Sick of machine prints : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Hi. I want and need to take my B&W prints to another level. I'd like to do it myself but I have neither the time nor the access to a darkroom, unfortunately. One day, I hope to build one in a home. My question to you is: how does one go about developing an ongoing relationship with a custom B&W printing specialist? (BTW, I am in the San Francisco area.) Thanks!

-- Torben Rolfsen (, May 24, 2002


Long ago, I had the same feeling. I had the best photographic equipment, did some courses and the photo finisher could only give the best techical print. Automatic cameras make automatic exposures and finally we have automatic prints. No soul. No interpretation. No Marc. Only Nikon, Kodak, Fuji Frontier. Now I am liberated. I use different exposure techniques. (Zone system vs Tone system vs. ML system) I use different development techniques. I use different printing techniques. And yes, I have less technical good prints. But those that are good are made by me Me ME ! Sorry for this non-technical answer. But this is how I feel.

-- Marc Leest (, May 24, 2002.

Torben, I suggest you give the computer a serious try. Using a program like Photoshop Elements and an Epson printer will get you a lot closer to great prints than you might think.

Best wishes,


-- Christian Harkness (, May 25, 2002.

Greetings. Find a place that does B+W processing on location. They do exist. You can speak directly with the person who is doing the printing and you will find that they are quite passionate about what they do and some will dodge, burn etc. when needed. THere is a shop her in MA where I found this to be true. While purchasing some chemicals I asked them off the cuff what they charge for B+W 8x10's and the fellow I spoke to said they were such and such, but also added that he spent time on each print as if they were his own. I would suspect, without question, that S.F has places of this nature. My brother is a 16mm film guy and has no problems having his B+W movie film developed to his specs. Sorry I can't site any specific places. Just go from shop to shop or ask a photographer you see on the streets if they know of any such labs where processing B+W happens. You will be surprised. Best of luck! Ken

-- guaranteed (, May 26, 2002.

It does not need to cost a fourtune to build a B&W darkroom. I had used my bathroom as a make shift darkroom for years and the whole setup only cost me about $300. Buying used equipments can save big. How much does a roll cost you if you have it processed and printed by a lab? It quickly adds up to exceed $300...

-- Eugene Chen (, May 28, 2002.

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