How to Make Your Own Darkroom at Home
True photographers like to control every aspect of their art, and that is from composing and taking photographs to developing them themselves. To do this you really need to have your own darkroom, this may sound extravagant, but it is not really that expensive. You just need to find a small room where you won’t be disturbed and set up the necessary equipment. Then you will have the full flexibility over how your photographs are transformed onto paper.
Setting Up a Room
Finding the location for your darkroom must be somewhere you can completely block out any external light. The best darkrooms don’t have any windows such as cellars or attics, and they don’t need to be particularly large. Just make sure the space has power going to it and a tap with running water can be highly useful although not critical.
As you will be using chemicals it is imperative that there is sufficient ventilation, a bathroom fan is passable, but this is only a temporary solution. The chemicals used in developing photographs are heavier than air and most of the time a simple fan will not eradicate them. It is best to invest in a heavier duty extractor that will ensure your health remains good.
Make Your Space Really Dark
You can make a darkroom out of a space that has windows although this is not ideal. You will need heavy curtains or blinds to fit exactly around the windows and then seal around the edges with duct tape. Black fabric is ideal for this purpose. Pay attention to the door frame to see if any chinks of light appear, if so take your tape and seal the gap. Once you have the main areas covered, sit in the gloom for a while and get used to the dark. After ten minutes or so when your eyes adjust to the blackness, they will pick up small spots of light you missed out.
The Wet and the Dry Areas
There are two distinct areas to a dark room, the wet area and the dry area. It is important that these two areas are kept apart. This will help you from making mistakes and will keep errors to the minimum. Any electronic equipment will be housed on the dry side which will be where the electric socket is. For the wet side it is best near the water tap. It is really important to check the quality of the water, if you see any particles you will have to install a water filter.
If you know the trade and what you are doing then you can buy secondhand equipment, surfing the net is as good as place as any to find bargains. The piece of equipment you must pay most attention to is the enlarger as this is the centerpiece of your darkroom and the most important piece of kit. After this you will need to buy your whole printing kit, trays, chemicals, etc. Some manufacturers sell complete kits, and this is a really easy way to ensure you don’t forget anything. Now that you are ready to print your own pictures, you will be amazed how hooked you can get watching your photos appearing from the development chemicals as if like magic.