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Darkroom Techniques

Knowledge of darkroom techniques is becoming something of a lost art these days, but if you’re the kind of photographer who is used to huddling under the dim illumination of a safelight while the acrid fumes of stop bath fill the air, your knowledge will prove to be invaluable in the digital realm. And, even if you don’t have darkroom experience, you’re likely to be more than a little familiar with what can be done in the darkroom. Even photographers who don’t mess with processing and printing themselves tend to understand the techniques, if only so they can make intelligent decisions when ordering images from their own photolab.

Your darkroom savvy will prove useful when it comes time to edit your images within an application like Photoshop. After all, there’s a good reason why Photoshop’s predecessors had names like Digital Darkroom. The number of darkroom techniques that have been directly transferred to Photoshop is enormous. From the Dodging and Toning tools to the tremendous range of masking techniques, dozens of Photoshop capabilities have direct counterparts in the darkroom.


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