The Photographer's Black and White Handbook: Making and Processing Stunning Digital Black and White Photos
“a superb addition to those desiring to master the conversion of color images to black and white.”
Harold Davis’ ambitious book is a masterly compendium of techniques and approaches for lovers of black and white images who are determined to use their digital cameras to produce outstanding black and white photos. He tackles every topic from on-location pre-visualization of the black and white tonalities to exposure bracketing and split toning.
Davis writes in an involving yet down-to-earth manner that informs and entertains while giving you the facts of how he pre-visualized and created different images. His narrative is from the point of view of a photographer in the field creating a black and white image and the challenges that are encountered in bringing the envisioned image to life. He also gives quirky historical background of the locations photographed whether they be in France, Arizona, or Japan, as well as quoting well-known figures in photography, movies or novels. He fully explains his ideas and methodology with clear photo captions that include aperture, ISO, and shutter speed information as well as the focal length of all lenses used.
Davis covers a staggering amount of well-researched information that includes something for everyone, from the beginner using his iPhone to the advanced photographer. He delves into post-processing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, including working with their plug-ins like Nik Silver Efex Pro; extending the tonal range via HDR, solarization, JPEG’s versus RAW, and simulated infrared as well as Photoshop’s adjustment layers such as those for hue & saturation, blend modes, masking, toning, split-toning, color spaces with differing gamuts, combinations for partial colorization, LAB Color, and much more.
Davis thoroughly explains the dilemma of straight-out-of-camera JPEG format versus processing RAW files—a topic of conversation that is very common for people who want to avoid post-processing and streamline their workflow as much as possible. He brings insight and much expertise to the topic while detailing the optimal path to achieving superior images, whether they are JPEG or RAW, and avoiding compromises in image quality.
Davis has chosen to lavishly illustrate the book with his own photographs, which are remarkable black & white conversions of color images. The book is also filled with many color screenshot illustrations from Lightroom menus and Photoshop layer panels, and compatible “plug-in” menus for specific how-tos in creating certain effects and maximizing your own results.
While Davis never specifically mentions which camera or lens brand he works with, he is very explicit in which focal lengths were used for his photos and how the images were processed to convert them to black & white.
Davis is an excellent photographer, adept professional and teacher. His book eases the beginner into the deeper waters of image creation while also making it a highly practical reference book for the more advanced photographer. His photographs and his comprehensive approach to explaining complicated processes are impressive. The only thing to wish for was slightly better reproduction of his high quality photos. One could easily imagine this book with duotone printing for the photographs.
The Photographer’s Black and White Handbook by Harold Davis is a superb addition to those desiring to master the conversion of color images to black and white as well as gain insight into many Photoshop and Lightroom functions.