|Printing is both a skill and a highly creative activity. The
print is the climax in the long chain of events that began when the
photographer first visualized the picture. For many photographers,
making a fine print is one of the most challenging and satisfying
aspects of their hobby or work. A print is made by passing light
through a negative onto sensitive paper. The paper is white when
unexposed and darkens the more it is exposed to light.
The darkest parts of the negative let pass the least amount of light, so the paper remains bright in those areas. Inversely the transparent parts of the negative let pass more light, so the paper darkens in those areas.
|The light from the bulb passes two lenses: First it is focused on the negative in the insertion then it is focused on the objective.|
A contact print is one made by placing the negative in direct
contact with the printing paper. Contact prints can be made with a
printing frame, which resembles a picture frame with glass. The
negative is placed on the photo paper with its emulsion side up,
and the printing frame is placed on the negative. The contact print
obviously has the same size as the negatives.
Of course the time the exposure takes depends of the grade of the paper/filter you use and of the size of your photo paper. The most usual way to find out how long you have to expose your photo paper is to make test-strips as you see on the picture. A black sheet of paper is used to cover a big part of the paper and let the light just exposure a small strip of the paper for some seconds. Then you move the paper so the strip exposed becomes wider and you expose a second time and so on. Then you develop that picture. In daylight you can then easily determine which stripe has the right brightness.
Contrast is a fundamental characteristic of printing papers. It
refers to the density range - the difference between the whitest
white and the blackest black - that the paper can supply and the
number of distinct shades of gray that it can produce between the
two extremes. A low-contrast paper can produce a relatively large
number of these intermediate shades and can provide the best print
from a negative with strong contrasts, i.e. extremely light and
extremely dark areas. A high-contrast paper has a smaller scale of
Our example show three different grades of contrast: