How to Use Darkroom Photography Equipment

Darkroom photography equipment is comprised of all the equipment and tools that is necessary to produce wonderful pictures. Here is a quick guide that will show you how to properly use all of your darkroom equipment.

Step 1 - Learn Your Film Processing Tank

Almost all roll film is developed using a daylight tank, called your film processing tank. Pull out your film (35 mm or other size) and load it onto the reel of your tank. In order to properly load your film onto the reel tank, wind it in a spiral like fashion over the reel. This will insure the surfaces of your film do not touch one another. This will also make sure that your film will come into contact with a good amount of the chemicals that help to process your photographs.

This step must be done in your dark room, in complete darkness. Take the loaded reel and place it inside the tank. Add the cap to the top of your film processing tank.

If you are using a stainless steel processing tank, you are lucky. Do not be afraid to be rough and tough with your tank. They are generally the most durable of tanks. You can drop them on the floor and it will withstand and bounce. Although it will not break, it may actually dent. Plastic tanks, however, do crack and chip with use. Last, steel tanks conduct the heat very well, which is perfect when you begin to control the temperature of your chemicals during the photo processing phase.

Step 2 - How to Use the Jugs and Chemicals


Your darkroom chemically will be tightly packaged. You have either purchased a powder or a concentrated liquid. Either form works just as well. Powders, on one hand are less expensive and bulky but when in use, you run the risk of exposing yourself to airborn particles of the powder.

Take the chemicals carefully out of the package and put on a mask and a pair of gloves. Take each of the chemicals and mix them according to their directions. Do this in a very well ventilated area to prevent your exposure to the chemicals.

After you have taken out the amount of chemical you need and after you have mixed it according to the directions, put them away in your storage location. Store each of the chemicals in bottles when not in use. Use bottles that will keep a very tight seal. Use small bottles to avoid large gaps in air between the chemicals and the bottle's neck. Small pint size bottles generally work best.

Step 3 - Use Your Enlarger

Last, after you have developed your prints, you may wish to use your enlarger to enlarge the prints you have already created. Pick the lens that is right for the job and attach it to the enlarger. Adjust the lens to the focus you desire and process your print.

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