Photographs from film can seem obsolete, but they can still create some stunning photos. If you have gotten into photography, you might consider skipping out on digital options and choosing the traditional film-based cameras. But this brings up the problem of how to develop the film. Building your darkroom at home can be a simple but effective solution. Here’s how you can create one easily:
The Right Space
To start with your darkroom, you need to have space for it. It can be surprising how little space you need. Even a small closet can work. The essential thing is that you can fit all the necessary tools and equipment. You mainly need access to water, with space for trays and chemicals. You will also need an electric outlet so that you can plug in the enlarger. When you have a room available, you should know where everything will go.
You need to have full control over the light that enters your darkroom. A simple way to do this is to choose a windowless room. But this might not be possible. A room with a small window is better than nothing. For example, blackout window films are a perfect way to cover up a small window so that no light can come in. Combine that with curtains, and you have the ideal setup.
Besides stopping light, you need to provide light. You need to install specific light types and be able to turn them on or off when necessary. This allows you full control over the development process.
Now that you have space and have blocked it off, it is time to buy the equipment. There are several pieces that you cannot do without. You will need a film developing tank. However, they are available in plastic and stainless steel versions. Stainless steel is better to buy since it allows you to keep the developing water at your preferred temperature. You can also depend on it to dry faster. This means you can develop more film in less time.
Another piece of equipment that you will need is a film dryer. The film will be wet for some part of the process, and floating dust can ruin it. You need to cover it with something as it dries. A simple plastic sheet can help in preventing anything that can ruin your film. You will also need a contact sheet. Though there are many on sale, you can easily make your own with two sheets of glass. Some experimentation can make it perfect and can save you a bit of money.
Other essential materials include a dishwashing pan with drainage to wash your prints and an enlarger to have your photos come out the size you want.
Developing photos from film is a disappearing art, but it can still be very useful. The simplicity of a simple picture can make it much more beautiful than over-produced digital equivalents. With your darkroom, you can have full control over your developing process.