Making a Better Print

 

Robert Mapplethorpe, Two Men Dancing, 1984.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troubleshooting

 

Underexposed negative
Too dark - use smaller aperture (higher f-number) or decrease exposure time
 
Overexposed negative
Too light - use wider aperture (lower f-number) or increase exposure time
 
Underdeveloped print
Too dark - decrease development time > 90 sec
 
Overdeveloped print
Too light - increase development time < 90 sec
Over and Under Exposure and Developing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under exposed
correctly exposed
over exposed
 
If your negatives:
are black or very opaque, no image is visible
film was exposed to light before developing
   
are pretty dark, but an image is visible
film was overexposed and / or overdeveloped
   
are pretty thin, but an image is visible
film was underexposed and / or underdeveloped
   
are completely clear
film did not move through the camera
   
have blue or pink splotches
incorrect loading of film on reel
   
are unevenly developed
overdeveloped or didn't fill the canister with enough developer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

low contrast
correct contrast
high contrast
 
If your print:
 
is light gray or mostly white
needs longer exposure time
   
is mostly black with dark grays
needs shorter exposure time
   
is light gray overall with no clean whites or dark blacks, looks flat
needs stronger contrast, use #3 to #5 filters
   
is mostly black with washed out whites and no middle grays
needs less contrast, use #1.5 to #0 filters
   
has middle grays, velvety blacks, and clean whites
exposure time and contrast are correct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* ALWAYS print with filter #2
* when jumping to filter above #2.5, you will need to conduct an exposure test
 
Dirk Cloninger, 2016
raw, no filter
with #2 filter