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Printing Techniques

The fun doesn’t stop when the film is developed and hanging from clothespins. There are many different things in the darkroom that you can do to your images while they are being printed. Those of us who rely on digital output hardcopies can still enjoy the pleasure of fine-tuning pictures in the digital darkroom. Here are a few techniques to work with.

Dodging/Burning

Color and black-and-white prints are traditionally made using an enlarger, which casts an image of the film onto a photosensitive sheet of paper for a carefully calculated number of seconds. For about as long as photographers have been making prints, they have also been sticking their fingers, hands, or other objects in the light path to reduce the relative exposure of one part of an image (dodging) while increasing it in another (burning). The result is an image in which the light and dark tones are more evenly balanced or, in some cases, deliberately changed to provide a different appearance (as with vignetting, discussed next).


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