Analog Photography: How to Develop Black & White Film | Andre D. Wagner | Skillshare

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Analog Photography: How to Develop Black & White Film

teacher avatar Andre D. Wagner, Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Materials Needed


    • 3.

      Mixing Chemicals


    • 4.

      35mm Film


    • 5.

      120mm Film


    • 6.

      Develop, Stop, Fix, & Wash Film


    • 7.



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About This Class

In this class Andre D. Wagner will take you step by step in the process of developing your own black and white film. Wagner discusses the materials needed to complete the process and hopes you will share your outcome with a class project. Students will learn how to mix chemicals, agitate, wash, fix, and dry film. This is an intermediate level based course due to the fact that students will have to shoot a roll of 35mm or 120mm film prior to completing the class project. If you’re a photographer that drops your black and white film off at a lab to be processed, or just curious about the film developing process and have been thinking about giving it a shot, this class is for you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Andre D. Wagner



Andre D. Wagner (b. 1986) is an American artist and photographer born in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a 2010 graduate of Buena Vista University with a BA in Social Work, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Wagner's photography explores the poetic and lyrical nuances of daily life; using city streets, people, public transportation, and the youth of the twenty-first century as his visual language. His work is rooted in his life experiences, as he believes that's the foundation to the minds eye. More than a documentary statement, his photographs are aimed at creative expression. Wagner remains committed to film, developing black and white negatives and making his own prints in his darkroom.

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1. Introduction : high school share them is 100 Wagner. I'm a New York City day speak photographer and the class I'm teaching today a lot to talk to. People often ask me, You know why I still feel it's 2016 Digital A. So make images time defeated. I was impacted by it was all done black away. And I was like I would be able to make images that can impact the person that was impacted offers stuff. No, These different tools will make it the problem with photography. Easier on a problem. I mean, making compelling and going out into the world responding to and consistently being able to make strong images. You know, whatever sleep you used, none of that is just gonna do great work for you. You still have to go out, dedicate yourself time in our working walking. I've been developing feel seriously on my own since 2000 and 13 since then, I definitely made a lot of mistakes. But I also learned, and that's the reason why I'm teaching a class C days just to give you an overview of clients. First thing we'll do is go over all the materials that you need a second thing I go over is how to make sure those third thing I do before step is going to be actually developing film and learning and different times. And then the 15 is going to be sharing images with class. I really encourage you to show you images with us, especially if you have questions are just thoughts and concerns. I can give you more specific feedback if I can see images that you know what the outcome is like. This is an intermediate level grace course, only because you will have to go out on your own extreme. A roll of 35 millimeter field where media, For once you have done that, I will take you step by step to developing Phil and I look forward to seeing in the next part of class. 2. Materials Needed: so the first thing I want to do is go over on the tools that you need to complete the class . You need a light, tight room or you need to purchase a changing bag, so light type rooms weren't great. A lot of people use bathrooms or they'll use a closet, a way of checking out the room. Make sure that it's like tight is going to the room. Turn off the lights and close the doors and let your eyes adjust to the darkness and just look around the room and see if you can view any light leaks anywhere. A lot of times light will come through the bottom of the door, which is common so you could put a towel down. Sometimes corners and light comes out of like door knobs, and you could just cover it with Gaff tape or something like that. So you want to check a room and see if you have any light leaks and see if it's like tight bathrooms are also great because you usually have a sink or you have some type of surface, and you really need this cause that's what you need to put your Rios or developing tank and all of that. So you need a surface in July type room. So if you're using the closet, maybe you could bring in a small of the table that you can put all your materials. If you're not going to use the room, you can by changing back. So they make changing bags small sizes. They also make them intense, which I have here. This is this is calling a changing room 10 and in those great, it just opens up in front. It's double layer. I can put my arms in here, and as you can see, I still have plenty of space for all my materials to be inside of here. Another thing that you need is you need a bottle opener. This is a no specific canister bottle opener, but any bottle opener that you have work, you'll need a pair of scissors. I used Kodak D 76 developer. It's a powder developer. You can get it at most camera shops. You have to mix it a cigarette developer. I really like it. The next thing you'll need is a Ilford stop death and for stop bath Does is what you've developed your film, your poor stop that they're mixed with water and it stops to developing process. So some people just use water, and that works fine. I prefer to use a different stop back, because I know that it does help stop the developing process, and by using the stop bath, you'll be able to get more consistent results. The next thing you'll need is a little for rapid fixing her. And what the rapid fixing does is it makes the film so it's not like sensitive anymore, and it makes the tomb. So it's archival, so it lasts for a very long time. Oh, so I get a bottle open. Rapper fix here I have ah one leader Measure Beaker. You're here so you'd be able to measure out water and chemicals that you need to use for the process. I have this Hiko Permal Wash, which is a great AIDS in Washington film. It helps lift our kindliness of the film last thing, and it helps we move on a fix it out of the film. So I highly recommend using personal US process. You'll need a film development. Take. This is a Paterson developing tank. Again, they saw this in most local close ups. And besides, take has this piece is you can take off here and then, uh, for this this is a three reel take. So I have three that I can use to develop a time. And then in the middle you have this black thing, which is school. So the next day, initial need is you need 31 gallon jugs. I'm here. I'm just using a bit of a bottle on. I just label it fell. Developer label one for fixing her, and I'll label another one for the perm allies. You can buy a gallon jugs at the local camera shop or you could just go ahead, man made bottle, I think just like the dollar, maybe $3 bottle of juice. And I just poured it out and use the bottle. Another thing that you need to use Sometimes everybody doesn't use it, but I personally use it, which is a Kodak photo flow. And what this is going to do is going to aid. And after we finished developing the film, we want Teoh film right in front of dry without any streaks of flowing water streaks and the photo flow is, ah, soapy solution that helps the water not leave any streaks on the film, which drive, you'll need a thermometer. And last thing is, I have this hypo check, which this is the brand is by a wall. But this There's plenty of different hypo checks out there, and pretty much what this is going to do is you can drop a couple of jobs of this. And so you're fixing. And this pretty much tells you if your fixer is exhausted or not. And if you drop it into the fixing, this is clear. That means your fixer is still good to use if you do a couple of jobs and fix it. And it turned out it was like yellow is kind of color. That means you're fixing eggs exhausted and you no longer can use it, and you need to replace it with a brand new fix it. So this is really important part of the process. Just being able to check your fix it and make sure you're not using exhausted fixing because fix is going to determine how long your feel can last so in us, and it makes the film so It's not like sensitive anymore. So if you use fix it as really weak or this exhausted your film will and fading over time so you never want to use film that's fix. It s exhausted, so I'll always advised to use hypothetic. Home is part of the process. 3. Mixing Chemicals: Okay, so now we're in my kitchen. I'm gonna go over how to mix all the chemicals. First, we'll mix the D 76 which is our developers. Well, makes the rapid fixer, which is our fixing. We will miss mix the firm wash. So for the G 76 will just follow directions on the package. This is we need three liters of hot water between 120 to 231 degrees Fahrenheit. And then I add the power solution into the hot water and his job, mix it up and let that completely dissolve and then add room temperature water, make a gallon of our stock solution of fixing. So people use D 76 in various different ways. It could be a stock solution, which is the full strength of how I'm gonna mix it somehow. Sometimes people like to dilute it and so diluted 11 or 12 which means you're just weakening the solution. And you can use more of more solution over more rolls of film. But what I like to do is I just like to use it a stock solution. I think you get highest quality of total range the most detailed shadows. So I'm gonna be working with the stock solution of the 76. So what I'm gonna do first is gonna add my three years of hot water water, second leader. And so I have about three liters of water. So take a few 76 I like to cut it. Where is just like a nice little opening right here on the side So I can just pour your street se for probably solution right into We want this part of the solution completely dissolved all the way into three leaders of hot water. And then this makes a complete stock solution of the 76. So we just finished making a film developer, and now we're gonna make our fixer. So right here on the bottom of says, to make five leaders of fixing our mixture is gonna be 1 to 4. So that means it will be one part water for parts chemicals. So if I'm gonna make five leaders fixer, I'm going for 500 millimeters of fixing and then four parts water. So that would be 2000 milliliters. So but for now, so that's Ah, 500 milliliters just go straight into again, sick it up, and that gives us a working solution. Fixes. I have another jug here, which has some fixing that I've already been using. Fixing can be a multiple use, and that's why the Hypo check is so important because you want to be able to check and make sure that should not use a fix it that's exhausted. So I tend to have extra job that I put off fixing that has already been used. So I use this for our way, actually go to develop. Well, I'm just gonna check it now and make sure that is not exhausted, so I'll just do a couple of jobs and it's clear solutions I don't fix it is it? Lost it. So, Like I said, the fixer can be in multiple use. The film developer, though I know people do using multiple times, but I use the phone developer is a one time use. I try to get the maximum amount of total range of sharpness of detail in the highlights and in the dark areas, and I found out that I could only do that if I use it as a one time use. So film developers a one time use the fixing ISS multiple use, but you need heiple check to check it. The next thing we'll do is we'll mix it with the Perma wash to make a working solution of parent wash. It just says right here in the back you are three. Flu announces of Perma wash mix into a gallon jug of what? So that's pretty simple. I was gonna put three fluid houses, so they have a three fluid ounces of thermal wash here, report in some gallery, and then I just add another just Philip gallons of water. And that will make a stock solution of the problem wash. I am a room temperature water, and it wants that completes. Was this completely feel? I have a working solution of personal wash, and that's all the solution that we have to mix for class Elford Mix will put that right into our don't take or developing it. Same is the folklore imported into the phone tank, so we have all of our solutions mixed, so I'll see you next part of the class 4. 35mm Film: So the next part of this class is called spooling. Your film. This is your canister with your film that has already good. I have my bottle opener here and I have buses. So this part of the process, I'm doing it out in the light so you can see what I'm actually doing. But this process actually happens in the dark. So this will be the part of the process that you do in a dark room which, like I talked about earlier, this might be your bathroom, laundry room, a closet or in your changing back. So this happens in complete darkness, and this is lawsuit that you need working table or a countertop. So work on because you have to have your kid your tools out. So in the complete darkness, which we're going to do is you're going to use his bottle opener. You're gonna pop off the top of this film canister here and inside. The film is lives on the spool, which is right in the middle. So once you pop it out, you pull the film out of the canister. And, uh, the first thing you want to do is you have to cut off the leader. And But once you get the film out of here, we'll put the film once of the school and, well, really, the feeling all again and it's gonna go all the way through here. The great thing about the plastic, really is that we have these tabs here to help guide it the film into it and then we have these ball bearings. So once we have filled in and pass the ball bearings, always you have to do is do this back and forth motion. And the film will continue to feed itself all over. Do you really so again, in complete darkness, this is the what you're gonna do. You grab your film, you grab the bottle up in there, you pop it off just like that. So now you're again. This is all in the dark. Film this here, you can just press this and feeling will come up and you want to grab your film just like this. Once you have film, you want to put it in one hand and you want to just kind of sitting here like this. So this leader, this tab sticking up if you want to cut this leader off in the dark. So that's why you want to hold it with your fingers. So it's just like this. Take yourselves is while you're still in the dark, cut this tab and now comes the leader off. So what you do is grab your really and you want to keep this roll of film in your hand and you want to take the tab right here that you just cut off and you want to feed it into the lips. You want to feed it right instead of these little blips on your real and you want to pull it through up and passed the ball bearings that are once you have it in there like that. I like to rest it on my table or in the change of that. And you just want to die Film just like this. And this process is pushing the pushing with him all the way through back For just like this, all you want to keep doing this in tow? The complete roll of film is on your real What she gets it. You'll have this school are here just taped to the film. So attention, citizens again again. This is all in the darkness and and then you just want to continue to do this. So the fellow is completely on the real Once this film is all the or taking still, you put your real your fit yard You're really onto the spool and you put take and you take the cat You close it And lastly And that's how you school a roll of 35 millimeter film. 5. 120mm Film: So now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna show you how to school. Role of 1 20 millimeter. Film your school until you're really so I didn't really shoot this. Well, the film, I just took it off the spool to just really give you an example. So normally this bull would be in on inside which this role was completely shot, but because I didn't have an extra one that put it onto while I took it off. This one, I just haven't wrapped like this. So once you have your shot role of 1 20 millimeters, you have this tape. This kind of just surrounds it and keeps it sealed. Light seal. So, in the complete darkness, this will happen in your dark room in your changing bag. Maybe it's your bathroom with large Abou. The rumors should use in a dark room. Teoh school. All of your once is real. You want Oh, so this this happens in the dark. You want toe? Take the tape off of your off your film here and in this process, 1 20 billion. You actually don't these senses cut a leader out or anything like that? You can just use your hands because all of it is tape. So you just coming using nails it separate to take from the still. Now that you know that your film this kind of loose so additionally once you first do that you have this extra piece of paper which isn't feeling just protecting them from the light . So you're kind of just want to roll this out until you get to your actual Phil once you feel it in the dark. Once you get to that, Phil, that's what you want. You want to hold this and you want to do what you do is you want to Christopher right through these lips on your real I just want to feed it so usually just sitting down to change the bag dark and you'll feed it right into these lips right here up and passed the ball Berries. And once you feel that you got in there, you kind of take it with two hands. And I like to use my pinky to kind of separate. This extra found This is hanging. You just feed the pill to you're really back and forth motion speed in the film. Once she gets it in. You'll see again that those papers take to the film. So they I want to do is pull this paper off the field. And then you also want to separate. The tape is so they pulled the tape off and they just continue. No, I want to. Real and then that's it. This is all done in darkness. And so you don't need scissors over a bottle. You put your wants it really close the cup. Once you put this cap one here, this tank is light tight. The schools are inside and you have this whole. So you comport the chemicals in here, but it's actually like tight. But I always just Captain was still inside. And that's it. That's how you small the role of 20. 6. Develop, Stop, Fix, & Wash Film: All right. So now you made it to the last and final kind of step of the process. So what you're gonna do is you put together all those other steps that you learned mixing chemicals on our heels and split in your film. And now we're gonna actually perform the whole process altogether. So I have my changing bag here. Do is but my taken when I put everything into heater. Or if you're working in the common top space, say it's like your dark room where your bathroom, whatever wouldn't organize everything. So you know where it is. Because remember, this all happens in the dark. So I'm gonna put my take in my tank on the right side, and I want to lay it down because it kind of separates the bag. So then I like to put my spools reels on the left side along with have two rows of found enough shots. So you put those two moles of filling here and then I have my bottle open there. No, I do. Is Curries bag or you turn off your lights and now I'm ready to school. My film convinces developments. Just take arms in this. And now do that process that I just touched, but with all of the dark. So take your time. Do you have to do in here? So what I usually do is pop They can't the lives off the canisters, So I'm just gonna do that both from my films and a bottle up open anymore. So then I took off the first little no, grab my scissors and cut off the leader Grab my my riel gonna lead it into the lips And now one feet feel more real All in the dark are all your So that's complete. Now I'm gonna take this last little school. Cut that off. So now that's no. So now don't do the same thing with the second rule of field. Grab the leader. Grab my really read it. And so the real just real All the film once of and so really feeding a with gets it in a safe cut off school driving school, both rolls of film. I want to school, but it is but the cap one. But the little line, that's it. Now I was gonna take it out, so my film was in here. Most scissors bottom open about those Now. Grab out excess. So have the chemist er's want to save these Now show you Why Mostly finished saying both my canvas shoes. And so that's the school. The leader that I cut off Toss those in cash and in the back side of the canister. All right, so now you spool of Hill will go into the development process. Okay, so now the next thing that we need to do is we need to measure out enough developer for the amount of film that we're development. So he's in the Paterson tank. It's a three reel tank, but have two rolls of film here. So bottom it tells me that for each role of 35 millimeter film, I need 10 ounces of developer. If it was 1 20 feeling, I will leave 17.5 so to out for two rolls of film, 20 ounces of developer. So I'm just gonna take my beaker and got a poor my double brilliant 20 ounces. You might notice that this is a different developer jumped and I had earlier had a round one. But this one actually make this a couple days ago. So The thing is with the D 76 developer with all the chemicals start the whole process. You want to have everything at room temperature, so that's 68 degrees. So the developer that we just makes we have to add the three leaders of hot water, if you remember, and then the powder solution and in the room temperature water. So obviously that film, if I'm just mixed it on the temperatures really high. So I'm a developer a couple days ago, and I know that now that it's a room temperature, if it's a little bit warmer, I can just put it in my freezer, and I could get it down to the 68 degrees. But it's telling me right here it's 68 degrees, which is usually normalised winter time right now in New York. Cooler, my fell or develop chemicals typically are already at room temperature. It was the summer time to be different chemicals to be hotter, so I usually cooling the chemicals down and freezing. So I already know that my developers at room temperature fixes at room temperature. I'll set the water at room temperature, and my personal wash will be a room temperature. So now we're getting into the next phase, which is actually developing the film. But before we go there, I need to explain a couple of things to you. The first thing you got to do is figure out. How long do I develop my film? That's based on a couple different things. It's the baseline, the developer that you use. It's based on the dilution so that a stock solution isn't 11 is they want to visit 123 and then Mr Film and in the film speed. So there's a great website called Digital Truth, and they have, like a listing almost every film that's available in all the different developer business available. So even if you're using different developers and I'm using, you could go into this website you could figure out, You know, you can type in this film that you're using, and you can type in the developer that you use it and it will bring up a chart and it will sell you. So I'm using 400 trying x 35 millimeters film developing it with Kodak D 76 a stock solution. So what, you put that in you go to the charter and it has 400. Try axe and then next to it it had have off the dilution so that its stock one the 112123 And then you have the speed to be 416 136 100. Maybe you pulled it down to 250 sees, and it gives you times that they suggested times that they have for the film that you're shooting. And I say suggested times because although these are great starting points, the thing about film is that you can adjust and you can make it personal to how you like your filming. What, you How do you like it to come out? All right, so we're just about ready to develop the film. I want to just go over one working, which is called agitation. So once I figure out my times what time about my phone for there's a part of the process of going through that time where it's called agitations. So take my I take my developer a poured into my take closed and for the first say, 40 seconds for to develop in time. I want to agitate the film. Agitation is really just getting the film going, moving it around, making sure it's hitting all parts of the film. So poor film and I will agitate for the first minute so agitation could happen in many ways . A lot of people to take, you know, you find your own way and how you want to do with what works for you. Some people agitate. It's tough. Go back for a lot. Some people do it slow. Some people just love stand developing development for alone time, but they won't agitated for me. I found like a nice in between agitation in meditation changes. Ah, a couple different things changes how faster develop your helmsman developed and it also determines the grain of your film. So really rough, strong hesitations. You'll get stronger pronounced grain, slower agitations. Toe means you get final grades. So I kind of like to be a between. So for my film in it for the first minute, I'll do I know that I like to do eight agitations in that first time. So my agitations are usually slow just like this, right in between really aggressive and too slow. So agitated. I do about eight or nine inversions. You know, the last one. Once I'm done, I want to bring it down. I wanna tap the side of the of the canister and that helps all the air bubbles come up. That's inside the Lucas. So tap in Afghanistan and I kind of spin like anybody down. So all the air bubbles comes up and sits and then I'll do agitation again. Every for every minute I'll do another agitation and then I do that for the whole duration of development. All right, so you know everything that it takes to develop your first roll of film. So now I'm just gonna complete the process and develop these two rolls of film and yes, get started. So I got something digital truth website How it has all the times that are listed for the film is sure to developing. They also have an app and you can app is called mass developed. And what you can do is you can go through and you can plug in all the times that she used. So you don't have to, like, write down to remember. You can just kind of put it into the app, and it also has a timer. So you can use that for the development process. So that's what I'm about to use right now. I'm gonna go in. I have a couple of different listings on here, so I know. Developing. Try. Annex has pushed the 1600. I don't know that for 10 minutes and 20 seconds. So I'm gonna do and I'm ready to get started. So start and then I'll start the process Tigers going going for about 20 ounces devote put my cat. And in the first minute, I'm gonna do my versions Agitation first minute. But I think it is love. I did nine agitations, and I know that's kind of like Max that I do from initially started off. So now we're a minute into the development process. How about nine minutes left and now agitate one more time for every minute about the rest of the Okay. First minute is up. I'll do one agitation for every minute throughout the duration of the belt. All right, so now we're in the last minute of the developing process, so I'm gonna agitate one more time. And then when the time's up, I'm gonna party developer out and then I'll do to stop. Stop back. This water was for just a little bit of stuff. And I want that sit for about a minute. Last No, this is the last. So just take a cat Redd's it off a little bit, Remember? You want water room temperature allowed. What time before I deliver. Start my timer for the water. And just a little bit over Stop goes a long way. It's all stop back. We need just a now this up with water. So now I know that about film that stops not worried about air bubbles now, because developments does. So watch this little forward, give one more wise and then the next step is to add fixes. We'll fix the film for five minutes and 30 seconds. Starting time. Remember, this is the fixing use fixes that are now. When we tested it with my hypothesis checks, I'm gonna keep using this fix until it's exhausted. So 60. And I was gonna agitate this for the first minute. We're going to fix the federal for five minutes and 36. Okay, so for the next four minutes, agitate the fixing every minute, just for a couple agitations. So All right, so now our time's up for my fixed back, and now you can take the cap off because it's like our film is developed. Looks good. So on this burst of water through here, remember, soft blue temperature. So make sure the water is at 68 degrees. Have my Perma washing. This I do a perm awash. Is this gonna sit in perm awash with 10 minutes? All right, so we just finished the firm awash, and the final step is to watch the films. I watch the film for about 12 13 minutes again, I'm going to use the room temperature water for all right. So we successfully developed what I'm gonna do now Kodak flow flow. This will put about a cat, and then we're gonna let that still and then, Oh, this is the soapy substance that the spirits on top of not and I'll sit. Tell me here for about a minute and what's that's drive. I'll take the film out and we'll put the film up so you can hang to dry. I happen to have a driver. So I put my film in there. If you don't have a film, Dr. Sometimes people will dry it in the bathroom, which is probably your best bet, because it could just kind of be safe and away from dust and you can close the door. So what I would do is I would just get like, a shoestring or get a string and put it in your bathroom. Put it up high enough so it doesn't hit the floor and which produces just clipped the film on the line and you let it hang to dry. And throughout the drying process. The film curl kind of do these things, but your mobile system is completely dry because it will look dry and it will be straight or maybe a little bit curly dependent if it's kind of humid in your place. All right, So remember I told you, I want you to keep your film canisters. So the last thing I want you to do is once you're ready to hanging from the dry contempt canister, you could just clip it on to the end of this film and the conservatism Wait and we'll just do you copy. But yeah, the service await and just help the film with dry, a little bit flatter, so it's on the clipping onto you found just like that. 7. Closing: All right. So you are made it. That's it. You know you know how to develop No black and white film. We've do mixing chemicals, agitated film, the whole process, the darkness, prices. You know, I hope you learned a lot. I hope you enjoyed a I hope not to. Over Well, but what should get going? It does become really fluid. And you don't really have to think about it too much. And I just hope this helps you out in your photographic practice. I hope that helps you enjoy Fillmore and understand how rich how that can be. And if you have any questions, definitely post those to the board to the community board. And I look forward to seeing your own images. All right, take care.