Exploring Paper Negatives for Darkroom Photographers Video Course by Tim Layton

September 05, 2016  •  3 Comments

I received a lot of feedback on the next course that my readers and followers wanted developed next and the vote is in!  

UPDATE: The Video Workshop is finished and you can get immediate access to the full video workshop right now.  You get a 78-page course training guide and 18 video lessons for over 4 hours of instruction.  

In this video course, I am going to take photographers on a journey through the process of using darkroom paper as a negative medium to create black and white fine art prints.  Determining the best way to expose and develop your selected darkroom paper is only the beginning. 

Paper negatives are often overlooked or only explored on the surface by photographers. 

There is an entirely new world that can be explored with paper negatives, and I hope to open that up to you and give you some new ideas for your photography.  Even if you already know the basics of using paper negatives, I have several things in this video workshop that I think you will find valuable.  

As with all of my video workshops, there is no fluff, I get right to the point and I share everything that I know and have learned about making darkroom prints from paper negatives. 

If you have ever wanted to learn or expand your creative possibilities with paper negatives, then this course is for you.  


Movie # 1 - Discussion about the characteristics and aesthetic of darkroom paper negatives as a medium
Movie # 2 - Darkroom paper options (pros and cons of different types) and when to pick on versus the other 
Movie # 3 - Use of filters on specific paper negative types
Movie # 4 - Contrast control methods
Movie # 5 - Field Pre-flashing technique 
Movie # 6 - ISO Rating and metering techniques for RC paper negatives
Movie # 7 - Tips and advice on handling RC darkroom paper
Movie # 8 - Discussion of three possible output types with paper negatives, contact printing, enlarging, scanning for digital workflow 
Movie # 9 - Development techniques for RC paper negatives 
Movie # 10 - Part 1 - Field demo using 4x5 camera (Ilford RC MGIV Paper) with a yellow filter.  Part 2 - I conduct a field demonstration of the ISO testing technique and then take you back into the darkroom for the development by inspection of the negatives.  Part 3 - I walk you through step-by-step how to establish DMAX and your standard contact printing time.  Part 4 - We make a contact print from one of the paper negatives and evaluate the results.
Movie # 11 - Part 1 - Field demo using 8x10 camera (Ilford Grade #2 Paper) using the pre-flash technique. I demonstrate how I meter and expose the paper negative in the field.  I expose two negatives, one with and another without using the pre-flash technique.  Part 2 - I develop the negatives by inspection in the darkroom.  Part 3 - I review the developed negatives with you and discuss the results.
Movie # 12 - Field demo using Slavich Single Weight FB Paper to create negatives for making enlargements.
Movie # 13 - Step-by-step making of darkroom enlargement from a paper negative.
Movie # 14 - Discussion of advanced techniques and methods for paper negative manipulation  
Movie # 15 -  In this video, I walk you through my process of creating a split-grade contact print from start to finish using a paper negative.
Movie # 16 - Step-by-step method to bring your paper negatives into a digital workflow
Movie # 17 - Demonstration of how to convert and manipulate a digitized paper negative in Lightroom 
Movie # 18 - Summary and discussion of ideas for further exploration 


In order to take full advantage of everything covered in this workshop, you will want to have access to the following materials at some point now or in the future. 

  • For contact prints, you need any type of camera that is the size you want your prints and a simple household light and a dark area to work.  I use a sheet of glass to sandwich my negative and printing paper together or you can use a printing frame too.
  • Basic darkroom printing supplies and chemicals will be needed for both negative and print development. (Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer).  I use Dektol in this course, but that is not a requirement.
  • I recommend starting out with Ilford RC MGIV Glossy and Ilford RC Grade #2 Glossy darkroom papers.  I also demonstrate Slavich single weight FB glossy paper.
  • For enlarged prints from paper negatives, you will need an enlarger for your format.
  • Misc. items: tracing paper, yellow filter for your camera, number 2 pencil, bee's wax

You can support my writing for only $2 per month or $24 per year.  I have been writing and sharing articles on all things darkroom photography and large format for nearly a decade now.  Feel free to search my blog for topics of interest by entering your search phrase in the upper right corner.  I send exclusive updates to my supporters.  

Join thousands of photographers and fine art collectors from around the world and receive my exclusive Newsletter and never worry about missing a new article or update again. 

You can view and purchase my limited edition Platinum Histograph Heirloom Fine ArtTM gallery prints or my Platinum Histograph Heirloom MiniaturesTM from my online gallery. You can visit my Platinum Printmaking page to learn more about how I create my Platinum Histograph Heirloom Fine Art Prints. 

Follow me on my St. Francois Mountain Platinum Histograph Heirloom Fine Art Print Project where I am photographing the St. Francois Mountains that were formed by volcanic and intrusive activity 1.5 billion years ago.  By comparison, the Appalachians started forming about 460 million years ago, and the Rockies a mere 140 million years ago.

-Tim Layton 

Check out my darkroom and large format training materials (Video Workshops, Quick Reference Cards, eBooks, Guides)

Tim Layton
Darkroom & Large Format Photography
Platinum Histograph Heirloom Prints & MiniaturesTM
Video Workshops/eBooks/Guides: www.timlaytonfineart.com/workshops
© Tim Layton Sr. | All Rights Reserved


Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Andreas, thanks for your questions. You can use any size paper negative you want. That is up to you. I demonstrate the methods and techniques that can be used in any format. In the course, I demonstrate 120 6x9, 4x5, 5x7, 4x10, and 8x10. The reciprocity of the paper will vary just like different films, but I go over long exposures in the course and share the reciprocity of the papers that I recommend. I hope that helps. I look forward to seeing you in the course once it is released later this month.
Two things I World like to know. First, is there 4x5 Paper to be used?
Second, is it possible to get predictable results for long exposures? Mainly thinking about Schwarzschild effect.
I was just researching this yesterday and lo and behold. Very interesting results.
No comments posted.

Get my Free Darkroom Newsletter and/or my Wildlife Photography Newsletter and never miss an update again.


Media & News Updates


Support This Blog

Subscription Options


Popular Articles