Is film developing your passion? Or, is it a hobby you have just picked up? Whatever the reason, if you want to develop films, you need a darkroom.
Despite the massive advancement in the field of digital photography, traditional photography is still very much in the picture. Although most people rely on photo studios to develop their films, picture enthusiasts all around the world still love to develop their own films. It is definitely more cost-effective and satisfying to develop your own films.
To develop your own films, you need a room which is dark. Setting up your own darkroom is not difficult. All you need is a bit of space and the right equipment.
Why Do Photographers Need a Darkroom?
Photographers develop photos from camera films. These films are super sensitive to light. For this reason, photographers need a completely dark room to develop these films. Once the room is totally dark, the photographer uses red light to develop the films, making sure that the films do not become overexposed and get ruined.
How to Set up a Dark Room
The first step to creating a dark room is selecting a room. As the idea is to let no light in, it is useful to select a room with no or tiny windows. It can be any room that can be made light-tight, like a basement room, a spare bedroom, or bathroom.
As you will need a lot of water to do your work, it will be useful to have a water source nearby. It is probably why people often choose to use a bathroom to convert into a darkroom.
How to Test if the Room is Dark Enough?
Making a room pitch dark can be a bit tricky. Even when we close the doors and windows, some light still manages to seep in. For a dark room, you need it to be dark to the point where you lose visibility.
There is an easy way to find out if the room is dark enough for photography. Leave a white printing paper on the table and try finding it after being 30 minutes in the dark. If you cannot see it, then the light control is good. This is because, for the first few minutes after you make the room dark, the room appears to pitch dark. But after 30 minutes or so, your eyes adjust to the darkness and can pick up things that were invisible before.
However, if you can still see the paper, then you need to seal off the room better.
There are many ways of blocking the lights. Many simple solutions include putting cardboard on the gap and sealing off the door borders with towels. However, these are aesthetic nightmares, especially if you wish to use the room for other purposes. Not to mention, these solutions are neither permanent nor reliable.
If you are looking for permanent and easy ways to blocking off light, go for track curtains.
5 Tips for Using Curtain Tracks
Track curtains can be very useful in getting that pitch-dark effect. Let’s look at some of the benefits of track curtains and how you can use them for your darkroom.
Curtain tracks allow you to hang more than one fabric on the rails. So, you can pair your curtains with blackout fabrics with sheer fabrics or semi-transparent fabric. This is very useful if your darkroom is also used for other purposes like for a bathroom or study. You can use the normal curtain for general use and pull out the blackout curtain for total darkness. Blackout curtains are made of threads thickly woven together with the aim of blocking off the light completely.
Curtain tracks can be installed anywhere. These tracks are highly adaptive, bending to accommodate any curvature or indentation. Using a professional bending machine, these tracks can be made to fit into any bend or curve. So, if you are worried about a particularly tricky area of the room that is spilling in light, try these curtains.
Make a Partition
If you plan on splitting your room into a wet and dry side, use curtain tracks to create a partition. Mount the tracks on the ceiling and divide the room according to your convenience. Don’t forget to use blackout fabric, as that will drown out the light completely. Once you are done, you can just slide the curtains to one side to get the whole room back.
As you can mount these curtains on the ceiling, they provide greater coverage. They can also go over tricky bends. So, if you wish to block light from an odd-shaped opening, track curtains are the thing for you.
Ease of Use
The tracks make these curtains super-easy to use. The gliders placed within the drapery tracking system make it very easy to open and close the curtains, irrespective of their weight.
In your zeal to cut off the light, don’t forget to keep the room well-ventilated. The biggest drawback of cutting off light comes in the form of a stuffy and warm room. Try to install air-conditioners or air-vents. Event exhaust fans are a good idea. After all, you need your work environment to be relaxed and fresh, where you can comfortably spend a number of hours doing what you love.