How to Print Photos From a Negative

Written by mallory zebley
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How to Print Photos From a Negative
Digital photography has overpowered the use of camera and film. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Since the advent of digital photography, the use of dark rooms and developing photos from negatives has become somewhat a thing of the past. The task is still used by some, and is considered a must have experience for anyone aspiring to be a photographer. In order to successfully print a photo from a negative, there are a few steps that must be specifically followed for the photo to turn out correctly. All steps must be performed in a dark room.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Dark room
  • Photo paper
  • Negative
  • Photo enlarger
  • Chemicals for stop, developer and fixer baths
  • Tongs
  • Clothespins
  • Clothesline
  • Photo easel
  • Photo trays

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  1. 1

    Take the negative of the photo you would like to print and insert it into a negative carrier. Place the negative carrier inside of a photo enlarger, and turn the enlarger on. Make sure the negative is the correct size as well as in focus by turning the knobs on the enlarger. One knob will make the photo larger or smaller, while the other knob adjusts the focus. Turn the enlarger off once the photo is as desired.

  2. 2

    Place a piece of photo paper into the easel. Before turning on the enlarger, make sure the timer is set to the correct length of exposure time. The exposure time greatly affects the end result of the photograph. Make sure it is correct. Press the "start" button on the enlarger, and let it run. When the time is complete it will turn itself off.

  3. 3

    Remove the photo paper from the easel and place it into the developer bath. Typically a photo sheet will need to be left in the developer bath for about 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the specific brand of developer.

  4. 4

    Using tongs, take the photo paper out of the developer bath and place it into the stop bath. Make sure the paper is completely submersed in the bath. Leave the photo in the bath for five seconds. This stops the developing process.

  5. 5

    Using tongs, take the photo out of the stop bath and pace it in the fixer bath where it will stay for 15 to 30 seconds. During this bath, the photo is fixed -- or made stable and ready for viewing in normal light outside of the dark room.

  6. 6

    With the tongs, remove the picture from the fixer and place it in the final bath of fresh water. Make sure this bath is located under a faucet because a constant stream of fresh water must be flowing over the picture during this bath. The photo must remain in this bath for one to three minutes.

  7. 7

    Take the photo out of the fresh water bath using the tongs. Use clothespins to hang the photo on a line where it will hang to dry for about a day.

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