How to Use Film Developing Supplies Efficiently

While processing prints, everyone invents their own routines when it comes to the process of using film developing supplies. The steps are similar, but ultimately we bring custom, flair and ritual when it comes to something we do without even thinking about it. Most professionals process their own prints, and this is something that almost anyone can do with the proper preparation. Some of the following tips are concerned with equipment usage, timing, reusing supplies, grouping projects and most of all, having fun.

Equipment Usage

Do take your time when selecting your equipment. Higher priced items are something that you're going to want to use over and over again. Doing some research can make these expensive purchases a little more easier, and after you've been paid a few times for your work, this type of equipment will pay for itself. Items as enlargers and paper cutters will always last for awhile. You can even take most blades off of a paper cutter, with care, to have them resharpened (and possibly save yourself some money).

Having multiple trays with bubbled or a raised bottom is nice to have for when you reach in to grab your prints. Remember to have as many tongs as you have trays, and never use the same tong for different trays, as mixing the chemicals can not only be dangerous in some cases, but destructive to the chemicals themselves. Read the labels before you mix and use chemicals, and also make sure you're in a well ventilated place.


In your darkroom, you should consider having about three different timers. You can use a watch and other timers that are hanging around, to help you measure how long something has been siting in a particular bath before it needs to be removed or hung up. This is the part that allows for some play. Allowing something to develop longer can bring out stronger color or sharper images. This is where patience and practice can go a long way, to bring out every and each aspect of your photo.

Reusing Supplies

Taking care of your equipment will ensure your investment. Proper cleaning and storage of supplies is crucial if you expect your equipment to last. Labeling what tubs you use for what baths will help reduce cross contamination and maintain the effectiveness of your chemicals.

Grouping Project

Many photographers don't always keep projects on the same roll of film. This happens, and its quiet a common problem. Proper cropping and storage of negatives will help when you want to create different projects for every occasion. You can have a filing cabinet in your darkroom specifically for negatives and contact sheets, properly cataloged, so you can reference them. Developing your own system can save you some headaches later on.

Proper planning and care should be taken when creating your own routine for developing prints. Doing research online can help you develop the best way for you to group projects and reuse your supplies efficiently.

Popular Tripods: