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Printing Options

Lesson 19 from: Introduction to Black & White Film Photography

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

19. Printing Options

Next Lesson: Printing Papers

Lesson Info

Printing Options

For digital black and white printing we get the image to the point where we're happy with it, we've got the state of the union where we like it and we're ready to actually go print. There's two things that make a huge difference in the black and white print. The decision you make on the printer settings and then the substrate you're gonna print to or the paper you're gonna print to. Those things make all the difference in the world. Canon and Epson both have spent a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of engineering effort to make really good monochromatic prints come out of their printers. But there's a little tweak you need to do to the printer so that you get the maximum benefit of the engineering work they've done. Traditionally we're taught we go in and you choose Photoshop Manages Color and then if you're printing on say, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, you choose the Hahnemuhle ICC profile. Or you choose the Moab Entrada or you choose Legacy Firebird and you choose the ICC profile an...

d that gives you the best result all things being equal. That's true except for black and white. For black and white we want printer to manage color. What we wanna do is we want Photoshop or Lightroom, either one, 'cause I print most of my stuff out of Lightroom 'cause the output sharpening in Lightroom is just to die for. It's the PK Sharpening engine, $100 plugin I bought for Photoshop, is built into Lightroom. So I use Lightroom for a lot of my printing. So I pull that into Lightroom, do the printing, I still have printer manage settings there. Once that happens, once printer's managing settings what I want to pick is, I want to choose Advanced Black and White. So under printer settings, on an Epson under Basic, is the option for Advanced Black and White or it'll say Epson Color. There's a couple of different ones they have there, depending on which printer you are. But you want advanced black and white. What advanced black and white's gonna do is drop you into this advanced color setting. This is gonna give you the black and white settings. And what's happening is the print driver is able to look at the information in the file, linearize the data, and then apply the appropriate blacks and curve each of the black inks with the appropriate linearized response to generate the right monochromatic image, so it's no longer looking at the ICC profile to say, oh, that's 2% gray. It's saying, oh, you've given me this. I'm gonna use these pieces of information to create the black. These pieces all affect tinting and toning so you could come in and add a little coolness or warmness to it. These affect part of the curve response. This will be default to darkest, I believe. Dark is the closet linear curve to what you would get. I think it's the, one's 1.8 and one's 2.2. It's either dark or darkest. But dark seems to get most people who are starting the right response. You choose that. This is what it looks like in Canon. And theirs is usually under the, it's the basic option or default option, there's a little check box that'll say, print in black and white. And you'll be like, um, OK. So you check that box and then under your color options you'll get, what is interestingly enough, basically the same settings that are over there. Here's the tint tone, X, Y axis. You've got brightness options, intensity, how should the contrast be. These I would normally not mess with unless there was a very specific component for the output of the printer. For example, Epson's Exhibition Fiber is a gorgeous black and white paper out of an Epson printer. Gorgeous. It probably is gorgeous out of a Canon. I've just never printed it. But the optical brighteners, which is the things that take the paper base and make it a little bit brighter, has a slight blue cast to it. So if I want to neutralize the blue cast in the print I can add a touch bit of yellow in there by offsetting the horizontal axis and the vertical axis to kiss in a tiny bit of warmth to offset a little bit of the blue from the optical paper. So that's where I would use something like that from a neutralization standpoint. We use that a lot in the output of digital negatives for alternative processing, which we'll talk about in the next session. But that little bit would be for that. This is that same X, Y coordinate system. You wanna hand this off to the printer because it's gonna make those decisions. The only other kind of real option there that makes a big difference is something called a quadtone rip. Which is a specialized piece of software that basically intercepts the print driver and it does a, it allows you to apply customized curves on each of the inks, that's why it's a quadtone, four tones. I'll customize the piece and you get really beautiful responses out of the quadtone rips. So it was in the original days before Epson and Canon did all this work to get a really good black and white print, most people are printing with a quadtone rip. These are close enough that a lot of the stuff you see hanging now these people are just printing out of the advanced black and white engine there.

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I am really fond of Daniel Gregory as a teacher. He does a great job. To me, his enthousiasm, his passion for and his dedication to film photography are infectuous. It's great that CreativeLive makes place for film photography and for such a pro teaching it. It can never do so enough for me. Thanks. I am a fan.

Texas Beauty Photography

Great class!! It's jam packed with usable information for anyone wanting to shoot, process, and print black and white images. There is so much detail presented in this class, I can practically guarantee you'll come back to it again and again. I successfully used this class to capture b/w photographs, process the negatives, capture them digitally, and finally, produce beautiful prints that I'm proud to show my friends and clients. This may well be one of the best classes on all of CreativeLive. Highly recommended!


This is an excellent course and Daniel is a great teacher! I'm coming back to shooting film and darkroom work after 20 years away. I have some wonderful film cameras sitting in my cabinet and I decided I wanted to use them--so I have decided to shoot BW with film, and shoot color with my digital cameras. I will develop the BW film myself and scan and print digitally. This class is perfect for me!

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