For checking your computer screen
A Greyscale is useful for a number of purposes. First of all it can be used to check how well your computer screen is seeing the full range of greys between pure white and black.
If you are not seeing a clear difference between all the tones above, you won’t be seeing your images accurately on your screen.
This could result in a surprise when you see how they appear when projected by the colour-corrected club projector or when you try to print them out. This goes for colour images as well as black and white.
Calibrate your screen if this is the case.
Printing black & white and colour images
Another use is for printing your images. Download the image above and print it out to check how well your printer is printing the full range of tones.
You should get a good rich black, a clean pure white and blacks which lift off early and graduate smoothly without evidence of any colour tone in the various densities and no lumps or bumps in the graduations.
If you are not getting this, you can get a colour profile done specially for your paper, ink and printer combination by getting in touch with the paper and ink manufacturer.
If you use Marrutt ink and paper, you can get this done for free ...See more information on printing from Marrutt.com/Support at the bottom of this section.
A Grey Card can be used to check your colour balance when taking a photograph. Opposite, on wider screens, or below on smaller screens, is a high resolution jpg for you to download and print out.
It is best if you mount this on to some mounting board to make it rigid.
It is quite easy to use a grey card. Simply place it in the area where you plan to shoot your subject, facing the direction of where you plan to place the camera.
If you are using artificial light, you will want to make sure you light the grey card the same way you plan to light your subject.
You should have a custom white balance selection in your camera menu. You will find this setting and select it and take a picture. It helps to do this process at least three times to make sure that the light is being registered correctly.
In AUTO shooting mode, the camera automatically searches for this medium grey hue in a scene in order to determine the right exposure and white balance, and this is also how the camera determines the correct
white balance when you set white balance to AUTO. By using a grey card, you are basically retaining more control over the final appearance of the image by adjusting white balance on your own.
These instructions have been taken direct from an excellent article online which has full information on how to use a grey card.
More on printing your images
Below is the transcript from a YouTube video by Marrutt.com which has been copied in case the link is changed in the future.
The YouTube link is Black & White Inkjet Printing in 3 Easy Steps.
There are many other very good video links on this page from Epson and photographers about printing black & white pictures as well as colour so well worth a visit.
How to create great professional quality black & white inkjet prints in 3 easy steps
1. Use a photo quality pigment inkjet printer with good quality inks and papers.
2. Use a recent custom profile that you have checked specifically created for your printer, your ink and your particular paper.
3. Print from great origination, and don’t ruin it with over-adjustment in Photoshop / Lightroom etc, or allow your monitor to persuade you to over-adjust or over-sharpen.
Don’t use a cheap home or office printer - don’t use older dye-based printers - use only a modern pigment inkjet printer which creates good neutrals in various lighting conditions
- the older dye-based inks tend to produce variable colour tones within their neutrals, and are no match for pigment prints!
Don’t use compatible inks or cheap high street refill inks - use either OEM brand inks or reputable Pro Photo Inks.
Don’t use low quality papers which won’t allow you to acheive a good rich black - insist on Pro Photo Papers with a clean pure white as a basecolour, which have the correct coating that allows your inks to
graduate smoothly through the entire density range.
Compatibles and cheap high street refill inks tend to produce abrupt, high-contrast prints - stay clear!
Get your printer accurately custom profiled for your specific printer/ink/paper combination, and check that you acheive:
A. A good rich black
B. A clean pure white
C. Blacks which lift off early and graduate smoothly without evidence of any colour tone in the various densities - no lumps or bumps in the graduations.
Capture your image in RGB - desaturate but keep in RGB mode NOT greyscale! Print in RGB mode, as if you are printing colour, relying on the accuracy of your custom profile to
guarantee perfect neutral through the range of tones in your image.
Printing in RGB allows you to change your neutral very slightly towards warm or cold, as you prefer, by very tiny changes in Hue/Saturation.
You also have the ability to sepia-tone, colour-tone, split-tone, tri-tone or quad-tone as you wish.
Work with plenty of pixels and dynamic range - which means an origination image which exceeds, say, 5 Mb when printing to A5 or half US letter size 10 Mb when printing to A4 or US letter size etc,
and make sure that your levels show a good spread of density tones appropriate to your image.
Print straight from a digital camera TIFF or higher quality JPEG file when you can, rather that a scan of a print or neg or transparency, unless you are working with great quality drum scans or similar.
Don’t get hung up on the complications of processing through RAW - if you don’t understand the principles - keep it simple.
Don’t allow your monitor to persuade you to over-adjust in Photoshop/Lightroom etc.
Try printing a first-off test print full size without any Photoshop adjustments - then apply tiny changes as you wish based on your last print, NOT what you see on your monitor.
When you get used to this method, you will be able to use smaller and fewer test prints.
Once you really feel in control of your black & white printing - enjoy yourself.