How to Develop Film in a Darkroom




Volunteer Benjamin Perlin balances his charity work between Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the Tennessee State Veterans Home. To support the causes of these organizations, Ben Perlin performs a multitude of tasks – from sorting donations to listening to a veteran’s stories. As one of his personal interests, Benjamin Perlin enjoys photography, and particularly likes working in a darkroom.

Digital cameras have long since taken over photography, yet there are still some who enjoy the process of developing photographic film and making prints from negatives. Here are the steps taken in the darkroom development of film:

1. In the darkroom with the lights out, remove the film from its canister and spool it onto the developing reel. Place the reel inside the developing tank and secure the lid. The lights can be turned on at this point.

2. Collect the correct amount of developer in a beaker, based on the Massive Development Chart. Carefully add cool or warm water until the desired temperature is achieved.

3. Pour the developer into the developing tank, making sure that the reel and film are completely submerged. The developer will most likely turn blue or green because of the dyes from the film. Follow the Massive Development Chart for the duration of submersion and the recommended agitation.

4. When the time is up, drain the developer and immediately pour in the stop bath for 30 seconds, to stop the action of the developer.

5. Drain the stop bath and fill the developing tank with the fixing bath, leaving it in for the recommended length of time.

6. Rinse the film with water to remove the fixer, and hang it to allow it to dry.

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