Tag Archives: darkroom

The Mystery of P.I.Y. (Printing It Yourself)

I have just purchased and successfully setup a printer for producing quality photographs.  To be honest I have been postponing this day simply due to my frustrating experience with I.T.  I began life with photography in the darkroom; so I am comfortable with the wet developing process but software and hardware compatibility leaves me cold through a working life of bitter experiences!  The prospect of having to struggle with printers, software and computers has not been a happy one for me in the past.  However, I have bitten the bullet and within a day I was successfully printing photos to send to my Tutor for assessment.

The tipping point in the decision to take the plunge was as a result of unsuccessfully getting my assignment two photos printed satisfactorily from a third-party.  On checking with my Tutor he was insistent that my prints should be consistent and of high quality.  I consulted my student forum for advice and one of my fellow students recommended the Canon PI7250 which is available for around £50.  At first I was annoyed with my Tutor; but on reflection realized he was right and I was being silly.  So I purchased a printer from Amazon on next working day delivery and had it running by late evening on the same day of delivery.  I am using a colour Spyder4 to calibrate my screen and I downloaded an up to date printer driver in order to be able to create a reliable printer profile for Lightroom and Photoshop.

I have set Photoshop and Lightroom for 300PPI and made sure the printer is set to high quality on slow output setting.

Working in Black & White

Working in Black and White

Working in Black & White, by David Prakel, Basics Photography, Published by AVA.

I have just read this book on black-and-white photography which covers both for film and digital with advice on developing and darkroom techniques for those unfamiliar with it and for digital post-production editing with Lightroom and Photoshop.  The book covers all aspects, including going about thinking about tones rather than colour; but explain a bit of colour theory to help with understanding the mental and physical grey-scale conversion.  If using film cameras there is also an explanation of filters for both cameras and darkroom enlargers, how and why they are used and how digital software that mimics filters that can be used and again why.  This book also looks at returning or adding colour to black and white prints either digitally or manually for various artistic effects.  This book offers allsorts of fresh ideas that can be brought to your work.

I began photography with a Pentax K1000 SLR working with Ilford Black and White film that I used to develop and print myself.  I would recommend any modern photographer who has only experience with digital cameras to have a go converting some images to black-and-white and playing with the effects.

The main reason I chose to read this book now is because I am going on a couple of courses at the Nikon school in London doing Film-Noir style black and white portrait photography.

Langford’s Basic Photography, 10th Edition.

Langfords_Basic_photography

I first read this book when I was a teenager studying photography for an O-level.  I have been reading through it again and although much in the book I already know, it does no harm to re-cap on previously learned knowledge to both freshen up my memory and  discover additional information that that I previously didn’t take in at the time.  This edition was published in 2015 and refers to new features in Photoshop, Photoshop Cloud and Lightroom.

More importantly for me, this new edition has two very good chapters for digital workflow and Photoshop which I found very useful and helpful and good referral material for the future.  One very valuable piece of advice was to set up the colour spacing in Adobe RAW and Lightroom; so that all future photos that are imported are correctly set for the appropriate colour spacing for print and can then be later down graded for screen use if necessary.  This insures that valuable information on the original RAW file is not automatically thrown away before you even get started and can future proof your images.  Although the chapter on Photoshop is not a training manual in itself, it covers enough to get you started.

This book also covers working with and developing film and I may refer back to those chapters at a later date.  I still have much of my old darkroom equipment although I haven’t used it in over 30 years.

There is also a very useful chapter at the back on presentation of your final work, which I am sure will be valuable referral resource later in my degree course when I am required to produce work for assessment to exhibition standard.

No matter how experienced you think you are, I would always recommend that you have this book on your book-shelf anyway.