The Guide to B&W Film Development

I have finally put together the 5 part Guide to B&W Film Development into one piece. As my initial intention was, I posted this as 5 different parts over 5 days. It was a lot of work and took me a long long time (approx 20 hours in total to put it together) and I would now like to consolidate it for everyone to read.

I have decided that I will continue writing guides for this blog, discussing film techniques and post processing techniques. I have added a new guides section to the website menu and what better way to celebrate than by adding the Guide to B&W Film (take a peek at my other post processing guides while you are at it!).

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The Guide to B&W Film Development: Part 5 – How to Digitise your Negatives

Welcome to Part 5 of my Guide to B&W Film Development.

Finally.. almost there.. in fact I would say it is already a success as you dont have to scan your own negatives if you dont want too. So far we have covered what you need to get started, what you need to prepare to develop and then developing the film itself. This extra part is basically to cover how to get your negatives archived and on your own computer at a decent price. If you are going to do a high res print and you arent satisfied with the scanning results, I would suggest getting a print shop or a photo shop doing a high res scan for you.. it is very cheap and a great way for you to get the size/resolution you need to print.

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The Guide to B&W Film Development: Part 4 – The Development Process

Welcome to Part 4 of my Guide to B&W Film Development.

Parts 1. 2 and 3 were all designed to get you ready for this point. Part 4.. the development process! Here I will go through a step by step look at how to develop your own film .. but I will refer to some previous steps and assume that you have completed things such as .. mixing your chemicals and preparing to do the development first. I will break the process up into different stages, the process itself doesnt take very long at all (say.. 15minutes) however having everything ready before hand will make life much easier.

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The Guide to B&W Film Development: Part 3 – Preparing the Film

Welcome to Part 3 of my Guide to B&W Film Development.

Part 1 looked at the jargon and the process. Part 2 looked at getting you setup with everything you need to develop. Part 3 will directly look at the film side and what you need to get the film in the tank ready for development. When originally constructing the part’s of this guide I considered combining this with Part 2, however it is such an important and crucial step to the process (that takes a bit of practice) that explaining it clearly is paramount.
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The Guide to B&W Film Development: Part 2 – Preparing for Development

Welcome to Part 2 of my Guide to B&W Film Development.

Part 1 had a look at the jargon, the process and what exactly we are dealing with when it comes to film and B&W film development. Part 2 will look at how to prepare for development. This is infact the biggest part of the process and the one that generally takes the longest. What? No? Surely the development process is the longest part?! Actually once you are setup the Development process takes the least amount of time.. it all comes down to proper preparation. The 5 x P’s comes to mind when thinking about this … (Proper Preparation Prevents Pisspoor Performance).

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The Guide to B&W Film Development: Part 1 – Introduction to B&W Film

Welcome to Part 1 of my Guide to B&W Film Development.

Part 1 will deal with an overall view at the process.. the jargon.. the film.. and what you are looking to achieve. The main idea is that by the end of the 5 days there will be a guide with enough information for you to purchase, prepare, develop and then scan your own film. I wont look so much into the history of film (I can save that for another time) but almost think of this as a science experiment. Now I will say right off the bat.. this is for Black & White development only.. NOT c-41 process/colour negative or E-6 (slide)/colour reversal film development. I will write guides to those processes.. as I learn them myself.

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My Upcoming Guide to B&W Film Development

I am excited to share that over the past week I have been putting together my Guide to Black and White Film Development. As part of this blog I have always wanted to share some insight into how to achieve similar results in photography. Whether it be where to shoot, how to shoot and now.. film.

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Guide to Post Processing Tilt Shift Effect. Buckingham Place.. with a Shift.

Buckingham Palace Tilt Shift

Buckingham Palace Tilt Shift

So you can get a Tilt shift lens, but on my budget it all comes down to… Photoshop!

This is an effect where you can almost minaturise different situations by creating a very thing DOF (Dept of Field)

The process is quite simple, however i think it lies more within the shot of choice to create the effect.

The shot needs to be able to be blurred enough to still form the frame of the shot (i.e – you can still know what you are looking at even tho it is severely out of focus).

I currently do this Post Processing in Photoshop CS3 and CS4.


1. Load the image you want to edit into Photoshop
2. Press Q (to open Quick Mask)
3. Select the Gradient Tool (where Paint bucket is) and ensure you have the Center fading to top/bottom option selected along the top bar.
4. Now shift draw your line and you will see it create the gradient look… i find to get the best results dont try and keep too much in focus.
*TIP* The area you want in focus; draw your line downwards from roughly 50% through the area you want in focus. Draw this line a little below where you want the DOF to end. Also.. experiment with different effects.
5. Press Q again (to Exit Quick Mask) and you will see a rectangular selection of your photo.
6. Go to the Filter Menu. Filter -> Blur -> Lens Blur.
7. Ensure that Hexagon is selected, and start with level 20.
8. Apply the effect and see how it has turned out. From here, you can go back to Step 6 (or click back in History) and adjust the settings to suit your taste.
9. Once you have the desired Tilt Shift Effect you can further enchance the look by adding some Sharpness and Saturation.
10. Go to the Filter Menu. Filter -> Sharpen -> Smart Sharpen
11. Start with 20%, Radius 20.0 pixels and Remove: Gaussian Blur
12. Apply the effect and see how it has turned out. From here, you can go back and adjust the sharpen effect until you are happy.
13. Go to the Image Menu. Image -> Adjustments -> Vibrance (On CS4, earlier versions please select Saturation)
14. Bump the Saturation level up to 30 – 40. Add some Vibrance too, anywhere up to 50 and see the effect. From here, repeat or go back through the process until you have enhanced the image the way you like.
15. Crop the image to suit (If you have not cropped pre-edit). Please keep in mind the idea behind the Tilt Shift is that you would like to create the minature feel, and this means the viewer must be able to make out what the OOF (Out of Focus) area is, as a scale size for the IF (In Focus) area.

In the above image I have;
– Slightly straightened and cropped the image.
– Created a thin DOF based on the people in the photo
– Lens Blur Settings: Hexagon & Level 30
– Saturation +40
– Vibrance +75
– Smart Sharpen of 25% at 20.0 Pixels.

This image was difficult, as I wanted to retain some of the details of Buckingham Palace, otherwise it would be lost in the image. I am more happy with the OOF area at the bottom of the image.

I hope you find this small guide useful.

Till next time..

You can view some more of my Tilt Shifts here.

Layer Masking in Photoshop

Hey People,

Following up my last post Alex Wise from posted up a comment regarding one of my fav shots from the morning. You can see this comment here.

IT was in regards to an article he had written about combining two images to form one, a trick which is a good way to use a shot where the sky is exposed correctly, and one where the foreground is exposed correctly. Too often it seems with landscape photography, you have odd light.. odd times and sometimes you have to compromise to what you find best.

Anyway here is the result,

Staring Down the Sun

Staring Down the Sun

This shot has the sky at captured at -1 exposure, and the foreground and +/- 0.

You can find the tutorial by alex here.

Thank you Alex, very much appreciated 🙂

Till next time…

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