Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
The biggest thing I've found to improve the quality of my prints has simply been practice.
+1

It is not about RC vs FB. Improving print quality is about working methodically from the first test print through work prints to the final print, being critical along the way, refining your burning and dodging skills, use of filters etc - and not being afraid of hard work - because some prints will be difficult even if the negative is perfect. They will require more technique and more time. Practice, practice, practice. A great printer can make a beautiful print from a flawed negative, but a lousy printer won't make much of even the best negatives.

A couple of things which may help a less experienced printer (and experienced printers) get a better final product are:

1. Instead of telling yourself you must get to the final print in one session, stop just short of that. When you think you've got the print just about right, make a few versions/variations, then stop. Live with them for a few days. Look at them with fresh eyes the next day etc.

2. In addition to #1 above, try hanging the prints upside down. Look at them that way. When you walk by them in your home, glance at them. The idea here is to remove some of the familiarity of the image and see only tones and tonal relationships in a more abstract way. Things like imbalances, hot highlights and even artifacts of burning/dodging (eg halo around a dodged dark object etc) will tend to "jump out" at you more. Sometimes when working on a print in the darkroom you can get a little bogged down and lost in the details and/or the image itself, and even though you're concentrating you might miss some little things, errors etc.