B&W Printing – “Creating the Digital Master Print”by George DeWolfe. A Lark Photography book in their Digital Masters series. $29.95 at Barnes & Nobles
I purchased this book after having problems creating a print (particularly in black & white) from a photograph that I had scanned from film. Here are my thoughts on it:
The book starts with a definition of terms in a glossary. This bothers me to some extent because we already have plenty of terms that are commonly used in photography that cover any idea mentioned in this book.
The first section of the book is quite interesting and should have expanded with additional information. DeWolfe discusses the things that make a master B&W print different from a normal B&W print. He covers edge definition, using shading to bring out form, and tone separation. Each of these items are treated to a type of before & after discussion to show the affect that they have on an image.
This section also introduces the PercepTool, written and sold by DeWolfe. The current price listed on DeWolfe’s website is $89.95. I was pretty angry that I bought a $30 book only to have the author use it to try and sell me a $90 software tool. I would estimate that 1/4 of the book is useless without the PercepTool. DeWolfe could have at least explained how the tool works instead of just how to set the parameters of the tool and use it.
The book also includes small sections on featured artists. These features provide a before & after image of the artists work. The featured artists were all helpful and inspiring.
The second section discusses the image workflow used by DeWolfe. While the first two chapters of this section are wasted on setup and customization of Lightroom (DeWolfe was on the development team for Lightroom), the majority of the material was very helpful. I have taken the suggestions and incorporated them into my own workflow.
There are several other concepts covered that help describe the differences between a mediocre print and a master print. The reader is forced to read between the lines a bit to discover the concepts.
As for actually printing the digital master print, there is a single short chapter that mentions printing. Of course, it only covers printing with Lightroom.
This book would have been much more helpful if it had been reduced to its essential elements. It should cover workflow and the attributes of a master print. The inclusion of the PercepTool and Lightroom customization seem to be a poorly disguised attempt at salesmanship. Useful information on B&W printing would have been nice, especially in a book titled “B&W Prining”
This book is useless as far as actually printing an image goes. I’m still looking for a good manual for printing a B&W image with an inkjet printer. If you are looking for information on how to use a consistent workflow, there are articles available online that are very informative.