Friday, 30 December 2011

Evaluating which negatives to print.

This negative has little or no detail
 in the shadows.
What qualities make a good negative for enlargement? To start with it needs to be sharp, well exposed and developed. In other words there needs to be detail across the whole negative from the shadows to the high lights. If the dark and light areas show hardly any detail it means there is too much contrast making the negative hard to print. If on the other hand there is little difference between the high lights and shadows it means that the negative is soft and lacks contrast. Obviously there are exceptions, for instance trying a special effect that requires low contrast. Nearly forgot, they must not be too grainy unless that is what you like or intended.

This negative is almost perfect.

In a roundabout way I have described the perfect negative, something we all try to achieve firstly at exposure and then by development but all is not lost there are things we can do to bring those detail out while printing, it just takes a bit longer.