Darkroom Beginner Workshop

Take Beginner Darkroom in a one day workshop instead of three evening classes!
Available only as a class series or a full day workshop. Purchase under BDR Series.

This one day covers everything taught in the three day series.

Part One: An overview of the darkroom setup and minimum tools and materials needed to develop film and make prints.

  • Discussion of the structure and make-up of photographic film, paper and chemistry
  • Safe handling, mixing, and storage of photographic chemicals
  • Minimum tools for processing film including “nice to have” gear
  • The “reel” issue: steel vs. plastic
  • Steps required to process film including temperature control, timing and washing
  • How to process film with no darkroom at all
  • Steps and equipment needed for printing
  • Darkroom design: permanent vs. temporary
  • The enlarger: different types, how they work and choice of lenses
  • Timers and safelights (what’s with the red light?)
  • Where to buy equipment and supplies

Part Two: A step-by-step demonstration of film processing; and participants developing their own rolls of film.

  • A review of film developing steps and tools
  • Demonstration and group practice of loading film
  • Then it’s your turn to load your film onto a reel and put it into a daylight processing tank
  • Review of temperature and time calculations for different film/developer combinations
  • Mix chemicals for use
  • Each person will process their own film
  • Inspect and dry film
  • Discussion and follow up questions

Part Three: You’ll make a contact print of your negatives and select a frame for a full size print.  Hands-on printing by participants!

  • Review of printing equipment and processing steps
  • Preparing your negatives for contact printing
  • Mix and prep paper processing line
  • Run a test strip to determine exposure
  • Print and process a contact sheet of your roll of film
  • Demonstration of projection printing
  • Your turn to choose an image and make an 8×10 print
  • Run a test strip to choose best exposure
  • Expose and process your print
  • Group review and critique of prints

  • Minimum of 6 people, max 10 people
  • $250/275 for class series
  • $265/290 for full day workshop (lunch included)
  • Registration price includes $20 material fee:
    – Film and print processing chemistry
    – Archival storage sleeve for processed film
    – 10 sheets of Ilford RC printer paper in a lightproof envelope

Q: Will we learn how to use film cameras?
A: No, we won’t be covering basic camera operation or shooting concepts.

Q: I’m under 18. Can I take the classes or workshop?
A: Yes, but only if an adult registers to take the classes with you.

David Brown

David has 40+ years of experience in the darkroom doing both monochrome and color film processing and printing. He’s been a wedding and commercial photographer and has worked as a full-time darkroom technician.

He taught high school briefly after college before being employed by a security surveillance company that used 35mm film. David maintained over a hundred cameras, designed an in-house darkroom for the company, and processed, printed and archived tens of thousands of feet of film. Now retired from his “day job” as an analyst for the Department of the Treasury, he maintains a working darkroom for personal work. While using state of the art digital for color, all black and white work is done with film and silver gelatin printing.

View full bio