Quote Originally Posted by Paul

I was wondering what measures people take to compensate for dry down when printing. It seems to me that it is more of an issue with alternative processes than with silver given the nature of the paper.

I primarily do kallitypes and palladium and I often end up with a print in the wash that I am very pleased with but when I examine it the next morning after it has dried, it is too dark. I know the answer is technically simple: underexpose with the dry down in mind, but is there a reliable way to do this? Has anyone figured out an appropriate viewing light, for example, that one could use to appraise a wet print so that it looks the same as it would once it is dry?


The most straight forwrd way to do this to print a step tablet. Count the number of discrete steps from DMAX to DMIN while the print is wet. Then let the print dry normally (don't use a micro-wave or hair dryer for example.) After the print dries count the number of steps again. The difference in steps will allow you to determine the amount of exposure compensation.

You can also use a microwave or a hair dryer but i found that this will give a little different results than letting the print air dry.

With silver gelatin, if you use the same paper and developer and toner, after a while you will be able to make judgements about print density while the print is wet. This is what I call having dry down eyes. I judge the look of the highlights while the print is wet.

When working on finished prints I usually let the prints air dry over night and make a judgement the next day, so keep good notes of what you do so you can make exposure adjustments as needed the following day. This also applies to changes in contrast. Sometimes the changes can be so subtle only you will notice the difference!

Oh and one more thing. Make your vieing decisions with a consistent light source, using the same illumination and viewing conditons every time. Don't try to make critical decisons when you are tired.

Good luck,