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Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots Paperback – Illustrated, July 30, 2011

36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321774576 ISBN-10: 0321774574 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Now that you've bought that amazing new DSLR, you need a book that goes beyond the camera manual to capture stunning images. For digital photographers interested in black and white, this guide will help beginning- and intermediate-level shooters conquer the fundamentals and take amazing shots.

Pro photographer John Batdorff starts with the basics, including composition, light, contrast, exposure, and when to choose black and white. He covers all the key camera features (regardless of what type of DSLR you have) that affect your image, including the shutter speed’s ability to freeze and convey motion, and the aperture’s direct correlation with depth of field.

Once you’ve captured those great shots, John takes you step by step through the color conversion process to black and white in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom using simple presets. He also covers the enhancements and features that can be added using Nik Silver Efex Pro software–from presets to control points using U-Point Technology.

Follow along with your friendly and knowledgeable guide and you will:

  • Learn to see in black and white by understanding contrast, texture, and lighting
  • Understand all the best tricks and techniques for getting great black and white action shots, landscapes, and portraits
  • Create your own digital workflow by understanding the basics of post processing in Lightroom, then go beyond the basics with Nik Silver Efex Pro
  • Share your images and learn tips on printing and presenting your work online
  • And once you've got the shot, show it off! Join the book's Flickr group, share your photos, and discuss how you use your camera to get great black and white shots at

About the Author

John Batdorff is an award-winning landscape and travel photographer who splits his time between Chicago and Montana. He is the author of Nikon D7000: From Snapshots to Great Shots and a coauthor of Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots. His black and white images have been featured in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He also leads black and white workshops and mentors other aspiring photographers. John loves the outdoors and traveling, and sharing his images with others. See his work and read his popular photography blog at

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Product Details

  • Series: From Snapshots to Great Shots
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (July 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321774574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321774576
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Batdorff is a Chicago based professional photographer, author, instructor, and a nationally recognized authority on black and white photography. His work has been featured in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Travel Photographer, and Digital Photo Experience. John teaches classes at his Chicago studio and leads on-location workshops.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Stanley on August 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I typically do not write reviews for items I purchase. However, after reading through this book I felt compelled to do so. Black & White | from snapshots to great shots is simply one of the most applicable books I have read pertaining to photography. John does a marvelous job of explaining some real key points of B&W photography, in a very simple way so that it is easily understood and can be easily applied. What I found particularly helpful, is the fact that the book is not only about "in camera" captures. It covers post process, sharing and a little marketing as well. All of this is extremely helpful to someone like myself, who is new to photography, and really looking to gain exposure. Ha ha, no pun intended... (okay, maybe a little) I would highly recommend this book to all photographers whose niche is B&W photography as well as those looking to gain some ideas on expanding their creativity.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. on September 1, 2012
Format: Misc. Supplies Verified Purchase
The book Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots is well written and lacking the usual acronyms you may find in forums and blogs. It took me weeks to figure out what OOF and IQ meant. Regardless, I know there were complaints about how this book (and DVD) were geared toward Lightroom and Nik Silver Effects Pro and their complaints are justified. However, I use both of them as well as Adobe Elements 10 and a few Topaz Labs plugins so I don't have the same complaint. John Batdorff presented the use of this software with some of his own images which he also described how he captured them and I thought he did it very well in both the book and the DVD but it helps if you are familiar with this type of software.
My only complaint about the book and DVD is too much time is spent on 'whats in my camera bag'. I have one other book from PeachPit press that does the same thing and it's a waste of time. One thing I don't use Canon or Nikon gear, I use Pentax. In fact I have a Pentax K-5 and a K-7, along with a number of lenses that I have acquired over the past several years and I'm very satisfied with them. And I have no intention of switching to CaNikon because this sort of thing is at best a promo and that also includes the type of software being used.
Finally, if you don't have this software this book and DVD won't do you any good. Personally, I like both software packages very much but don't go out and buy it because it's recommended. You will have to determine what your needs are and to have both packages will cost several hundred dollars, something to consider. Lots of stuff out there, do research!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Graham on August 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
An outstanding book! For anyone that is trying to get started in black and white photography or is just looking to improve their skills and learn something new, this is a great place to look. John, in his very readable writing style, takes you from the very basics, like what type of equipment you need, through all the details of "getting the shot", and finally through post processing, printing and sharing using Lightroom and Nik's Silver Efex Pro.

Best points:
-The scope of the topics covered. This book literally takes you from what to look for when purchasing gear all the way through to making prints.

-Each topic is covered in a very understandable, concise manner.

-The "Poring over the picture" sections are great. They give you insight into the more important aspects of the image; what the photographer was thinking when the shot was taken, why he chose the gear he used, etc.

-The author. You would be hard pressed to find a more accessible photographer. His writing style, obviously honed though years of writing his blog, is incredibly readable as well. It reads more like a conversation than a text book and maintains your interest even through some of the more technical topics.

Now for the bad points:
-Really, my only gripe is the amount of focus on Lightroom and Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2. If you don't use these pieces of software (I use Photoshop pretty much exclusively) you might not be able to follow some of the walk-throughs word for word. The concepts presented are still valid though and can be used with other software if you have the ability to find the workarounds. It was helpful to see the process in other software though. My next software purchases will definitely be Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2. Way easier than my current work-flow.

Conclusion: Buy the book already! The knowledge and information here are too good to pass up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dale Keiger on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you are not familiar with the "Snapshots to Great Shots" series, they are meant to be workshops between covers. That is, they do not just dispense advice and technical instruction. They include assignments that are meant to push you past the biggest problem with photography instructional books: you can't learn to be a better photographer if all you do is read books. You have to put on your socks and shoes and pick up your camera and shoot, and shoot, and shoot some more. "Snapshots to Great Shots" books try to nudge you off the sofa to put into practice the instructions in each chapter.

The first problem faced by the author of one of these books is the level at which to pitch it. Do you start with the basics of how to hold a camera and set your first exposure? Do you assume some level of sophistication? How much? I think of these books like I think of my Nikon D7000 and D90--prosumer. That is, gear for the more sophisticated avocational photographers who probably make a living at something else, but are serious enough to invest in camera gear that's just a step or two below what a working pro uses.

Batdorff's book on black-and-white shooting opens with a couple of chapters of some pretty basic stuff about f-stops and shutter speed and white balance. I figured on skimming most of that, but found some things to think about because I've shot color my whole life, and if I'm to learn something from the author about black and white, I need to start seeing with new eyes. Batdorff does a good job at introducing the reader to this different way of evaluating a potential picture. I think I've got a pretty good eye, but I'm beginning to realize how I'll need to do some recalibration of that eye to do good monochrome work. This book pointed me toward that.
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