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  1. #1
    ITD
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    What's your darkroom workflow?

    Or, how do you cope with large numbers of negatives to print? Here's my situation:

    I've been on a number of trips this year, all over Western Europe and out to some of the Greek islands. On my return, I have about 30 rolls of b&w exposed. I've developed them all and produced contact sheets. I've gone through all the contacts and selected 8-10 shots per roll that appear to warrant further investigation.

    Now comes my problem - what with cleaning negs, running test strips, washing and drying the test strips. evaluating each one and then printing, even a straight print for proofing is taking me 30 min to 1 hour.

    Is everyone else spending this sort of time? I read posts where people are making large numbers of work prints in a much shorter time, is there some shortcut that I hadn't thought of?

    So far I've had lots of time on my hands but I'm going back to work after xmas, so I'll be more pressed for time, so any suggestions (except lab printing or scanning) would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    That is my question too, I allways think people can do things in shorter time than me for same job

    So, I deal that next way: Processing films, making contact sheet and deciding what to print based on contact sheets takes needed time, that is those times I can't make shorter. It is what it is. Making final print also, I use time I need, not trying to hurry. As I can see there are two ways to save time. One is, when make proof prints, test prints, using something like RHdesigns Analyser or Jobo ComTime or like can save time in that area. If those gadgets are properly calibrated they can save time.

    Next, expose several prints let say 5 (or whatever, depend of sizes of prints and your paper trays) and process them at same time. Thing is, if you need 2 minuter developer, 30 seconds stop and 2 minutes fixer, that calculate for 2 prints in line 9 minutes (4,5 for first print ad 4,5 for second) and if you process them at same time it is 4,5 minutes for both prints. Of course then you have other problems like manipulating prints in trays to be properly processed, but there is no thing like free lunch . Saying that I DON'T use this method

    And third thing, experience and having established workflow and routine helps in saving time...

    I would like to know other (and proper ) ways for saving time, but at the end, if you want job well done, it require needed time, so just get used to it
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  3. #3
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    Harris, has hit the nail on the head, it takes time, get used to it!

    This evening I went into the darkroom at 2030 hrs, I stepped out of the darkroom around 2300 hrs with the fruits of my labour, in my hot sweaty hands (summertime here at the moment).

    I produced three prints from 35mm and one print from a 4x5 neg. I'm extremely pleased with my output, this is a normal output for me.

    Quite sometime ago I had a bit of a think regarding the time allotments for my chosen hobby and how to allocate it some more time to allow me not to have a backlog of negs awaiting printing.

    Two things were the outcome. I decided to be reasonable in my film exposing, which meant I don't shoot as much, or as often. The second was to stop watching television, more or less.

    Basically, I now watch about 1 hour of television every three or four weeks. This has been the single most important change that allows me to practice my hobby most evenings.

    Mick.

  4. #4

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    Yes, sometime I make 3 to 5 prints in 2 hours, sometime it take me 3 hours for 1 print. Depend how I exposed negative, how many test prints I make (and how much I change my decision how I want my print to look) how much dodging/burning is needed, my errors of different kinds, etc... And I am not as near fine printer as people here are.
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  5. #5

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    When I shoot a lot of film I am usually on vacation or a weekend trip so I take an extra day off just to process the negatives and proof the M/F and L/F and make 4X5 prints from 35mm. I then spend time selecting the negatives I really want to print (I also scan the negatives that show promise to get a better look before I print them in the wet darkroom). Last weekend I shot 2 rolls of 35mm, 2 rolls of 6X9 and 10 4X5, printed only 4X5, after a few weeks I will take a another look to see if I missed something. Unless there is an urgent need to produce a print right a way I tend to let some time pass before I look at the proofs or work prints with fresh eyes.

  6. #6
    ITD
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    Quote Originally Posted by haris View Post
    using something like RHdesigns Analyser or Jobo ComTime or like can save time in that area.
    I have the RH Designs Analyser Pro, but I haven't got the hang of seeing the tones represented on the LED's as print tones - I'm more adept at seeing a proper test print, but I'll persevere with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by haris View Post
    and if you process them at same time it is 4,5 minutes for both prints.
    Yes, I have processed prints in batches, but this doesn't allow each print to be tested - if I could trust my use of the Analyser this would be a real time saver.

    Quote Originally Posted by haris View Post
    And third thing, experience and having established workflow and routine helps in saving time...
    I suppose that this is the part I really want to examine - I feel a little swamped at the moment, which is why I was asking about what people do in practice. For instance, do people single out a single frame at a time and keep at it until the print is as good as possible, or do you print all the 'possibles' at once then pick out the 'keepers'? I'd like to think I could save time at 'work print' stage and spend more at 'final print' work.

  7. #7
    ITD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Fagan View Post
    I produced three prints from 35mm and one print from a 4x5 neg. I'm extremely pleased with my output, this is a normal output for me.
    Mick, would you describe those as work/proof prints or final prints? Either way, this still seems to be more than I would achieve in the same amount of time :rolleyes:

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I think it depends on what you want your final print to be? How good is good enough? I usually spend about 30 minutes to an hour to get a print right. I don't really care that my backlog is growing, I will rather have one great print than five mediocre. So I take my time.
    If I had to print 240 prints (8 x 30 rolls) I would cringe at the thought of making final prints of all of them. I would probably purchase a bunch of 5x7 RC paper and crank out work prints that are decent in contrast and tone. Then I would take some time off from printing, just looking at those prints and decide which ones I r-e-a-l-l-y want to spend time on.
    I know nothing of automated process, it's not an ambition of mine.
    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
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    darkroom workflow

    I have found that making a really great print takes time - don't despair. When I return from a trip and have a stack of negs to print, I prioritize them and they go in a bin awaiting time to print. Don't be in a rush. In 30+ years of darkrrom printing I always seem to have a backlog and therefore - something to look forward to. I have found when I try to work too fast, I compromise and never end up with a satisfying print. Good Luck.
    Tim

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITD View Post
    I suppose that this is the part I really want to examine - I feel a little swamped at the moment, which is why I was asking about what people do in practice. For instance, do people single out a single frame at a time and keep at it until the print is as good as possible, or do you print all the 'possibles' at once then pick out the 'keepers'? I'd like to think I could save time at 'work print' stage and spend more at 'final print' work.

    I print just "keepers", not "possibiles", unless, for example, model tells me "I really would like this..." (I don't pay models with money but with prints, and I don't sell my prints, that is I sell them very rearly). Then, I print for model (or eventual buyer) that print even if I wouldn't print it for myself. Of course, if I think that image is not up to my "standard", I don't print it. So, I mostly print one or two photographs from photo session, which usually can be 1 to 5 rolls of film, and I use 35mm and 6x7. Of course, there is allways exception from rules...
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

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