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If you want to become a master of black and white photography then this is highly recommended reading.

Book Review : Black And White In Photoshop CS3 And Lightroom by Leslie Alsheimer

Getting great images in black and white is not just removing the color from the image or transforming it into grayscale; rather it is a different state of mind. In color you have similar tonal values, but completely different effects. The same colors in black and white can look drab. To create compelling images in black and white you must learn how to look at things differently. You must find the contrasts, the shapes, the textures, and the lines within the images. It is the goal of Black and White in Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom to help you do this.

Black And White In Photoshop CS3 And Lightroom is 241 pages long and comprises six chapters.

Chapter 1, "Color Management in Black and White," describes the fact that color management is an extremely complex subject. The type of topic that makes all but the hardiest eyes glaze over. But to do black and white you must understand what it is and how it affects the outcome of your images. In this chapter you will learn about color management, color working spaces, ambient lighting conditions, setting up your monitor, calibration, software, print profiling and printer settings.

Chapter 2, "Highest Quality Capture: Workflow Phase I," describes how to capture for black and white. The first phase of your work flow is to obtain the highest quality image. You will examine types of capture formats, bit depth, high bit capture, as well as an overview on scanning. You will also learn about exposure evaluation tools such as the histogram, as well as how to read and interpret the histogram data. Here you will learn about the blinking highlight indicator, digital darkroom dangers, and how to handle noise and interference in digital capture.

Chapter 3, "Black and White in Lightroom: Workflow Phase II," shows you how to integrate workflow practices within Lightroom. Because there are many possible steps from capture to print, there is really no single "right" way to manage a workflow. Here you will start with a hybrid workflow that you can use to learn what works right for you. Topics include importing, downloading and backing up your images, Lightroom editing, global adjustments, exporting, and bridging to Photoshop.

Chapter 4, "Black and White in Photoshop," now concentrates on methods of processing from within Photoshop. Here the author concentrates on more advanced options that are available in Photoshop as well as on their founding theories and methodologies. In this chapter you are encouraged to experiment before moving on. The methods include Grayscale Mode Change, Lab Color Mode, Channel Mixer, Hue Saturation Technique, Black and White Standalone Feature, and Black and White in Camera Raw 4.0.

Chapter 5, "Image Editing in Photoshop," begins with an overview of the best practices in non-destructive editing in Photoshop such as Adjustment Layers. It also describes the new features in CS3. Because Photoshop is such an extensive program, it is impossible to cover all types of adjustments. Here you will learn how to monitor your adjustments by using the histogram. Then you work with levels and curves, setting black and white points, dodging, burning, neutral density filters, vignetting, working with film grain effects and digital infrared. You will also work with hand coloring black and white, toning techniques, split toning, and duotones.

Chapter 6, "Printing," describes techniques for getting the best out of your digital printing. Because of the new technological advances in the quality of digital, the darkroom has been replaced and in that photographers must now embrace change, not by replacing the old, but by integrating the new. In this chapter you will learn about ink and how it affects your printing, about paper and profiles that work with your printer. You will then be introduced to a printing workflow that includes setting size and resolution, soft-proofing, sharpening and setting your printer driver for best effects. There is even a section on printing from within Lightroom.

Black And White In Photoshop CS3 And Lightroom explains in clear and easy to understand steps what it takes to generate quality black and white images using Photoshop and/or Lightroom. It is really geared for the intermediate to advanced user who is looking to understand both workflow and color management techniques.

There are a number of thing that I like about Black And White In Photoshop CS3 And Lightroom. First, I like the fact that it takes you down a number of paths on creating black and white images. It doesn't just say this is the best way and so that is all you learn. Second, I like the step-by-step approach to guide you through what you need to do to get results like this.

The only problem I had was that there were no image downloads that I could find to use in following the instruction. I understand the copyright issues that can be involved with some of the images in the book, but it seems that some non-proprietary images could be created and used for some of the more advanced concepts. Other than that, I think that if you want to become a master of Black and White photography then Black And White In Photoshop CS3 And Lightroom is highly recommended reading.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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