Some Points on B&W Point Adjustments

The classic rule for setting the B&W points suggests that an image should have full contrast; from pure black to pure white with some shadow and highlight detail. But the truth is more complicated, there are really more options for controlling the full contrast of an image.

■ When printing images with strong, specular highlights (such as this image of an engine), you may wish to push the white point until these strong highlights appear as a solid point of white in the image.

Specular (pure white) highlights

Nearly white highlights

Specular (pure white) highlights

Nearly white highlights

For images with smooth highlights (such as portraits), you may wish to maintain a separation between the highlights and pure white. Pushing the whites of a portrait to pure white may appear ghastly.

■ When printing B&W images, set the black point to ensure some areas of pure black. Areas of near black with detail often appear to be merely dark gray. Adjust your black input value such that a larger area of the image are printed purely black.

■ When printing color images, set the B&W levels to ensure printing with detail; color images often do not need pure black or pure white pixels.

A portrait with A portrait without "full" contrast pure white values
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