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Mastering Black and White Digital Photography (A Lark Photography Book) Paperback – September 1, 2005

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: A Lark Photography Book
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Lark Books (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579907075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579907075
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,252,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By dr. lowbrow on January 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am impressed with this book. I have read many run-of-the-mill Photoshop books and this isn't one of them for all the right reasons. This book is chock full of useful, long term learning about black and white photography from the moment you look at a scene to the final print. While it is geared toward work in Photoshop, it spends enough time in basic design principles and how to shoot, that after practicing the principles in the book I will be a much better photographer rather than just a more skilled user of Photoshop.

The examples in the book are plentiful, useful, and gorgeous. Many side-by-side photos show you the before and after, and in fact many of them are 6 or 8 side-by-side comparison shots of different techniques or adjustments. This is the book for someone who loves looking at spectacular black and white work and wants to bring her work closer to that level.

There are five large chapters: The Language of Mono, Color into Grayscale, Digital Black and White, Image Editing & Effects, and The Print. In the first two chapters, the basic thrust is on colors -- the colors we see and that the camera records -- and how they can be manipulated to create stunning black and whites. The sections on filters I found particularly helpful. I often stopped and tried the various techniques on some of my own photos.

Digital Black and White, Image Editing & Effects are the meat and potatoes. Freeman is of the Ansel Adams school and so begins to talk about tonal ranges using the zone system. Then he does so much more, covering gradient maps, multiple exposure composites, and how to mimic specific film types. He uses a series of case studies interspersed throughout the text to show how various techniques might be brought into the workflow on a given photo.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By audiblemercy on December 31, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is wonderfully organised book and presents a multitude of techniques to use in Photoshop to create black and white images from color images. The book transitions from beginner techniques to more advanced methods. Freeman describes all of the steps taken in converting color images to black and white while showing all of the creative aspects in adjusting the channel mixer to elicit the effect desired. This is a great "cookbook" of techniques and has found a space on my desk by my computer.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A. Benas on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of several books on digital B&W photography that I own. I find that the author is too economical in his explanations of how he got from step to step, often leaving significantly large gaps of assumed reader knowledge or prescience. But my main complaint is the horrible job of editing. There are mistakes and disagreements between the text and the illustrations and the illustrations and their headings. If you're not already comfortable with fooling around with Photoshop tools, and just trying things, you can get totally lost trying to figure out whether the text, heading or illustration is correct.

The book is attractive and well presented. However, after many years as a technical editor, I'd have been embarrassed to let this one go.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By R. Kreis on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book presents an introductory exposition of techniques for producing "fine art" black and white images from digital color images. Its intended audience is amateur digital photographers and Photoshop users with limited experience. The technical depth of the discussion is fairly high-level. The book is laid out in a glitzy fashion that indicates heavy influence from the graphic arts department. In this regard, the book is better suited for coffee table display than for use as a workroom reference.

The book divides its discussion into five chapters:

· The Language of Mono

· Color into Grayscale

· Digital Black and White

· Image Editing and Effects

· The Print

The Language of Mono

This is good place to start a discussion of black and white images, by looking at what makes black and white images work. Here, the author introduces his "case study" method, where he uses an image as an example to illustrate his points.

Color into Grayscale

In this chapter, the author explores ways to use the Channel Mixer in Photoshop to manipulate the individual color channels for red, green and blue to produce the black and white tones intended by the photographer. He also introduces the technique of manipulating hues to control tones. Again, he uses case studies of individual images to illustrate his ideas.

Digital Black and White

In this section, the author explores the management of tonal ranges using Photoshop. He discusses setting white and black points to expand tonal range, and introduces methods for managing scenes with high dynamic range. Zone System is introduced, and the author briefly discusses scanning images.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By TokiLX on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whenever I read a photogrpahy book such as this one, I always carry around those little plastic post-it notes to mark any important pages. After reading it, I found that I had marked almost half of the entire book! Freeman explains different ways of converting color files to black and white using layer masks, contrast, desaturating, and everything else. The great thing, though, is that he gives you solid examples and a step-by-step process for each one. He tells you how to fix a washed-out sky that unbalances the photo, how to manipulate each color when it has already been converted to black and white and why this is such a useful tool, how to work with skin tones, how to get great contrast without clipping, and even how to use layers with each color. As a bonus, at the end of the book he talks aboout printing; what inks are good, what paper is good, etc. A very thorough and easy to understand book with great detail. I recommend this book for anyone interested in B&W photography or B&W Photoshop techniques.
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