So you have just made an awesome black and white photo of one of your favorites in Photoshop. What's next? Do you print it? Well of course, but how? I mean the new color printer we have has made some great color prints but how do I do just black and white?
Many of us have found ourselves in this position, the answer is as simple as your computer printer. If you have gone out and spent any kind of money on a good color printer, it can handle this task. If you are already printing color photos from your home computer, you can easily do black and white. Ok, Ok I know what you're thinking. You say you have tried to used the printer to do black and white before, but there were also colors in there. The shadows were green or magenta and they just didn't look......well black and white.
Many of the really good pro to pro-am printers out there have 1 if not 2 and some times even 3 shades of black ink. Dude, you are only working with 256 shades of grey here to make a black and white print. There is no reason to use the color ink at all, when you make a black and white print.
Most all printer manufacturers include the ability to use only Black ink when making any kind of print out. It is a selection item located in the printers software. When the window pops up that asks you about the paper size, weight and type, there are also a myriad of color settings to choose from, one of those is black ink only.
The first thing you want to do to your file is to get it as black and white as possible. This means that you can keep an RGB file RGB but you will need to completely desaturate it in Photoshop. You can also do a channel mixer sequence on the image if you wish but desat works just fine. Now that you are looking at a Black and White image, you might want to tweak the contrast a bit. It has been our experience that color images tend to be lower in contrast than traditional Black and White.
Now that your image is just how you want it. It's time to print. I can't stress this enough, use a good quality paper to do your printing on. Photo paper, glossy or matte a paper with a brilliant white will give you the best results. In Photoshop, choose print with preview. then open the printer you wish to make your print on. In our case we will be using an Epson all in one. This is a typical printer used in most businesses and home offices and retails for about $150. The printer has only 1 shade of black ink. We will go into the configuration mode of the printers software and choose to print with black ink only or Grayscale setting. Epson has a slightly warm tone to it's black inks which is just perfect for most situations. For our purposes this works well because it gives skin tone a bit of a bump. We first print a test print, checking for rich blacks, and detailed highlights. Then we make our final print after making any necessary adjustments in Photoshop based on our test. Your final print should be suitable for framing and placing on that wall. While the image printed on this printer are good B&W images, printers like the Epson 7600 or 7800, have 2 and 3 black inks, offering even better detail and overall tonal range.
Now I know there are some of you out there saying all this is just a little too much. No problem. If you have a great B&W file that you want to have printed without going though everything we just covered, you can simply send it to a professional printer to have it done. If you are looking for a great "art" print, you can use our service at Hawaiianpix, we will be happy to print your Black and White Images up to 24x36 in size. Just email us from our contact information in this article.
B&W isn't gone, like color photography it has simply changed. Once you have made your first B&W print using the method we outlined above, you will likely be hooked. - Aloha
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