Ways & How

how to develop black and white film

how to develop black and white film

Developing your own film can save you a lot of money. Though it can be a little time consuming because of all the preparations, knowing how to develop black and white film can be very fulfilling in many different ways.

  1. Organize and prepare a room. If you don’t have a dark room, you can convert a room into one by blocking out all light. Make sure that there will be no children around since the chemicals you are going to use are dangerous.

  2. Prepare the necessary chemical solutions. It’s best to use distilled water to avoid having unwanted minerals that may affect the quality of the photo. Developer solution: dilute one part of the chemical to three parts water. Stop bath solution. Fixer solution: dilute one part chemical and four parts water. Hypo clearing agent: 4.4oz mixed in 1.25 gallons of water. Store the solutions in labeled containers.

  3. Get the solutions to the right temperature. Fill a large tub or sink with water and bring the temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

    eave them there until ready to use for approximately 30 minutes.

  4. Arrange your tools in a familiar manner as you will work in the dark. You should have scissors, the film reel, the film canister, the bottle opener, and a developing tank.

  5. When everything is in place, turn off the lights. Wait for a moment until your eyes adjust to the darkness. You will be able to see in a few minutes. Open the film canister with a bottle opener. Pull the film out carefully and only touch the edges. Grip the film with your thumb and forefinger. Slide toward the end where there is no exposure. Cut the end or what they sometimes refer to as the tongue.

  6. Careful not to touch any part of the negative, and slide the first part of the film in the reel. Start feeding the rest of the film by moving one side back and forth. Once the film is placed in the reel, you can now put it inside the developing tank and cover the lid tightly. You can now turn on the lights.

  7. Check the temperature of the water holding the chemicals. Make sure it is still 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the developing tank next to the chemicals.

  8. Take your developer solution (the 1:3 solutions you made earlier) and make another solution with 1 part of it and add 7 parts water. That is 1:7 developer solution.

  9. Prepare your stop watch. Pour the solution you have just made in the hole on top of the developing tank. Start the stopwatch. Regularly agitate by turning and swirling the tank. Agitate the tank for 5 seconds then wait for 25 seconds. Do this 30 times. Agitation will ensure that new chemicals will be in contact with the film. During the last 25 seconds, pour the developing solution out of the tank 10 seconds before the time ends.

  10. Fill the tank with the stop bath solution. Slap the container to remove any bubbles. Leave it for a minute and a half. Pour the content 10 seconds before the time ends. You can also use 68 degrees Fahrenheit for the stop bath. Pour it into the tank then agitate it for a while. Do this four times.

  11. Pour in the fixer solution into the tank and set your stop watch for 6 minutes. Again, remove any bubbles by slapping around the container. Every 30 seconds, agitate it for 3 seconds. After 6 minutes, pour out the solution. You can open the lid of the tank. After the fixing process, the film can now be exposed to light.

  12. With the lid off the developing tank, pour in the hypo-clearing agent. Remove any bubbles and leave it for a minute and a half and then pour the contents out. While waiting, you can start running the water and bring it to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tank in the running water. Let it flow to wash off the chemicals. Once in a while, dump all water out of the tank and then place it back again under the running water. This will make sure that fresh water is circulating on the film. Do this for about 10 minutes or so.

  13. After the wash, pick up the reel with the film out of the tank. Remove any excess water by shaking. Disassemble the reel by turning. Using a film clip, hang the negatives to dry for about two hours. Make sure that there is no dirt or dust so that the film will come out clean. By this time, you should be able to see your pictures in the negatives. Afterwards, you can have your pictures printed.

As a photographer, a professional, or as an amateur, it is always fulfilling to know how to develop black and white film. Being able to see how it slowly comes to life is exciting and fun.


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