Review – “Advanced Photography Skills – Black & White Special”

Although there’s an awful lot of colour images on The Fuji Freak blog, this doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on black & white! I’m always on the lookout for books and magazines with tutorials and hints & tips in their pages. This is a review of a magazine that’s currently available in UK newsagents. It’s been produced by Amateur Photography (AP) magazine in their Advanced Photography Skills series, available each quarter. The Spring edition is wholly concerned with black & white imaging.

The magazine covers just about every aspect of monochrome imaging including analogue film, so it’s not just for digital photographers. There are 21 articles, some previously printed in weekly editions of AP, covering why you should consider mono, exposure & metering, converting both images and your camera to be solely a monochrome tools, just like the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 camera. There are also tutorials about toning mono images and converting images in Camera RAW.

There’s a whole batch of shooting tutorials: infrared, HDR & exposure blending, creative lighting, glamour, architecture and street. Post-processing analogue film is covered, too: building a home darkroom, return to film from digital (reverse conversion!), availability of mono negative films currently available and, finally, processing film. The magazine finishes off with tips about creating a bound portfolio and making perfect prints at home.

Authors and photograph contributors include Russ Barnes, Michael Freeman – he of extensive photography book fame – Martin Evening, a guru on all things Adobe, Lee Frost and Fuji-X photographer, Damien Lovegrove.

If you dabble in monochrome imaging – either analogue or digital – then this is a perfect purchase for improving your monochrome skills. There are a very few advertisements within the 100 pages, which makes the magazine very good value – just 11% of the pages have adverts, some of which are AP-related (subscriptions etc).

PROS: price (£3.99); excellent tutorials; quality of writing & images; few adverts; very useful content

CONS: a lack of Lightroom & Alien Skin’s Exposure X tutorials

The Fuji Freak rating is: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Available from good newsagents throughout the UK such as WHSmith.

NOTE: This is also my “Something for the Weekend” post.


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