Saturday, 5 September 2009

Digital Masters: B&W Printing Book Review

The Book Review

Rating 8 out of 10

Digital Masters: B&W Printing by George Dewolfe is in short a step by guide to creating a black and white 'masterpiece'. This book covers everything you need to know to create it.
This book is divided into 3 sections (Black and White, Image Workflow and a Conclusion) as well as a glossary, index and portfolio.

The first section in this book is about the key qualities that make up a black and white photo (tone, luminosity, luminance, sharpness,softness,edges, depth, contrast and brightness) with great attention paid to the difference between Luminance and Luminosity. The difference between what is visually perceived by us and what is actually seen (recorded) by the camera.

The second and the largest section is about Image Workflow. It describes how to design a workflow, how to setup your software, how to input your images on a computer, how to make global and local adjustments to a photo, how to optimize and fine-tune an image, setting up your workstation and last but not least printing and evaluating your print.

The final section and the shortest section is all about photographing the known and unknown, honing your skills as a photographer and accessing and practicing your mindfulness.

I particularly enjoyed the 2 pages on exploring tonal values in the first section and chapter where George DeWolf converts famous paintings into grayscale and looks at how the tonal values are distributed.

Top things I learnt from this book

  • To make global adjustments then broad adjustments and then local adjustments when your editing a image.

  • The difference between Luminosity and Luminance.

  • How to outline in Photoshop to accentuate the depth of individual objects.

  • And finally how to create a 'Masterpiece'.

A few minor criticisms

  • He devoted a entire chapter to inputting your photos onto your computer, this is so basic as to be inappropriate in a advanced book like this.
  • The book uses Lightroom and Photoshop exclusively with all his detailed explanations of image adjustments being done in Photoshop or Lightroom. As well as an entire chapter being dedicated to customizing Lightroom modules. This is not very helpful to those who use other photo editing programs.

  • The screen shots which show an image together with the Lightroom controls side by side results in the control panel being so small as to be unreadable. This adds to the growing frustration of a non-Lightroom user trying to decipher & translate what is being done.

  • Throughout this book he is constantly promoting his 'magic' plugin, this gets very annoying after a while. He tries to persuade you that your photographic life depends on getting his plugin.

  • And finally the book states on page 71 that the plugin costs $19.95 but when you visit George DeWolfs website the price actually is $90.00.

My Rating 8 out of 10

I found this is a good yet challenging read at times. I am giving it 8 stars because I found it difficult to read at times and because of George promoting his plugin excessively. Regularly now I go out to take photos specifically to be converted into black and white. This book feels good to the hands with a nice tactile finish on the front and the back of the book and the printing quality is excellent. This is a great book for anyone wishing to learn more about Black and White photography with lots or little experience.

And if nothing else this book offers some great black and white photos throughout the book to motivate you. You really could buy this book just to see the photos.

Check out the Digital Masters: B&W Printing at Amazon where it is 25% off.

Have you read any great black and white digital photography books lately? Give your recommendations in comments box. I'm Looking forward to discovering some other great black and white digital photography books!


Connect With Sbunting108

You can connect with me at Twitter - Simon Bunting Photography