Managing the reprint and enlargement process
How do people best manage their re-print\enlargement requirements with their lab (for those that use a lab)?
Let me explain. Say you shoot 10 rolls of 36 exposures at a wedding. You send off the films and get your 6x4 proofs, which you show\give to the bride. She then chooses :
Frames 1, 5, 8, 15, 22 and 31 from Roll A
Frames 2, 3, 9, 22, 26 and 35 from Roll B
Frames 7, 15, 16, 25, 30 and 35 from Roll C
You've then got to go through your sets of negs, find the strips containing each frame, then bundle them all together and send them off to the lab who do the printing\enlarging in line with your requests to crop here and there too. They sned you back your enlargements and negatives, and you put them all back in their protective sleeves again.
2 weeks later, you get the relative asking for Frames 5 and 8 from Roll A, and 12 and 14 from Roll B....so you dig them out again and repeat the process!
For small jobs I see this as no real problem but for bigger ones, and especially for those well established photographers who may be shooting one a week, this strikes me as quite a tiresome task when not done properly.
Interested to know how you guys manage this side of things?
I file all my negs in clear Print File archival negative preservers. For 35mm, I use the #35-7B, which provides 7 rows for 5 negs per row. The 36th (and sometimes 37th) negatives are just slid beneath the last strip, so a full roll will fit. I number and date each roll. The sheets are punched for a standard 3 ring binder. I use archival binders from Light Impressions; I suppose something similar is available in the UK. I also have Print Files for 120 and 4x5.
When I order prints, I just pull out the strip of negatives from the sheet and place it in a Mylar sleeve. I put all the sleeved negs from one roll into an envelope with the frame numbers, sizes and quantities written on the envelope. Your lab may provide envelopes for this purpose; if not, furnish your own.
When the prints are returned, I number the back of each print with the negative number for identification in case of reorders, then refile the negs in the Print File pages. I have about 32 years' worth of negatives filed this way, and the binders fill a long shelf in my darkroom. The most recent 5 years are filed under my enlarger table for quick access.
If you have a steady hand, buy a technical pen and write the job number into the rebate of each negative strip that goes in for reprints.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2