Fujifilm featured photographer of the week
I am delighted to announce Fujifilm has selected my work to promote their brand and values across all social media platforms for the week commencing 23 April 2018. There will be a daily post for the week spotlighting a picture and text of mine. https://www.facebook.com/fujifilm.uk/ https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/fujifilmuk/
What follows is the essential requirements to get the look, taste and smell of a darkroom print from your inkjet printer. Later I will outline the 10 areas of the black and white post-processing workflow that skilled mono workers concentrate on.
How to get the darkroom look, taste and smell from an Inkjet printer
If you seek the look, smell and taste of a darkroom printing it is probably safe to assume you have some experience of darkroom printing. Probably you are looking to raise the technical standard of the prints you make. For all the rest of you, this urge may be difficult to visualize in reality. For example, there are very few darkroom prints in circulation in the camera clubs and print salons these days. I am being highly specific when I tease you with the look, taste and smell of a darkroom print from an inkjet printer. Fine art darkroom papers are made with what is called a fibre-base such as Ilford Multi-grade IV FB. This paper has a Baryta layer to smooth out the surface of the light-sensitive layer of silver Gelatin.
An equivalent inkjet paper is the Fotospeed Platinum Baryta 300. When you open the box it has the same smell as the darkroom equivalent. As to taste, if you are unsure which side of the paper has the ink receiving layer, place the corner of the paper between the lips, the sticky side is the top. The same taste comes through when putting a darkroom paper between the lips.
Choice of Paper – Baryta type
Baryta is Barium Sulphate, a clay-like material that is applied to a fibre paper substrate. On traditional papers with light-sensitive emulsions, it acts to whiten the paper, produce a high degree of reflectivity, and provide a ground for the emulsion.
Since inkjet printing started, people have been striving to emulate the look and feel of traditional baryta papers. Below is the best of the best in inkjet baryta papers which have been specifically designed for inkjet printing with pigment-based inks. (all current professional printers and inks from Epson, HP, and Canon). Baryta is being used not to hold a chemical emulsion but to provide a smooth reflective coating. There are a few paper suppliers that offer Baryta based fine art paper stock, here are a few to try.
Listed is a small selection of the Fotospeed Baryta type Inkjet Papers. Fotospeed Platinum Baryta 300 Canson Baryta Photographique Hahnemuhle Rag Baryta 300
Choice of an inkjet printer
Your choice of printer is fundamental to get right before you can achieve ultimate quality. All the printing skills in the world will be lost if you do not have an inkjet printer that is capable of printing a mono print without a green and or magenta colour cast. You need a printer with at least 3 blacks. In Epson terminology – Photo Black, Light Black, Light Light Black. Many printer manufacturers supply models with a similar ink set specification.
Choice of black and white Software plugins for Lightroom
There are some photographers who like to use a black and white plugin to help the mono workflow. There are pros and cons to using this application. Take a look at Silver Effects Pro 2 which is now owned by DxO.
The latest product to the mono plugin market is Seim Silver 3. I haven’t tried it yet but looks impressive so it may be a way to go for you.
Mono post-processing workflow
The point of this post is not to give click by click instructions how to create a fantastic darkroom look to your inkjet mono prints. I am merely highlighting the basics and some of the cautions to be aware of.
Here are 10 areas of the black and white post-processing workflow that skilled mono workers concentrate on.
- Clarity – generally required add to a maximum amount of 50% beware of halos
- Dehaze – potentially add to a max of 10% – beware of halos
- Luminance Controls – used to add contrast by brightening and darkening colour hues
- Sharpening – remember Lightroom sharpens twice – do not overdo it in the Develop module
- Add film grain – with a plugin such as Silver Effects Pro for a more realistic result. I occasionally use the Lightroom
- Tone Curve for Global contrast – be bold when adding contrast to mono, don’t be timid
- Edge darkening – Use the Post Crop Vignette Tool in Lightroom to hold the eye in the picture
- Selective brightness and contrast controls – are absolutely essential to the darkroom look with the Lightroom Adjustment Brush, Radial Gradient and Graduated Filter
- Luminosity – Is the perceived range of brightness of tones within a print. For more impact make your prints darker with more contrast.
- Presence – is the perception of depth created by the selective use of clarity and sharpening.
Preview a mono picture on your Camera LCD Screen
For users of all Fujifilm cameras, you can preview black and white film simulation on the back of your camera. Here is how it is done.
1 Shoot in Raw file format – see the Quick Menu (Q). Mono Raw files return to colour in Lightroom.
2 If you shoot in JPG file format – the picture will always be black and white restricting creative possibilities.
3 From the Quick Menu (Q) scroll through the film simulations to find the black and white options
- Addition of “Focus Bracketing”
- Compatible with the newly developed cinema lens FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 lens and FUJINON MKX50-135mmT2.9 lens
- Addition of F-log SD card recording
- Addition of 1080/120P high-speed video mode
- Enhanced Phase Detection AF
- Addition of “Flicker Reduction”
- Addition of “Select Folder” and “Create Folder”
- Enlarged and customizable indicators or information
Travel Photographer of the Year Exhibition
30th March to 29th April 2018 at London Bridge City
The first exhibition of the latest winning images from the Travel Photographer of the Year awards is currently running in Central London in 2018, against the stunning backdrop of City Hall, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. http://www.tpoty.com/exhibitions/london