b/w prints from color negs

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My fiance and I are seriously considering having some black and white photos taken of us at our wedding. I've found that most of the photographers in our area (Twin Cities, MN) say "Oh yeah, we can do b/w, we'll just print b/w from the color film." While I know this is possible, and they claim that you can "hardly tell the difference" between this process and using true b/w film, I'm still concerned about the quality of the prints both in content and in actual physical quality.

Do you think that you can make a good b/w photo if it wasn't intended to be b/w in the first place? For a wedding, would you prefer to shoot true b/w or would the quality of b/w prints *and englargements* from color negs be of acceptable quality?

Your opinions and recommendations are appreciated! And if you know anyone who does b/w photography in the Twin Cities, I'd like to hear from you.

Gretchen Toth

-- Anonymous, March 21, 1997


B/W prints from colour negs


1. I highly recommend B/W wedding prints (in addition to colour). In years to come you will look upon the B/W's more fondly than colour. B/W's capture the moment and the atmosphere. They are excellent.

2. Hopefully one gets married once and whilst weddings are expensive the bride & groom actually don't remember very much of the actual day. As time passes the events of the day fade. Not so the photos. Therefore it is one expense that should never be compromised.

3. Conclusion - Have B/W photos taken and ONLY with B/W film. There is a dramatic difference in quality between B/W Prints from B/W film and B/W prints from colour film.

Anyone disagree?

Simon Benjamin

-- Anonymous, March 22, 1997

As a lifelong advocate of archival photography, I strongly suggest that you do NOT have color negatives made for black and white purposes. The negs may last 30 years or so under ideal conditions and then they are gone forever. You can't bring them back. On the other hand, black and white negs, properly processed to archival standards will last 300-400 years. Even badly processed B&W should go for 75-100 years. Same goes for printing. Color is more stable than it used to be, but it still may be good for 40-50 years only. B&X, printed on FIBER based paper should last l00 years or more. How many color prints have you seen of weddings that were taken in the l950s and 60s that are all faded out? How many black and whites taken 150 years ago are still around? Enough said!

-- Anonymous, March 23, 1997

Having seen the responses above I have the following to offer as a serious amateur. I had occasion to photograph a wedding a couple of years ago where the bride wanted both colour and B&W prints. I shot on Kodak Vericolor film (VPSIII) and had the film commercially processed and printed to produce colour prints. There was one image in particular that the Bride wanted enlarged to 12x16" B&W and framed. Printing from a VPSIII negative onto Agfa Premium multi contrast paper to 12x16 size the image was stunning. It had a luminosity which I've rarely seen. When mounted and framed it looked even better. It was a knockout with the Bride. As for archival issues, unless special reasons are required for keeping the negatives for several hundred years that would be a low priority in my opinion, though I agree that B&W materials keep better than colour. The point I would make, however, is that B&W prints can be processed to be archivally permanent but they must also be handled more carefully than would be the case with snapshots. I hope this helps. Regards.

-- Anonymous, May 24, 1997

B & W from color negs

There is a new paper developed by Oriental. It is far superior to Kodak's Ektamax. It produces an excellent image and performs well in low contrast. It also does not degrade as Kodak. The only problem is that not many places carry this product in the U.S. yet. It is a big success in Japan, and they are just beginning to market it here in the U.S.

-- Anonymous, July 15, 1997

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