Taking photos can be the funniest part of photography. However, when we know the developers and the copied’ world, we discover they are creative instances as those of capturing images. The way we developing photos and copy our photographs, impacts and modifies the final result of each image. It’s like taking it again!

To develop our 35mm black and white photos, we’ll need the following materials:

  • Developer tank
  • Thermometer
  • Stopwatch
  • Two clean containers
  • Scissors
  • Chemical products

There are two types of developer tanks: those of aluminium or those of plastic, to develop a single roll or two at the same time.

The aluminum tank can be more difficult to use, since hooking the film is a little more complicated, but in compensation, it is a material which is not altered by chemicals, while the one of plastic,  can be affected over time. We recommend you the aluminum tank but, beginners can use one of plastic.

The thermometer may be a laboratory-specific’, or any other that can accurately measure the temperature from 16o C. Chemical effects can vary dramatically as its temperature changes.

How To Developing Photos

At Home.

Before starting with, it is important to be sure you have all the materials needed so that it does not suffer any delays during the development process.

  • Place The Film In The Developer Tank.

The first step is placing the film in the spiral of our tank. This is done in an absolutely dark place-the tiniest light beam can ruin the negative. It is important not touching the emulsion and hold the film by its sides while we threading it around the spiral.

Once this step is finished, we sink the spiral inside the tank and we closed it tightly.

Now we can turn on the light.

Developer tanks are also called “light traps”, as they have a hole through which we can introduce the chemicals thus preventing even a single light beam from entering.

  • The Chemicals

The developing process consists of four steps: developing, stopping, fixative and washing. Each chemical fulfills a different function, which varies according to the temperature of the product and the time it is in contact with the emulsion.

When buying a black and white roll, it is important not to throw the box in which it comes, since inside it tell us about the recommended times for each brand.

Chemicals are prepared by diluting them in water. The product and water proportions are indicated by the manufacturer.

Once we have the chemicals at the indicated temperature we begin to pour them into the tank.

First Step: Developer Chemist

First, we will immerse the film in the developer chemical. This product will be the one making the image appear in our film.

The longer we have the film submerged in the developer the stronger the development. That is, the black parts will turn darker and the white parts whiter. This decision is a second creative moment. Beyond the shots that we have made because by changing the development time or the temperature, we change our photos appearance.

It is important shaking the tank at small intervals for as long as the developer is in contact with the film, making smooth circular motions. Shaking is important because the developer becoming depleted as it acts on the emulsion. When we shake the tank we are sure the developer is homogeneous and acts equally everywhere.

Next Steps: Chemicals, Stopping Solution And Fixative

Once the development time is over, we pour the liquid into a clean canister and introduce the stop chemical or “stop bath”. As its name implies, its function is to stop the developer action. For this step, we can also use tap water.

We let the stop solution acting for 1 minute 1/2, also shaking it gently and removing it by pouring it into another clean canister.

Then we place the negative into the fixer for 6 minutes. It is important to gently pour all the products and make sure the tank is full.

After 6 minutes into the fixer solution, the tank cover can be opened because the fixed film is no longer sensitive to light. Remove the fixer and wash the film with plenty of tap water.

We can already look at our negative.

We remove it from the tank spiral and with a clamp we hung it in a dry place and free of dust. Once dry, we cut it into strips and store it on a negative’s holder.

Already with our “treasure” in our hands, we can go to the photographic laboratory to delighting with it, and for continuing with the creative process in the copies.

Laboratory Or Darkroom For Developing Photos And Copied

At the laboratory we will turn the images of our negative to paper, to obtain our photographs. It must be a place with the following characteristics: electrical installation – to plug the amplifier. Tap water- o wash our photos. And the possibility to darken it absolutely-to avoid ruining the photosensitive paper.

We will work in the darkroom with a faint red light to prevent light to ruin our photosensitive material, specially designed for this purpose.

The process of copying, like the development one, has two instances: one optic-we will use a machine called an enlarger to project the image on paper. And another, chemistry; we will make the paper passing through different chemicals for the image to appear.

Copied To Photo Paper

The first step is to introduce our negative into the enlarger, working like a projector, but instead of projecting the image onto a wall, we will project it to photographic paper, which as the negative, it is sensitive to light.

With the light off, we will expose the paper for a certain time depending on the type of image that we are copying.

Once this is done, our paper will still look white, but its photosensitive material will have the image printed.

Now we will sink the paper in a tray with the developer – it will make the image appear. Then, the stop solution will block the developer action. And then by the fixative – it will fix the image to the paper -.

After the image is fixed, we can turn on the light to confirm if the exposure is to our liking. If it is not, do not get frustrated, or become nervous like the man the previous photograph. You should repeat the whole process with a new virgin paper, varying the exposure time in the enlarger and that’s it.

Once the image is achieved it is important to wash it with abundant tap water and hang it to dry.

We encourage you to try this experience. It has lots of magic and you will not regret it!

Finally, it is worth mentioning the amount of videos that are on YouTube on this subject, you just have to choose the one that you like the most and that meets your needs.


You may also be interested in:

“Pinhole Photography: What It Is And How You Can Do It” 

“How To Create Your Pinhole Camera At Home”

“How to Develop Your Pinhole Photographs By Yourself” 

 “Analog Photography: A Classic You Must Try”

“Specific Features Of Analog Photography”