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The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography (A Lark Photography Book) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: A Lark Photography Book
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lark Books (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600595235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600595233
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 9.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MICHAEL FREEMAN is a well-known international photographer and best-selling author who has written more than two dozen books. His client list includes the Smithsonian, Time Life, Condé Nast Traveler, Readers Digest, and GEO magazines. His articles appear regularly in Photo District News.

More About the Author

Michael Freeman, professional photographer and author, with more than 100 book titles to his credit, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in geography at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and then worked in advertising in London for six years. He made the break from there in 1971 to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures extensively in the Amazon volume of their World's Wild Places series, including the cover, they encouraged him to begin a full-time photographic career.

Since then, working for editorial clients that include all the world's major magazines, and notably the Smithsonian Magazine (with which he has had a 30-year association, shooting more than 40 stories), Freeman's reputation has resulted in more than 100 books published. Of these, he is author as well as photographer, and they include more than 40 books on the practice of photography - for this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK's Open College of the Arts.

Freeman's books on photography have been translated into fifteen languages, and are available on other Amazon international sites.

They are supported for readers by a regularly updated site, http://thefreemanview.com

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Great Book - Very Helpful.
Katherine A. Ziemer
Given the production costs and the costs of licensing Ansel Adams' and others' photos, a few hundred extra bucks for a proof reader doesn't seem out of line.
TC Shooter
Mr Freeman writes well and I find his explanations well reasoned and easy to understand.
cortlander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Weijenberg on December 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is almost square, a fine format for displaying the well chosen images. It says "Black & White" but it also says "Complete Guide", and that's so true. Here you find a very methodic approach to this subject. Starting with simple straight forward color to B&W conversion and showing clearly that the simple way is quick and so dirty, Michael soon leads us into the world of creatively making what we want and how to tweak the image to get that result. Michael shows us (using Photoshop as main tool) step by step how to tackle the issues, from the color image itself via the conversion (tools) to processing the converted result. Other conversions (like duotones, InfraRed, solarization) are very well explained, in completely worked out examples. Likeable is that he really shows the different possiblities, sometimes to show that some ways are not producing top quality work, sometimes to show the choices, creative decisions you have to make for yourself. Plug-ins and other specialistic tools (for making digital look like film, for noise-reduction etc.) are nicely introduced, showing where, if and when they are needed.
The images are beautiful and to the point. The examples show that seeing in color is so different from seeing in B&W. Michael makes us aware of thinking beforehand in B&W, shown also in work made by the masters (Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and more). The Zone system is not left untouched in this book. If you think: B&W? Easy: desaturate, done. Then think again, from what you see here, you know this conversion can be done so much better. The displaying, mounting, presenting of the work are also covered. This really is a complete guide!
When you pick this up you have a very attractive book in your hands. Written for easy reference, no lengthy chapters, but concise and direct 2, 3 pages on each subject. And believe me, you want to pick up this book, time and time again, to become a master yourself, at least in the processing and finishing department.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By cortlander on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have several of Mr Freeman's books:

The Photographer's Eye
Perfect Exposure
Top Digital Photography Tips

The Complete Guide to Black and White Digital Photography is just as good as the others. The layout and quality of prints is pleasing. More importantly the author not only displays a deep knowledge of the topic but supplements each one with detailed pictures. Mr Freeman writes well and I find his explanations well reasoned and easy to understand.

Post processing is a big part of digital Black and White photography. Photoshop/Camera Raw curves and color sliders are used to explain many of the processing steps, but these are common in most photo processing software. I like the way the author discusses a topic, shows an original color photo, its default transformation to black and white, followed by several steps showing effects of changing one or two hues.

Digital processing is just one of the four sections in the book:

1. The Black and White Tradition
2. Digital Monochrome
3. Creative Choices
4. Printing and Display

The two hundred plus large size pages are quite absorbing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Weinstein on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased many of Michael Freeman's books. This one meets all of the excellent standards that I like and respect about his writings. I particularly found his comparisons with color imaging and silver based photography stimulating. The only criticism I have is the poor proof reading. There are many misspelled words, words left out, etc. As a result reading the book can be a bit tedious. This was not the case with the authors other books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By V. T. Filepp on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume fits with Michael Freeman's other books in these respects: Its the same size, Mr. Freeman's writing is accessible and clear, There is plenty of good information and how-to-do-it examples. I have read two other books by Mr. Freeman and like them very much.

The bad is the production of the book. There are obvious and easy to catch misspellings. Sentences that make no sense. Sentences that aren't. On one page two of the example graphics are incorrectly labelled (the labels were switched and the examples and descriptions were opposites). All this carried on throughout (I had hoped the situation would improve as the book went on - it didn't). On the first page of each section there are several lines of boldface type. I thought it would be a very brief overview or a short pertinent quote from the text. No, although it is located halfway down the page, it is the beginning of the text. You must read it first.

I'm glad Mr. Freeman's newer book(s) are from Focal Press, they seem to have a much better grasp on putting together a quality product.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TC Shooter on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been shooting B&W for almost 60 years, but I appreciated the author's revisiting of the medium's history, and the philosophy that kept many of us shooting B&W long after good color films were commonplace. As a general introduction to B&W photography, this is an excellent book. Most of the technical information is slated toward Photoshop CS4, I think, as that's the latest version mentioned in this 2011-publication book. A handful of good alternative software packages are mentioned, but not covered in great detail. There have been comments here about the author's understanding of Photoshop tools, but there are many ways to convert a color image to monochrome. Ultimately, it's the photographer's eye, coupled with a willingness to spend time learning what all the menu options do, that will produce good results. Good photography is hard work. Pressing the shutter release is easy; what you do before and after are what matter.

This "Complete Guide" covers all the facets of digital B&W photography, and on opening the book one is immediately impressed by the design. Echoing others' complaints, where it falls down is in proof-reading! I will think twice before buying another Lark Press book for this reason alone. Yes, the images are helpful and, even with the typos, the text is informative. But the typos and either flipped illustrations or erroneous captions become intrusive in a hurry. Given the production costs and the costs of licensing Ansel Adams' and others' photos, a few hundred extra bucks for a proof reader doesn't seem out of line. Still, if you're interested in exploring black-and-white digital photography and you have a DSLR and Photoshop CS4 or later, you'll find a great deal of helpful information and inspiration in this book.
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