Black & White Darkroom


This course runs at the same time every week for ten weeks

In this 10-week course you will be provided with a hands-on introduction to the Black & White Darkroom. Taking you from film-processing film to print making, this course will instruct you on the foundational skills required to kick start your Black & White Darkroom practice. 

Starting with developing film and leading into making proof sheets, you will receive instruction to enhance both your darkroom printing and camera exposures. Your tutor, Michael Waite, will go through the basics of print exposure and development, dodging and burning, and look at the control of tone and shade in your prints.

This course will also cover how to scan film and the essentials of Photoshop post-production of scanned film images for web display and print. Other topics to be covered include reciprocity failure, the use of filters for contrast control, and pushing film. Please note, costs of materials will apply (film, neg sleeves, paper).

You will need to purchase medium format film or 35mm film each week, negative sleeves and 12 x 9.5 resin-coated paper for proofing. You will also require a working film camera for the duration of the course.

Prerequisites and Requirements

  • Camera Craft 1, or relevant experience
  • Your own working film camera 
  • You will be processing a roll of film at your first class, so please bring a roll of exposed Black and White film (either 35mm or 120mm)
  • Don’t wear ‘good’ clothes. There is a chance that clothes will get stained by darkroom chemicals or bring an apron/lab-coat
  • Closed shoes are mandatory in the darkroom - no sandals or thongs.
  • Note pad and pen
Tips for shooting film
  • PLEASE DO NOT USE C-41 films – i.e. XP2 or 400CN. Any currently manufactured, true black and white film will be suitable. For example, Foma film, Ilford film (except XP2), Kodak films (except 400CN and any of their colour films), Fuji Acros
  • On the roll for the first class please shoot a range of subject matter and lighting conditions, e.g. portraits, interior, still life, landscape, in overcast light, back light, side light etc. You don’t have to shoot all of these things, or in all of these conditions, but try to get some variety.
  • Bracket some of the frames 1 stop over and 1 stop under so you can see the differences in exposure when we inspect the negatives and make proof sheets. 


Building 1
National Art School
Forbes St & Burton St

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Image courtesy and © Scott Lyttle, 2017.