’s, I recommend you buy a 2nd hand Canon Rebel XT. You can pick one up for as little as $100. Start NOW. The Rebel is compatible with even the most advanced Canon lenses. For example, see, Canon’s lens technology is unsurpassed. Check it out at,  and, for honest reviews at,

Good editing software – I use Photoshop, but Lightroom is an extremely viable option, and it comes built-in with Photoshop’s “camera raw” edit feature. This feature also edits Jpg, tiff, and dng, and everything under the sun. Where Black and white photography overemphasizes contrast, for instance, it sacrifices tone. As said, ‘Zapping’ photographs damages them through linearization, and loses the crucial tones and nuances hiding in the shadows. Piezography, if you let it, will find those otherwise ‘lost’ tones for you and print them accurately. The most beautiful shots invite the viewer’s appreciation to the rich detail throughout the frame. Consider pulling back on dmax, if it will increase the tones in the shadows.

Good printing system – As mentioned in the previous feature (, there is NO NEED to buy Photoshop to effectively manage your print dialog. Roy Harrington’s new QTR print tool, available for $39 at , is a stunning product and a completely self-sufficient printing system. The QTR print tool is a boon for piezography; it gives print-makers the control they need over color.

When I began my photographic journey seven years ago Craig Samuel of S1 Group ( gave me sound advice which has served me well: make sure you don’t lose your love of shooting, and shoot as much as you can.

The featured photo belongs to the gallery at,

Shoot with passion. Print with excellence

12th April 2013

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(The conclusions, or opinions expressed within this article are entirely those of the author of this article. It is not our intention to suggest either that the authors/writers quoted, in any way agree with what we have written, or that we are expressing their full view on any of the subjects covered)