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  1. #1

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    More darkroom practice

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    I had time to practice a little last night...was happy on the results on this one. The other two were a bit underexposed..not enough time. Question, do you folks make a test strip for every image before making a full print or do you adjust based on the image and your "typical" settings?

  2. #2
    zsas's Avatar
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    Always a test strip, even if I think I know what I am doing
    Andy

  3. #3

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    Test strips are a must. There's no such thing as typical settings, it can and will vary widely from negative to negative.

    For most things I deem worthy of wet printing rather than just scanning I make test prints. They're made in the same way as a test strip, but using a whole sheet of paper. It helps me find dust spots I need to clean off the negative, plus I can instantly see places I'll probably need to dodge/burn and get a good feel for the overall exposure.

    Test prints are a huge help to me. Give it a try, might help you too. Yes, the paper is expensive but it isn't getting any cheaper and I'd rather burn a few extra sheets in a box than produce less than excellent prints.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Success with one or more prints will really improve your next test strips, but you still should do them.
    Matt

    “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

  5. #5
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    I use always test strips. It gives you not only the correct values of light and contrast, but also hints where to dog and where to burn in.
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    Uwe Pilz

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cepwin View Post
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    ... Question, do you folks make a test strip for every image before making a full print ...
    Well, actually I do multiple test strips not only one. I usually will guess an exposure, will make a testprint at half of what I thought might be right and in case this does not turn out disastrous I will make one at double the time i guessed. I will dry them both and see if further testing is needed. Once I think I have the exposure nailed, I will make a full size test print. The testprint will show me where burning/dodging is needed and then I will work with test strips of this particular region(s). I usually keep a print map and will piece all the pieces together once I am happy with the results. Might not be the fastest way of doing things and most likely not the most resource aware method, but this rather methodical approach seems to work for me. This being said, I definitely know a few printers who make one strip, one test and are ready for the final image, but I personally don't know anyone who does not do testing at all.
    If I reprint a negative, I have my printmap to follow, but I still do testing, since chemicals will be different and maybe the paper I am using will be different.
    So long answer short, yes, always make test strips and prints
    ---
    There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
    ~ Ansel Adams

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cepwin View Post
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    The other two were a bit underexposed..
    Don't put them to trash - you can use for example high dilution of selenium toner to get print darker, or some other toners. When I get under or over exposed print - I use it for playing (learning) with toners.

  8. #8

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    Dear Cepwin.

    ALWAYS make a test strip: I printed up to 1,500 prints a week commercially in my youth, hand processed....every time I thought 'don't need a test strip for this neg, just like the last neg' I usually had to tear the print up and start again...with a test strip.....false economy.

    Please PM me your address and I will send you the ILFORD Multigrade printing manual, it will help.

    Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by brofkand View Post
    For most things I deem worthy of wet printing rather than just scanning I make test prints. They're made in the same way as a test strip, but using a whole sheet of paper. It helps me find dust spots I need to clean off the negative, plus I can instantly see places I'll probably need to dodge/burn and get a good feel for the
    hi Brofkand, thanks for this splendid idea, yet so obvious! I make loads of strips and still when printing a full sheet very often it's not ok.
    Peter

  10. #10

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    When I'm aiming at making large exhibition prints, I can use anywhere from 3-10 test strips for all different areas of the photograph to see how dodging and burning and adjusting contrast effects those areas and either making mental notes or writing them down so that when I do the print, I know upon first exposure all the areas to dodge and for how long exactly, then add additional exposures for the required burning and adjusting the contrast to the burn in a sequential order. In essence, using test strips effectively will increase the quality of your prints, give you a better ability to get really technical with the print and in the end, it will save you a ton of paper. Even if you're using 1/3 page test strips, it will give you a lot of visual information that is necessary for good print-making and still save paper in the end.

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