Technique & Process: Shooting & Developing Black & White Film

Shooting and developing black and white film is definitely a lengthier and more focussed process than using digital. I found that, because I only had 36 shots on my Ilford film, I was photographing much more carefully and was more considerate with my exposure, focus and composition. I didn’t want to waste any! Shooting the Ilford film was better because we had a light meter and the studio to work with. This created beautiful portrait shots – although they were not in accordance to my proposal, they were very well executed. I was happy with the shots from the first film I shot.

I have hand developed film in the darkroom before (on the 2 year course before this one) however this time round it made a lot more sense and I understood it more. It was difficult manoeuvring in the dark however with the glow in the dark clock, it made it a bit easier. I didn’t struggle too much with that part. The chemistry and timing was quite straight forward too.

Shooting my B&W C41 film was fine with focus and composition etc, and it was a 24 exposure film so I wanted to be intentional wth what I shot. However when I got it developed and got it back it had about 10 images I shot at the start of the film, missing. Maybe I didn’t wind it on enough before shooting properly. This is a real shame because I could have used those images as they were some of the best ones. I also used a flash gun on this film and wanted to do the ‘fill in flash’ effect. For some reason it musn’t have connected properly to the film camera (as it was a digi Canon speed lite), and I was left with unsalvagable, silhouette, images. This was disappointing but I can learn for next time.

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