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How many fine prints can you make in one session?

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Post time: 2013-6-5 21:39:39 |Show all posts
Hi everyone! I have been workin in the darkroom now for about half a year, and has finally gotton to a stage where I can produce what I would consider fine prints.  I normally print my images on fiber based paper, and tone it in selenium. I do a lot of dodging/burning to control the images just in the manner that I want it. But its quite time consuming. In one 5-6 hours session I can perhaps produce two photos (the 5-6 hours includes setting up all chemicals, and washing all trays). I was wondering how fast you guys are able to produce your fine prints? Best regards,Michael   

Post time: 2019-5-28 04:05:23 |Show all posts
it depends on the quality of printer and pages which you are going to use, some people have low production rate so they got higher fine prints and some have slighlty higher rate.

Post time: 2013-6-6 22:26:39 |Show all posts
Variables are: your experience, negs, paper, state of mind, physical condition, external diversions.

Post time: 2013-6-6 21:08:13 |Show all posts
All depends on the negitives for me.  Some times I can only print 1 in 3-4 hours, split filters, burning, ect.. Others I can do no filter, 2.5 papter 1 test strip, and BAM perfect (IMHO) print.  If the negitive is good, and the compesition is good, the prints are easy.

Post time: 2013-6-6 19:23:32 |Show all posts
I don't think that there is anything wrong with my negatives, although I have been meaning to run some of the tests with density measurements that Ansel Adams suggest in his book "the negative". The reason for me doing a lot of dodging and burning is to get the values just the way I want them. For instance yesterday I printed some portraits of a young lady who was wearing a hat and held a flower. I just wanted her face a *weee* brighter, her hat a *wee* darker, etc etc.  Doing all the test strips, drying them, puttting it all together, running through all the chemcial baths, toning etc. I find it very time consuming. But I enjoy it - a lot. I was just starting to wonder if there was something fundementally wrong in my technique. But I can hear that I'm not the only one who spends this amount of time - thats very nice to know. But I think I will take the advice and spend some time testing my film development, to make sure I have the best negatives I can get. But man.... after spending a night in the darkroom, picking up the 1-2 gems the day after, pressing them flat and framing it. It's really worth it :) Cheers from Denmark,Michael

Post time: 2013-6-6 17:45:23 |Show all posts
Some days it's just not happening and I leave it rather than get frustrated. For me it's a hobby and there should be a certain amount of enjoyment in the process. Other days I'm on a roll and can turn out 3 or 4 prints that I'm happy with. I agree with the other poster that the most time consuming part is trying to print a neg that's not been exposed correctly. It's certainly made me spend a lot more time getting the neg correct.

Post time: 2013-6-6 16:03:11 |Show all posts
Michael-it's like learning to play an instrunment. Yesterday I printed 19 final prints on Gallerie Grade #3 Matte. After a few practice prints I was ready to go. I've gone back to graded papers. It takes one less variable out of the equation:I don't need to decide which filters or combo of I need to use. I also use Amidol with a water bath. That takes out another variable: no replacing developer during printing session. Practice is what makes a printer-nothing more or less. If you need to learn better go and study with someone who can show you how. It will save you time aggravation and money in the end...

Post time: 2013-6-6 14:14:26 |Show all posts
Ditto what Ole said.  One, then after I'm in the groove I'll make a few or even several of that one.  If I wait, the alchemical spell might be broken.  And my mojo might be different the next time so I won't be dodging and burning quite the same way.

Post time: 2013-6-6 12:35:43 |Show all posts
With FB paper, I would say about 3 or 4 (rarely more) per session of 6-7 hours, usually once a week. Naturally, I print more than 4 sheets during the entire session. However, because I often search for something better, I throw and try again and again... I do it until I get exactly what I think is the best I can do.

Post time: 2013-6-6 10:51:53 |Show all posts
Four or six small or 3 large from one negative.   2 or 3 small or large total from two negs.  I can make as many RC prints as possible before my legs give out after 4 hours.  Most can`t tell the difference, but I can.

Post time: 2013-6-6 09:15:05 |Show all posts
Dennis pretty much made the important statement... if your doing your film also. I can do around 10/hr on the average but I also can look at a negative and decide what filtration I need and what kind of work I need to do. I also print in sets... multiple copies from the same negative though also. If you have nailed your processing (negatives) for consistency, you should be able to work from a contact sheet and have your numbers a bit higher. With you saying you have "alot of burning and dodging" to do though, I don't think you have your process nailed down yet. Start off by doing some clip tests on your film. Shoot a whole roll, outside, (metering properly of course) with everything from deep shadows to specular highlights and shoot the same scene. In the darkroom, do a clip test, the first clip process with your normal time. Next clip, take either 10-15% off your "normal" process time and the third clip test do a time of minus 15% to 20% off your normal time... keeping the process time from going under 5 minutes is something to watch out for also as this is the "danger zone" as mottling might tend to occur if your agitation isn't enough.Now, get into the darkroom to make work prints. Print one frame of each clip to find where your "perfect" time is and see who much better your highlights will be... you will see the difference mostly in your prints, with the detail in your highlights coming in... with a whole lot less burning. Pick the best clip and for that film, the process time is your new process time for your system.After all is said and done, your number of prints that you can produce... and a better looking print will ensue!

Post time: 2013-6-6 07:44:01 |Show all posts
It takes me a long time to get ONE good print - so when I get one, I run off a few more of the same. I rarely do more than two negatives in the same session, usually just one.

Post time: 2013-6-6 06:01:29 |Show all posts
I print every day, sometimes fine art for myself and sometimes custom printing fiber based high end quality.  It is very important to be able to keep concentration and to keep in a creative mood.  It is much easier now than in the old days when people were using graded papers and trying to perfect contrast with developer adjustments.  Expecially when most people used condensor enlargers.  Ansel Adams said to expect one print a day.   When working with commercial printing I can do 12 to 15 in a 10 hour day.  When doing my own art prints I can do 5 to 15 depending on the consistancy of the subject and exposures.  Processing your own film and using a spot meter to perfect your exposures speeds up your printing time.

Post time: 2013-6-6 04:09:30 |Show all posts
Micahel, if I get into a good groove, probably 4-6 prints per session.  Attitude is everything.  I wait until I know that I really feel like printing.  I lay my work prints out, really study them until I get a feel for how I want to make the final prints, crank up a little music, and start to work.  If I go into the darkroom tired or stressed, I am not near as productive.  I also make sure that I will have no interruptions, especially from my wife or any distractions such as phone calls, etc.  The main thing I try to do is relax and have some fun.

Post time: 2013-6-6 03:08:41 |Show all posts
I average about 1-2 per hour with RC VC paper.  I just recently started using FB VC, and i'm struggling with that, so i don't have a reasonable average with that yet.

Post time: 2013-6-6 01:48:22 |Show all posts
Hi Louie, I think that your answer sais it all.I'm not printing for volume, but as you state it - for quality. I was just wondering if I was crazzy spending so much time for so few prints. I started my hobby with photography with a digital SLR, and photographed with it for a year. But its only now, since I have started shooting b+w film and printing myself that I have been able to achieve the results that I want.

Post time: 2013-6-6 00:26:58 |Show all posts
"Fine" prints? One.  The best one.

Post time: 2013-6-5 23:03:46 |Show all posts
Michael -  In my case, the production rate is very erratic.  On some days I can produce 6-8 really good prints in a session, while on others a printing session is a total waste of time and materials.  A long term average for me is probably 2-3 good prints per session. Part of this has to do with my attitude at the time, whether I have things that I am worrying over as I am printing, whether I am tired, etc.  But another part has to do with the quality of the negatives that I am working with at the time. Keep in mind that the reason for doing darkroom work is the desire for  creation and the desire for the quality that only comes from good craftsmanship.  If you want volume, thre are commercial houses who can do a much better job.  Or else go digital and let your printer work while you sleep.
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