Darkroom Photography Equipment: Fixer

In terms of darkroom photography equipment, the photographic fixer is used during the last step in the developing process. Follow this guide to learn the appropriate ways to use the fixer in your darkroom.

Step 1 - Purchase Fixer

If you are a novice or just getting into the realm of photo developing using your darkroom, purchase an old fixer. Stay away from what is known as a rapid fixer or non-hardening fixer.

Step 2 - Set Up Bath Process

As you set up and develop your photos, you will need to decide between using a one bath or a two bath process. If you are a beginner, start with a one bath process. As you progress with your techniques, you can begin to try and use a two bath process. A two bath process requires a few more steps and a little more skill and care.

Step 3 - Test Your Fixer

Tto save some money and make sure things are working before you finish your developing process, use a fix tester solution. Using a small bottle, drop in a few drops of the fixer solution. Watch what happens. If a precipitate forms, your fixer is not working appropriately and must be tossed. This saves you aggravation later on when you find out your fixer did not get the developing process completed.

Step 4 - Apply the fixer to the Print

After you have gone through all the other steps in your development of your photographs, apply the fixer to your photographic paper. The fixer will help to fix the photograph to the paper. Be aware that the fixer will remain and stick to your paper during this process. In the next couple steps, you will learn how to remove this chemical agent from your developed photograph.

Step 5 - Use a Hypo Clearing Agent

During step 4, your fixer will adhere to the photograph. In order to wipe the fixer off, you can use what is called a hypo clearing agent. This agent will help to remove the fixer from the paper. It also reduces the amount of time spent on washing the photograph free from the fixer agent.

Step 6 - Use a Wetting Agent

This agent will help to reduce water spots from the fixing and washing process of your developing photographs. The wetting agent will help to reduce the friction and adherance of the fixing agent to the paper. It will make it easier for you to ultimately remove the fixing agent and it will help to reduce any left over water spots that may remain on your paper after the washing and drying process is fully completed.

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