Darkroom Experiments

Below are descriptions of darkroom experiments we will be exploring during 4th quarter.

Begin with Paper negatives and Photograms.


Paper Negative: Use a piece of xerox paper, not a film negative, to make a print in the darkroom.

Things to consider– use an image that you 1st alter in photoshop

include text (written or typed in photoshop) in the image

Photogram: Place an actual object on the photographic paper in the the darkroom.

 Other possible experimental techniques to try:

Double Negative:

Definition:  two film strips that are placed on top of each other in the negative carer and then they are printed


place both strips in the negative carrier, do a test strip and a print

Tips: at least one negative should be thin density because your stacking two negatives together your gonna need more light to pass through them .Lower f stop to have more light passing through. more time is another way .Think about how your combining the  images together.


Definition: Developing a picture then your exposing it to more light


Do a test strip and expose the image for the full amount of time.

Instead of developing for the full time ,you decide when to take it out of the developer.

Take out photo put in a small tray and bring it back to the enlarger and flash it with light.

Then birng it back to the devloper and the develop it more.no specific amount of time again for the 2nd time  ,then you do the rest of the process normally.




Rotating the print easel at intervals so that the image prints as a kaleidoscope or mirrored image.


Do a test strip to determine exposure settings.

Set timer for partial times. At each new time interval rotate the print easel once.

Things to consider-photograms can be combined with negatives or used without negatives

-consider the outline shape/silhouette of the object(s) being used

-consider choosing objects with negative spaces

-consider the density of the object and how light with pass through it, for example the lemon

-cut or ripped paper may be used as a photograph element


Darkroom Experiment Tips:

Paper negatives- test strip at f11

Photograms- f8 and 15 secs

Double negatives- teststrip at f 8

Technical considerations – negative density (ideally 1 thin); and negative alignment

Content/compositional considerations – filling negative spaces, size variation (ex. Head shot vs full body), flipping negatives

Image rotation

Solarize- on 2nd exposure, turn the f-stop all the way down to largest opening



Low Light Shoot

Check out this link for additional tips:

Night photography cheat sheet

The bulb setting on your camera allows you to hold the shutter open for an extended amount of time

The bulb setting is used in low light situations (indoors without a flash or outside at night)

You do not use a flash when using the bulb setting

Set your camera to bulb by turning the shutter dial to the B setting

Set your camera to a high f-stop for a full depth of field (ex. f22)


Use color film (or DSLR)

Photograph a series of photos in each of the following bulb categories discussed in class:

Moving object or light– In this category you must include a still object as well as the moving object(s)

Still object in low light situation

Painting with light

Planning/Preparation HW:

-Brainstorm a minimum of 3 ideas for each category.  Be as specific as possible. Consider a range of unique light sources and interesting locations. LIST F-STOP FOR EACH.  Also brainstorm a list of 5-10 unique light sources.

Download free long exposure apps, such as LongExpo or Camera FV-5 Lite to use your phone to experiment with low light shoots.

-Research Youtube videos for how to shoot in low light

-Download and print 2 bulb images of interest from a stock photography site. Label each with the name of the site you found it on.







Two upcoming contest opportunities

Millstreet Loft : http://millstreetloft.org/product/exposure/
Deadline Feb 10

A full tuition scholarship to the Summer Art Intensive of Mill Street Loft, one $1500 scholarship to Maryland Institute College of Art’s Summer Pre-college program, a number of cash awards and other prizes will be awarded.



NYSMATA Exemplary Awards: http://lowerhudsonregionnysmata.weebly.com/exemplary-awards.html ;

Deadline Feb 6

Self portrait final project

Link to Pintrest Famous Photographers Self Portrait Board

Shooting Notes Chart

Self Portrait Final Exam Project

Tri-X 400, 24 exposure

Minimum 3 types of self portraits

Remember: Strong Composition

Consider Self-timer, flash and other lighting

Required sketchbook brainstorming in all categories:

-in motion


-engaged in activity

-full body

-head shot

-using a mirror (or other reflective surface)

-body parts




Student Samples

Hockney Character Portrait

David Hockney  ” Joiner” Photographs (documentary video link)

He was originally a painter in the 60’s

However, in the 80’s he switched to taking picture, because he felt like making painting was not telling the whole story

Pablo Picasso a painter in the 20th century, he style was cubism. Like Picasso Hockney takes multiple photographs of  one subject with a lot of small areas and joins them together .

Assignment: Take character portraits. This is about rethinking about what you know about taking portraits. This is about deconstruction.

When approaching the assignment you can take it as a joiner photograph or the “grid” / “Polaroid” photograph


  • Shoots with color film
  • Uses every frame
  • Shot in color
  • Portraits, still-life and landscapes

Photo Class  students:

  • Digital or color film
  • 24 frames
  • Shooting in color
  • Allowed to take pictures inside BUT with caution due to flash
  • Only allowed to work with portraits


  • 24 exposure in color
  • Consider using props, location
  • Must have an exaggerated and large focal point (eye level and zoom)
  • The photographer must connect with the object
  • Irony is an awesome photographic tool
  • Direct your shoot

Hockney Inspired Photography project Handout

Hockney Brainstorming worksheet

Click here for hockney samples