Bob Kidd Photography | Black-and-White Photography

Black-and-White Photography

January 13, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

DXT12575-PSedit2Color digital image edited in Photoshop



" photography offers more creative freedoms

     (and demands more control) by the photographer than does color."

Andrew Gassan, Exploring Black and White Photography, second edition, 1993



I rarely use Photoshop, preferring Lightroom for most post processing, but that all changed after I made my first black and white Piezography print. Lightroom works ok, but it can introduce unwanted artifacts that are easily revealed by the increased print resolution of Piezography. I quickly realized that my comfort zone needed to expand - I needed to learn how to use layers and masks in Photoshop to make evocative Piezography prints. It felt like I suddenly went to the deep end of the Photoshop pool.  While I understood the concepts of layers and masks, I found the mechanics of using them awkward because they were unfamiliar. Retreat to the familiar was not an option because I was already in deep - taking a workshop, converting a printer,  creating custom curves, and spending time reading and digesting the Piezography manual. 


Like all journeys, it involved leaving the familiar and venturing into the unknown as I experienced the discomfort of learning new skills to create a curve layer and, if required, add a mask so that my curve adjustment did not affect the entire image. After that, create another mask and then repeat until the result I wanted became apparent in the soft proof image. Not surprisingly, t was the repetition that finally led the way to familiarization. A series of small steps, whatever it needs, and then a series of Üben, Üben, Üben (practice, practice, practice).



RBK_9847-Pano-PSeditMilky Way



The advantage of online information is also the disadvantage - you have to wade through a vast sea of information to find the quiet pool of information that works for you. Because most of the Photoshop resources focus on creating awesome edits and tricks, I knew what I needed to avoid. Popular conversion software, like Silver Efex Pro and Topaz BW, can also be overused, resulting in artifacts that are less obvious with traditional printmaking. I read, I watched, and I learned how to use layers and adjustment masks in Photoshop. At that point, my new work flow began to emerge. 


This is the price for artistic growth - you must do the work.


See ya next week,



Geek Speak - Workflow Insights

I begin my workflow in the Lightroom Library before I edit a raw file as a smart object in Photoshop as a PSD file in an Adobe RGB (1998) color space. PS Layers are used to convert color files to BW before more layers and masks are used to dodge and burn selected areas of my image. After that, I sharpen the raw image file. When the image is saved in Photoshop, it returns to Lightroom Library and is added to the Lightroom catalog. Lastly I use the Quad Tone Rip Print Tool to send the file to my Piezography printer.


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