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A dark room is basically any room or area that is fixed so that no light can enter into it. This is required to develop photographic materials without damaging them. Most photographic material including film negatives are very sensitive to light.

Dark rooms have been used since the early 1900's to develop black and white photographs. For developing black and white film, the room or area does not have to be completely dark. If you are developing anything with color, the room or area must be free of any type of light. So how do developers see what they are doing?

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A safelight is a special amber colored light that gives the developer enough light to see, but it is not bright enough to expose the paper. If you are interested in making a dark room in your home, it is not a difficult process.

The first process is to make sure the work area will be safe. Then you need to ensure that

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absolutely no light, including sunlight will get into the area. This includes rays of light that can come in under the door. Once you have secured the darkness of the area, you are ready to install equipment.

You may already have some equipment or choose to purchase it new. You may also want to search online for used equipment. Often you can find used equipment in excellent shape at a great price. The most important pieces of equipment you need are an enlarger and lens. If you are buying new, it is likely they will be sold together. If you are buying used, look for a set together. You can purchase each part separately, but they work better if they are from the same manufacturer and of the same quality. You will want to purchase a quality safelight that allows you to see, but does not allow light that will damage your work into the area.

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A timer is essential so that you do not over expose your developments. It is easy to get distracted and not notice the time. Even an extra minute or two can seriously damage your project. If you plan to do large prints 8x10 or bigger, you will want to invest in an easel. It is not necessary for smaller sized prints.

The chemicals you purchase will depend on the type of projects you want to do. A photography shop or some online research can point you in the right direction. A few small items you will also need are binder clips and development trays. For easy clean up keep paper towels, plastic spoons, masking tape, and a squeegee available. You should be ready to start having some fun now, and enjoying the results of having your own dark room to work in.

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