Working my way through my pile of books I’ve finished and must review… next up is:
Black and White by Michael Freeman, which is in the Digital Photography Expert range of books. “The definitive guide for serious black and white photographers”
The reason I bought this book was because I never felt that my black and white photography was anywhere near as strong as it could be, and it was something I had always planned on learning more about but just never got round to it. So I relished the opportunity to work my way through a few books on a trip to Germany in August, and this was on my hit list.
To give you a rough idea of what the chapters contain:
Chapter One: The language of Mono – Different concerns, visualising in mono, the complexity of landscape, contrast, silhouette, the essential graphic qualities, the problem of skies.
Chapter Two: Colour into greyscale – Basic colour conversion, The traditional filter set, Using channels, Aids to help conversion, Individual channels, Practical channel mixing, Using an adjustment layer, Appropriate proportions, Mixing to extremes, Hue adjustment, Channels into layers, Layer masks, Third party converters, Drama in the red channel, Yellows compromise, Blue’s atmospheric depth, Luminious green foliage, Flesh tones dark and light, Fine tuning dark skin, Fine tuning light skin, Thinking colour, Colour’s perceptual weight, Environmental reflections.
Chapter Three: Digital black and white – Maximising the range, Shadow detail, Preserving highlights, Targets for calibration, The zone system, Placing a tone, Adjusting tonal distribution, A different approach to tones, Gradient mapping, Dodging and burning, Multi exposure composites, High dynamic range images, Refining the tonal range, Noise control, Upscaling, Copying in black and white, Scanning negatives, Scanning positives
Chapter Four: Image editing and effects – Mood and atmosphere, Defining the mood, Toner effects, Analyzing traditional tones, Mimicing film response, Duotones, Manipulating duotone curves, Tones to suit, Stylized black and white, Posterisation, Adding age, Hand colouring.
Chapter Five: The Print – Desktop printers, Contact sheets, Printer calibration, Ink and paper, Mounting and display
Phew, that was a lot of detail I probably didn’t need to write, but hey as long as someone finds it useful it’s all good! I don’t know why I even write book reviews, I think it’s just the fact that when I look for photography books I like to have a quick five min scout around the web to see if it’s worth buying as there are an awful lot of rubbish books out there too.
Anyway, as mentioned before I bought this as I was never happy with my understanding of the black and white digital / film workflow, and this book seemed like it would have the right level of info for what I wanted. This book certainly didn’t disappoint.
One of the best things for me about this book is that Michael talks in great depth about differing ways to do the same thing, to get similar effects and styling. There is a good mix of both technical and creative thinking, so if you are willing to read each chapter and take a little while thinking about it until it’s properly sunk in, I really think you can learn a great deal about this book. Personally I think this is one of the best modern books on the black and white digital workflow that I have read or seen so far. I’m still working slowly through the Ansel Adams range of books too – but they certainly take a great deal more time to work through!
I would recommend this book for any photographer that wants to push their black and white photography up a notch, and he certainly has lots of case studies and things to try for yourself so you can really work out what’s going on in each chapter. All great stuff.
A strong 4 out of 5 for this book, another great book on photography – we are certainly blessed with having some amazing authors in the photographic field!