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Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques [Paperback]

by Harold Davis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 10, 2010 0470597755 978-0470597750 1
Black-and-white photography poses unique challenges; without color to guide the eye, contrast, lighting and composition take on even more importance. Renowned photographer Harold Davis explains these elements and demonstrates the basic rules of black and white photography as well as when and how to break them. He breaks through the complexity of this photographic medium, explores opportunities for black-and-white imagery and shows how to capitalize on every one.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Black-and-white photography poses unique challenges; without color to guide the eye, contrast, lighting, and composition take on even more importance. Renowned photographer Harold Davis explains these elements and demonstrates the basic rules of black and white photography as well as when and how to break them. He breaks through the complexity of this photographic medium, explores opportunities for black-and-white imagery, and shows how to capitalize on every one.

Richly illustrated with the author's own images, this beautiful guide presents the skills needed for great black-and-white photos while encouraging your confidence and creativity.

  • Goes beyond basics to teach photographers how to conquer the challenges posed by black-and-white photography
  • Appeals to professionals and serious amateurs who are interested in exploring creative black-and-white imagery
  • Presents photography fundamentals and shows how black and white requires some of the rules to be bent
  • Encourages creative thinking and confidence
  • Lavishly illustrated with Harold Davis's outstanding monochromatic photos

Whether you're a professional just venturing into black and white or a serious amateur, Creative Black & White will both educate and inspire you.

Black-and-White Photography Tips from Author Harold Davis

Black-and-White Photography Tips

Photos by Harold Davis

Tips for Seeing in Black and White [PDF]


"Harold Davis's Creative Photography series is a great way to start a photography library"---PhotoFidelity

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470597755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470597750
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For Harold Davis, a typical day's (or night's) work might involve photographing star trails from the top of Half Dome, investigating the close-up patterns of early morning dew drops with his camera, or finding a new location for photographing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis (Focal Press), Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley),Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing (Focal Press) and Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers (O'Reilly). Harold writes the popular Photoblog 2.0,

Harold is a popular presenter on digital photography topics. His workshops are often sold out.

Harold is well known for his night photography and experimental ultra-long exposure techniques, use of vibrant, saturated colors in landscape compositions, and beautiful creative floral imagery. He is inspired by the flowers in his garden, hiking in the wilderness, and the work of great artists and photographers including M.C. Escher, Monet, van Gogh and Edward Weston.

Harold lives in Berkeley, California with his wife Phyllis Davis, a graphic designer and writer who frequently collaborates with Harold on book projects. They have four children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
I love this book!

Since the advent of digital, B/W has become a "choice" rather than a limitation. As a result a lot of creative thought has to go into making great B/W photographs.

As a beginner in this area of photography (especially in digital post-processing), I found this book was perfect in two aspects.

First, Harold Davis has a great way of explaining the intricacies of this art-form. It is easy to understand and follow things like
a) why would a particular picture be best converted to b/w
b) why would a particular composition work best in b/w
c) what are the various types of b/w compositions and which one would work best for a given object/person to be photographed etc
d) how to do HDR in B/W via multi-raw processing

It is a sign of a great master of an art that (s)he can convey his/her knowledge in a simple and easy to understand way. Harold accomplishes this in the book.

The second great aspect of the book are the photoshop steps. For a photoshop newbie like me, this book is a godsend as far as digital b/w is concerned.

Overall, I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to start their journey in, or enhance their understanding of Digital B/W.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
If you know beauty of the great black and white photographers of the twentieth century, Mr. Davis has for the first time made their vision available to the digital photographers of the twenty-first. As Weston said, "The camera should be used for ... rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh." As color photography is representational, black and white is "as it is." Mr. Davis knows the difference and explains how their vision might be yours.

Digital photography has always suffered in the realm of black and white. The most sophisticated digital sensors do not have the dynamic range of the photographic print. That is, the sensors are unable to detect at the same time the whitest of whites, the blackest of blacks, and the grays between. The classical photographers could tease out those variations with experimental photographic papers, homemade concoctions of chemicals, and innovative lab techniques. Only recently has digital post-processing equaled those same results.

In this seminal work, Mr. Davis explains, in a step-by-step, fully illustrated, style how the photographer with basic knowledge of post-processing programs is capable of obtaining those results. From ACR or Lightroom or Photoshop or specialized programs the perfection of the black and white image is explained. From simple procedures to the most sophisticated.

As the cherry on top, Mr. Davis finishes with specialized techniques such as high-key, low-key, toning, duotoning, solarization, and much more.

Black and white photography, as in those famous words, "try it, you'll like it."
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From An Old Film Guy... January 1, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've worked with computers for 25 years. I had no interest in digital photography. I've been through it all before - upgrades of both software and hardware, trying to keep current on new features you probably will never need, etc. I figured it would be the same with Photoshop and digicams...and it has been. Plus, I have a traditional darkroom and 40 years experience with film ...and all my film cameras are paid for! However, I started reading Mr. Davis' blog. He talked about the unique possibilities with digital B&W that are much different from traditional photography. I've corresponded with him several times. He's well aware that a lot of us cannot justify upgrading hardware and software every 18 months. Thus, in many ways, his book is a reference manual. It deals with new ways to apply core functions of Photoshop, and many techniques are cross referenced in the book. I have CS2, which is about the oldest version I would use, since Mr. Davis strongly advocates shooting in RAW and uses ACR extensively. I have been pleasantly surprised at how valuable this book has become to me in a short period of time. For example, the chart on page 68 was quite helpful to me. With anything digital, you can "process it" for days, trying for perfection. The chart indicates levels of digital B&W. Sometimes, you may want "gallery quality;" with other shots the "quick and dirty" approach is just fine. It's all in this book. It's the single best book on my type of digital photography I've found. It's a wonderful book, just to browse. The printing and layout are of the highest quality, and Mr. Davis' photos are stunning. The techniques Mr. Davis suggests are illustrated with complete step-by-step instructions. As long as film is manufactured, that is what I will shoot. Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
If you've seen some of Harold's long-exposure night images, you know the high level of expertise and creativity this West Coast photographer and educator brings to his work. This book is an extension of all that and a must-have for anyone with a serious interest in black and white digital photography. Beautifully illustrated, well-organized, and clearly presented, it allows the reader to follow a logical progression--from concept to creation to postproduction. I loved (and would even like to see more of) those examples where the reader is allowed to get inside the author's head (and heart) as a scene or challenge presents itself. He talks about creating abstractions out of elements or combinations of commonplace items by seeing behind preconceptions and focusing on things like shape and texture. Technical aspects of shoots are carefully noted, along with step-by-step instructions on how to pull the most out of these images through Photoshop and other specialized software. While he pays his respects here and there to black and white masters such as Adams and Weston, the book is more for converts who have already been mesmerized by the range of tones and singular beauty of classic black and white. One thing I might have wanted to see is at least some discussion about digital printing. High-quality, affordable inkjet printers have made the printing process a key element of the creative process for any serious digital photographer. Paper choices alone can dramatically impact the look and overall feel of an image. But Harold no doubt has all of that on a back burner for another book, which I anxiously look forward to reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am quite surprised at the content of this book. I though I was buying another mostly inspirational, visual book but it is
packed full of Lightroom, Layers and other... Read more
Published 1 month ago by GROWNUP LADY
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for B&W photographers
If you want to be a B&W photographer, this book will teach you all about it!! I recommend!! Best book I've had read
Published 1 month ago by Erikcoser
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and well written photography book
I'm a huge Ansel Adams fan. This book teaches specifically black and white techniques, and more importantly to me in this situation, teaches you how to properly convert color to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hos
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete guide to Black and White
Are now several years that purchase books of Davis. Like all his books this is no exception: simple, coincided and informative for post production. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ANTONIO BIGGIO
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Knowledge
I could not put the book down! Superbly written and crafted Harold methodically takes the reader down the path to becoming a better B&W photographer. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome for beginners
Loved this book as it provided a great inroduction to the techniques of digital black and white photography. Read more
Published 9 months ago by WIlliam Goodin
5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating and a wonderful learning tool
Harold Davis is a remarkable photographer and author. The book provides a working understanding of when, where and how to take excellent black and white photography. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jay Chatzkel
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White ! Divine!
Black and White photographs have a unique appeal to me. I am on a project to use only back and white from my phones for a year! Read more
Published 11 months ago by rpv
5.0 out of 5 stars Davis is a great photographer, an excellent technician, and a clear...
I had seen Davis' videos on youTube, and was very impressed by him. I bought a couple of his books initially, and then several others so that I now have 9 of them. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bearsfolks
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant!
This book was expertly written by a seasoned photographer. As a professional photographer, I was intrigued and inspired with every page I read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Swank Photography
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