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How To Create A Dark Photo Room At Home

How To Create A Dark Photo Room At Home

Recently, photography has made a great comeback as a popular hobby. Despite continuously advancing technology, photographers are opting for shooting and developing their own photos for all from landscape to portraits. While it might appear daunting to Do-It-Yourself, creating your own photo room to create your photo film isn’t as difficult as it sounds as long as you have room for it.

What Is A Photo Room?

Certain special procedures are required for taking an analog picture from film to print. And, because even the tiniest bit of light can mess up the entire thing, this process often takes place in a pitch-dark place called a photo room. Since the processing of color film can be more challenging, photo rooms are reserved mostly for black-and-white photos. Some of the things that occur in a photo room are developing film negatives, projecting these film negatives on a special photographic paper, processing this paper with a number of chemicals, and then rinsing and hanging up the prints for drying.

Where Can A Photo Room Be Set?

From bathrooms and garages to laundry and large cupboards, photo rooms can be created in the smallest spaces. However, there are certain things a photo room will require beginning with the ability to turn light-tight. A space having no windows is perfect for keeping annoying light from entering and fogging or overexposing your photos. But, there is always a provision for hanging blackout curtains or covering the windows using dark cardboard and tape. Also, rugs are good for concealing light leaks beneath doors. Simply switch off all the lights and allow your eyes to adjust for checking whether your light-proofing is successful.

You will also require access to power for few types of equipment. And, ventilation is also extremely crucial for protecting you from chemical fumes. Running water should be handy, however, it isn’t important. Though most photo rooms, makeshift or not, feature two different areas: a wet section for handling processing materials, water, and chemicals, and a dry section for paper, film, and other types of equipment. If you have limited space, then simply focus on separating dry and wet as much as possible. Set up of wet section on the floor or partitioning your work surface will do the trick.

How To Create A Dark Photo Room At Your House?

Here is a step-by-step for making your own darkroom:

  • Choose Your Space: Firstly, you should select a space with outlets for your photo room. This space can be any room that can be made light-tight, be it an extra bedroom, basement, or spacious closet. A room that doesn’t have any windows is more preferable. However, if you select a room that has windows, then you will have to black it out with blackout sheeting or blackout curtains for covering them tightly so that the photo room is pitch dark. Once you have finished doing this, then you will be able to confirm that your photo room is light-tight by switching off all the lights and allowing your eyes to adjust. And then, you can identify even the smallest crack of light.
  • Partition The Room: You need to choose a wet area and a dry area of your photo room as this smoothens the developing process. The dry area must be the area featuring the outlets. However, the wet area is an area that is preferably close to a water source. Both areas feature distinct key components for processing your photos.
  • Buy The Correct Equipment: Firstly, you will require a table for wet as well as dry areas. For the dry area, you will require:
    • film tank and reels
    • easel
    • safelight
    • grain magnifier
    • timer

For the wet area, you will require:

  • four trays
  • a funnel
  • film clips
  • four pairs of tongs
  • required chemicals
  • graduated cylinder
  • Arrange Your Equipment: You must set up your equipment for the process to flow smoothly, implying items have to be kept where they are accessible easily and let you perform your next step coherently. You will have to arrange the dry area close to an outlet for using your safelight in order to spotlight what you are doing without disturbing the developing process. The wet side must feature an area where pictures can be hung for drying.
  • Set Up The chemicals: You should lay out four trays that can hold four different chemical substances. The first tray is the developer, the second tray is the fixer, the third tray is the stopper bath, and the fourth tray is a washer that is filled with water for rinsing the prints. Fixer and developer chemical solutions can be bought at any photography specialty store. For the stopper bath substance, either pickling vinegar, a specialized premixed stop bath solution, or acetic acid can be used. After laying these trays, you must label them correctly and assign a couple of tongs to each tray and these tongs shouldn’t be mixed.

In A Nutshell Planning to ditch high-end digital cameras in favor of the old-school film? Then you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on processing your pictures in a commercial lab. This is because a relatively no-fuss photo room can be built from the comfort of your house. Whether it is a permanent one or creating for one or two days of printing, there is something quite exciting about seeing your clicks come to life. The guide above teaches you how to build a functional Do-It-Yourself photo room of your own.

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