How to Make Your Own Photography Dark Room

Setting Up a Photography Dark Room
A dark needs to be, well, dark to get quality prints.
A dark needs to be, well, dark to get quality prints.

The main thing you need for your dark room is, well, a room that's dark. If you don't have a room you can dedicate, a bathroom or an area of the basement will work. A room with no windows is ideal, but not entirely necessary. There are plenty of things you can do to achieve the darkness you need.

Layered black fabric is useful for blocking out windows or the edges of doors where light leaks in. The rule of thumb for testing your darkness is to stand in the room and hold up a piece of white paper. After five minutes, if you can see a little bit of the white, you still have too much light.

A sink in the dark room is ideal, but if you can't make that work, you'll at least need one nearby. You'll want to set up two areas of your dark room -- a wet side and a dry side. This will keep your chemicals away from everything but the photo in progress. The wet side is usually set up in a particular order for a seamless work flow. Developer is first, then the stop solution, next is the fix solution and then the bath. The drying area should be near the bath, away from the other stations.

You'll be working with chemicals, so an area with good ventilation is a must to stop fumes from building up.

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