Black and White
Winter can often be a good time of year to explore black and white in either film or digital. Careful exposure is the key to good results particularly in contrasty situations and a snow covered landscape demands that detail is retained in highlights.
For the digital photographer RAW format can provide a safety net by allowing extremes of tone to be pulled back into an image but don't let the facility make you lazy: it saves so much time if you can make a good exposure in the camera rather than spend time reworking a file in Photoshop. There is a limit too to what can be rescued with RAW software.
Adjusting exposure / development to control contrast
Whilst there are a plethora of sophisticated of darkroom techniques for the BW film user a simple guide is to overexpose by a stop but then reduce the development. This will result in a negative with lower contrast that encompasses a wider range of tones for printing. We are happy to adjust development times according to instructions but it is a technique that may require a bit of practise to perfect. Colour film development is not as flexible when it comes to modifying contrast because the colour balance can be skewed by variations. This is why E6 film photographers use graduated filters to darken down areas of the scene that would otherwise become washed out: light cloud being a typical example.
Speak to the lab
Ultimately it is the print that is the final proof and at the lab we have various methods for ensuring a tip-top result. Communication between photographer and the printer is essential whether a print is being made digitally or by the traditional darkroom route. As the saying goes "the photographer is the composer, the printer is the conductor" so where a competition quality print is required the printer should understand the vision that the photographer had to turn it into reality.
For further information about our processing and printing services follow the links below. Our services can be dealt with by post, online or in person and most completed in 24 hours.