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Making The Analog Print

Lesson 27 from: Introduction to Black & White Film Photography

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

27. Making The Analog Print

Lesson Info

Making The Analog Print

I wanna talk a little bit about the analog print. In your bonus material, I have a couple of sheets about making the analog print, like what are the steps to actually do that. We did the scanning piece because that's how a lot of people are working We're working digitally these days. The analog, and we're gonna talk about black and white resources, and where to go find these here in a second, but to print an analog print requires some things. If your not, don't have a large negative, you can do what's called a contact print which basically I take the negative, and I put it on photographic paper, and I make the exposure. My image is then the exact size of my negative. So if you're shooting 35 millimeter paper, you get a nice little 2.2 by .9, whatever that is image a piece. If you shoot an 8x10 negative, you get an 8"x10" print. In the old days, before we had enlargers, that's how we got things. That's why large format cameras were dominant, because they needed big negatives for the pri...

nts. They needed the bigger plates, that's how they had the detail and the resolution, so we had those bigger plates. The analog print though, we go in and we have an enlarger. Basically, the job of the enlarger is for the negative to go in and there's a lens that works just like a normal camera lens, has F stops, opens up and sets the volume of light, we focus the grain of the image. You just kind of lightly focus and then you'd be surprised, you get down and you look through a little magnifier at the grain and your like, wow that's still soft. We focus the grain, and then we make the image. An image is a function of time. Each one of those papers we would usually analog darker, Morana Cyla, Foma 52 55, whatever it is, multi-grade four classic two, whatever we're using. Those papers all have characteristic curves just like the film does. They all have film speeds, or paper speeds. They're all a little bit different. They get a set of time and what we do is we have to figure out what is that base time. So we basically make a test strip, and we give it a certain amount of time. One of the reasons I wanted to talk about this is, when I watch people first start making test strips, they cut a little piece of paper, they lay it across, and they go two seconds, four seconds, six seconds, eight seconds, ten seconds, twelve seconds, fourteen seconds, sixteen seconds, eighteen seconds, twenty seconds, and they go out at a certain time. Now, let's think about light, let's think about photography, let's think about stops for a second. The difference between two seconds and four seconds is one stop. The difference between four seconds and six seconds is a half a stop. The difference between six seconds and eight seconds is a quarter of a stop. The difference between eight seconds and ten seconds is an eighth of a stop. So, as your working your way up, you're now talking about, hmm, should I do 14 seconds or 16 seconds? That's 128th of a stop difference. My eye can discern about a third of a stop. Yeah, I'm probably gonna have to go with the eighteen seconds. So, the way we see is in big chunks of volumes. This is the editing mistake people make in photo shop and digital as well. They make small increments too early in the process. Big move of the slider is one stop too much, two stops too much, oh two stops is too much, cool, I'll back off a half. Same thing in the analog room, make your print and give yourself 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 40 seconds for your test print. Now I've got three stops of light on the test print. And use a whole sheet of paper. Because here's the other thing people do, is they use these little strips to save money. Now, I'm gonna photograph this room, and all of you, and I'm gonna test strip your faces, because that's the important part. But now I've gotta figure out like, oh, I didn't realize that that wall needed to be burned 300%. But if I had done my test strip across it, it'd be like, oh the faces look great here, the wall needs to be burnt here, and I start to build a little map of how to actually do my printing. So, big movements in the dark room. The other piece that's important about the analog print is when you get started, you're gonna use something called resin coated paper, RC paper, and your gonna use that, because it's the cheapest. How you selected your early film, it was cheap. RC paper is not archival, and it doesn't survive time. It actually fades and it has some longevity issues, and you will almost never find an RC print in any museum, private collection, gallery space, because of the non archive ability of it. Archival printing is done on fiber based paper, so when you're going to purchase paper, you're gonna get fiber based paper and yeah, you thought film was expensive? Fiber based silver gelatin paper is expensive. Film is expensive. Anybody who's in film who tells you it's not expensive, has so much money and somebody else pays their bills. That's the only way they would think it wasn't expensive. It is progressively getting more expensive. The elements are getting more rare, the vendors are getting more rare, less people are using it. Even though we're in a resurgence, we don't have the volume we had before. So for vendors to stay in business, they have to charge us more, which is awesome. I would rather pay extra to have the access. So fiber paper is not gonna be cheap, and it's gonna come in a variety of sizes. You can get up to about 20x24 still pretty easily and a lot of papers. So you go through and you pick your papers, and remember how we talked in film, there was salivant developers, non-salivant developers, exdal, guess what happens with paper? 15 different kinds of paper developers readily available that all do something a little different to the papers. So you can go in and pick with those. So you're gonna go ahead and pick your paper and pick that, but you'll start with RC. What a lot of people do is they use the RC paper for proofing. So when they're just trying to figure out, is this worth the investment of time and money into fiber paper? That's what they do for that. So that's going to be your step into that process, is you're gonna wanna step up and move into fiber. But, don't go in and spend decades working on RC paper, and then try to go get your gallery show or something because they're gonna be like, okay great, now where's the actual photograph. It's the galleries snobby way of saying, we don't take RC paper.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Film Resources
Slides and Notes

Ratings and Reviews


I am really fond of Daniel Gregory as a teacher. He does a great job. To me, his enthousiasm, his passion for and his dedication to film photography are infectuous. It's great that CreativeLive makes place for film photography and for such a pro teaching it. It can never do so enough for me. Thanks. I am a fan.

Texas Beauty Photography

Great class!! It's jam packed with usable information for anyone wanting to shoot, process, and print black and white images. There is so much detail presented in this class, I can practically guarantee you'll come back to it again and again. I successfully used this class to capture b/w photographs, process the negatives, capture them digitally, and finally, produce beautiful prints that I'm proud to show my friends and clients. This may well be one of the best classes on all of CreativeLive. Highly recommended!


This is an excellent course and Daniel is a great teacher! I'm coming back to shooting film and darkroom work after 20 years away. I have some wonderful film cameras sitting in my cabinet and I decided I wanted to use them--so I have decided to shoot BW with film, and shoot color with my digital cameras. I will develop the BW film myself and scan and print digitally. This class is perfect for me!

Student Work