Storage And Organization Of Images


Introduction to Black & White Film Photography


Lesson Info

Storage And Organization Of Images

To dry, you get a drying cabinet for film, which is that little thing that has a heater and it heats up and it'll dry in 20 minutes. I do not have a drying piece, nor do I ... Most people aren't going to go buy one. So, two things I like to do: One is if I've got access to the bathroom, for many hours unabated or you have a second bathroom with a shower, turn the shower on let hot water run and steam the bathroom. That's gonna catch the dust particles. It'll settle the dust particles, and hang the film in there and let it dry. Now, if you got a bathroom where everybody and their dog is going in and out of it, every time they open the door dust is gonna blow onto that film. Dust is your enemy at this point, because the film is wet. If dust hits it, it's gonna embed itself into the emulsion, you're not gonna be able to get it off. So, we want to try to have it in that spot where that's not gonna happen. So if you've got a bathroom like that, that's a great solution. The other thing I've ...

done is, you can go to a ... Target, a Walmart, some store that sells a bunch of stuff, and they have these cheap closets made out of plastic. And so you buy them and it's extra clothes storage and they're about that tall, and I bought one of those, cause it can break down really easy, so if I don't need it, and basically it just has a couple of curtain rods in it to hang ... curtain rods ... no it has clothe rods. They're not curtains in there, it's clothing. A couple clothing rods in there, and you can hang the film in there and zip it closed and it can just dry in there. And there's not dust in there, the winds not gonna blow it, and then like I said, when it's done it can disappear and go away. So, that's the piece you would wanna do for when it's dry. Then once it's dry ... and through the magic of television ... Of course now I can't get it out of its little container. I have a roll of film here that was developed ... I can do this ... almost there ... the edges ... Oh it's ... (gasp of relief) So the film would have come out, and because it dried hanging, it ends up with, relatively straight. Okay, so that's what ... it's got a little bit of curl left in it, but this is the actual film. Now, what we need to do is, I gotta somehow get this in a storage solution that's gonna make sense. Cause this is not really convenient. I'm like, "Hey people, look at my photographs." And I'm like, "I'm gonna go scan this." Okay, so when I'm working with the ... With film I can buy storage sheets. So, what you're looking for are ones that are archival. So these are ... If they're made out of plastic they'll off-gas. The off-gas can damage the negatives. So, they'll just be negative archival. You can see right there at the top. So what that does is it's just not gonna off-gas. Now because this is 120 film, they make it really convenient for you; they sell a variety of them. So you have to count, you're like, "Okay, so I'm shooting that format, that'll hold that many negatives in one sheet." 35 millimeter, the exact same problem. It'll be like, "Oh, this holds 34 frames." You'll be like, "It's a roll .." It's like buying hot dogs. You're like, "Eight hot dogs ... ten hot dogs, eight buns." Same problem, okay, so in this case though I'm gonna use this negative sleeve because it holds nine of my ten frames. And then I'm just gonna show you how I double up. So, negative sleeve for storage. I'm gonna show you on a light table here. Get that out ... I'm gonna dry my light table; man I was messy! Okay, mega-dry my light table ... Okay. And I'm gonna just show you guys. If you look through you can see there's the gap between the film. That's the clear area, that area is what's known as the film base plus fog. So, even though there was no exposure there, the developer actually caused a slight, little hit of development there. But what I'm gonna do is, I need to cut between those. Now you can see because of the way my film advanced, I don't always necessarily have even spacing between my negatives. So in this case, this sheet is going to hold three negatives in a row. So what I'm gonna do is very carefully line myself up, and I'm just gonna cut between the frames. Now, if I cut, and cut the negative, I cut the negative. Okay, I also have this little tail up here. I don't need that full tail, so I can go ahead and cut that. The same thing, i want to cut a nice, straight cut. And you want to leave yourself a little bit of an edge there; don't cut to the edge. Because if you're gonna enlarge this, or if you're gonna put it in a slide to scan, that little bit of edge is gonna help you to keep the image flat. And then it's just gonna slide into the negative carrier like this. And then we would do that for the next one: you'd come down, you'd cut the next one, you measure out your three, and you're just gonna cut down the line. Okay, if it's not perfectly straight, I don't go in and try to fix it, cause I'm already pretty much close to the edge. Cause I thought loading film upside down was hard; cutting it's even harder. Okay, so now we get down to the end and I'd have this last little tail. So one of the things I would do is, I'm gonna cut this, and I wouldn't waste another sheet, I would cut this and I would basically just stack this. So I've got enough room in here. I would probably just backslide this underneath and just know that I've got two negatives there. The key is to make sure I get on the edges so that i don't scratch, and I would just tuck that in there like that. You could grab a whole 'nother sheet, but this way I have the whole row there like that. So that would be my piece for that. Now, if I was loading all three of these up ... This one here's a little scratch ... I'd then end up with basically all of my little images in a little picture. And I'm almost done with my storage and archival process. Now, this was a roll taken at Fort Casey, Whidbey Island, August 2018. Now ... do you see any metadata? I'll even let you get really close. There is no metadata. There is no like, bring it into light room, like "Hey, what camera did I use? Was that a Tuesday?" No. So, we have to label this roll somehow. So they give you this little section up here that you can write on. So what you wanna do is label that somehow. So, every roll should get somehow labeled, because in here, you can also ... there's a little number down here. Like here's a 14 ... there's a nine ... There'll be one, two, three, four, five, six. Okay, that's the frame number. So if I printed this image, and then three years later I come back, I need to know like, "Where do I find that?" So I can either go through ... digital people do this, by the way ... it's not film people. Digital people are like, "I could have organized my light room catalog, but when I need to find a photo I start at the top, and I scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll ..." and then like, "scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll." You could do the same thing with your film. You could just do this, throw it in the jar, and then you basically pull it out, light table, "Nope," light table, "nope," light table, "nope." But if you write across the top some identifier of the roll, "Roll Number Six. 'X' date," then when you actually make a print, you'd just identify, "That was off roll six, frame 26." You can easily come back and find the photograph later to print and process. Okay, so that organization is important, because the other thing you're gonna need to do is ... these are negatives, so we want to see positives of that. We'll talk a little about scanning and doing that in the next segment, but in the analog dark room, we would have taken this in and made a contact sheet. So we would have taken these negatives, we would have laid them down on a piece of photographic paper, exposed it under the light to the enlarger, and made little pictures of what's there. Your phone is an amazingly powerful tool. And Adobe has a Photoshop app for your phone. So if I can take my phone and take a picture of that negative, and in the Photoshop app (snaps finger) I can run the invert filter and create a positive out of it. So if I wanna quickly look at what my images are, I just take my app, I take a photograph of the negative, go into my Photoshop app, load it up and invert it. I can quickly see the negative. If I want I can take a picture of the whole contact sheet and invert that and get a quick look that way. So I've gone to that route with my contact sheets, instead of going to the analog world. I actually either shoot them with my digital phone and invert them, or I'll just scan it in the scanner. And we'll talk about scanning in the next segment. But that's how I get through and try to really figure out the different elements of that. So once I have the contact sheet created, the contact sheet gets the same identification as the roll information. So if it's Roll Six, with the date, my contact sheet gets labeled Roll Six, with the date. Because that way I'm looking at the contact sheet digitally and I'm like, "Oh that was on Roll Six." I go to my notebook ... three hole punch, ha ... Go to my notebook, pull out Roll Six, I can grab the frame, and easily find the photograph. Alright, so that's got us set up for processing a roll of film. And ... Is that out of the PhotoFlow? I was, I had a question on the PhotoFlow. Is that straight, or do I need to dilute? Nah you can just dump it straight. Okay. I was gonna show you the quick way but we'll ... We've got to PhotoFlow it before I make a big mess for that. But then once that's PhotoFlowed then it will basically look just like this one did before we cut it, and then it just needs to hang to dry, and then it'll be good to go. And that is developing film. Now, there was nothing other than the drying part and the little sleight of hand for the wash part that is any different from a time standpoint. So from developing film the big hit is the time for the developer. If you got 18 minutes in the developer, you got 18 minutes, if you got ten minutes, you got ten minutes. That's the only kinda big variable. But about an hour, you can develop a roll ... you could develop six rolls of film, eight rolls of film in an hour if you got going and had the tank that was big enough. So there was nothing here from a time standpoint that was done to make it look any different. So it's a really cool experience. Quickly get the film developed, and the feedback is pretty instantaneous. You can see from an exposure standpoint this is pretty dense exposure. That's a pretty nice looking exposure. That's a pretty nice looking exposure. So you can start to judge your thing. Now, it's negative, so you're like, what's light is shadow, what's dark is highlight. So you can start to get the image of the picture there. Through with the PhotoFlow. Oh cool. So, once the PhotoFlow is done, just real quick to show you what we ended up with ... and I'll show you my wash. This is the only time I have my hands touch the chemistry. Oh, I'm glad we're gonna keep this one. Pull it off, that's the squeegee action. And really it's just once, I'll do it twice, slower, so you can see it. But really I just try to pull that little bit off, but that's the roll of film. So I've got the lighthouse, other stuff on there. Nice thick, dense negatives, which make me happy. So then I just have these little clips. Clips will go on like that, film will hang. We're gonna hang it here and I'm just gonna stick a little bucket under there, because there'll be little pieces that drop off. Those fall in the bucket, they'll go into the rinse. Can you tell us again, in addition to some other questions, what is that little digital light table that you have? Yeah, so this is just a little LED light table. It allows you to look at negatives of any kind, and it's just really a thin little LED one. I have a bigger one that's about that big. This is five by seven, and I have negatives that are bigger than this, so it wouldn't sit on here. But it's just a little LED light table, like 80, 90 bucks, 100 bucks, something like that. Super light weight, they make some that are battery powered. But from developing to processing in the field, it's a great little piece. Awesome, and thank you. Alright, maybe some rapid fire. How often can chemicals be reused? And that comes from Stephen. Okay, a developer, in every case I can think of, developers are one and done. Indicator stop bath can be used over and over again until it indicates that it's not. Somewhere, 30, 40 rolls; depends on how big your gallon is. Fix is reused over and over again until it expires, 40 to 50 rolls, Perma Wash about the same thing. Some places actually just do Perma Wash fresh if they're doing prints or sometihng on a high volume. But film rise, yeah somewhere between 40 and 60 rolls is what I get out of a gallon of all my stuff. Alright, question from Terry Aceto. Can you use night vision goggles? Absolutely. When you were talking about doing the film. Yeah I have a friend who develops and does all his stuff with night vision goggles. Nice, cool. There was a question earlier you had mentioned, somebody asked about. DR5 was the old company that did it, and basically what it was is you took a black and white film and then they ran it through a processing to create a positive out of it. So a chrome slide of black and white film. And I have done that before, it actually works really ... It was cool enough when I did it and it creeped me out. Because it came out so good as a chrome. But slide film has a really limited, narrow range of exposure, and we expose a little different, and whatever that company has done allows for some of the latitude. But they have some very specific guidelines for exposing and processing up on their site. You definitely want to stay within the range of that, cause you don't have all the flexibility you'd have potentially with some of the other developers. Alright, this is from J.S. Rawlin, Jeff, in Dixon, California. Does extending the developing time effect the amount of grain or the coarseness of the grain? It does not effect the amount of grain, because that is set by the manufacturer. But it will potentially effect the sharpness, acutanse, and relative shape and size and relationship of the grain to each other. Okay, thank you, and from Daniel: What is the difference again between pushing with temperature and pushing with more time? That's a great question. They have ... the warmer the developer gets, the more aggressively it treats certain aspects of its qualities. So, if I wanna make a really ... I wanna push film like three or four stops off the development, I would use temperature, cause it's a more aggressive attacking of the development process than the length in time. And the reason for that is, the developer is exhausting as time moves on, so if I go from 13 minutes to 18 minutes, that developer is slowly on some scale dropping off in power. As the temperature is higher, it's immediately getting to be aggressive from the beginning, and then so we can more actively go after the development by being a higher temperature. That's a really good question though. Great; final one, from D.J.: Where do you buy the chemicals for developing? So where do you encourage people to look? There are a number of locations. In the bonus material I have a list of several places to actually buy chemical supplies from. The standard chemicals, you can get from ... Like if you're in the staging from B&H Photo, Adorama ... Adorama has the full line of everything, so, from tanks to developers and all that. There's a company out of Montana called the Photo Formulary, and they provide the raw chemicals. Bostick & Sullivan provides raw chemicals and historical pieces. Most local camera stores, if they're not like the mall camera stores that have gone 100% digital, will carry some variation of a little bit of the chemistry. But any of the big ... Samy's ... Any of the big retailers will carry it. The thing they have to kind of watch for is, depending on the mood of shipping regulations, government regulations, UPS, and FedEx, on any given week some chemicals are hazardous and some are not, and so it effects whether they will air ship them. So a lot of your chemistry will come ground shipping. So if you're like, "I got to have this tomorrow," hopefully you can find someplace to drive, because most of them will have to ground ship.

Class Description

The world of black & white photography is more than just “black and white.” With film photography you can control and create dynamic and detailed images that are timeless. Photographer, artist and educator Daniel Gregory will demonstrate how black and white photography can allow you to be more creative with your work. He’ll show the different types of film and how to meter for black & white as well as how you can get into the development process. This class will be your introduction into truly creating a photo from capture through print in the most hands on way.

You’ll learn:

  • Types of Film and how they impact the overall look
  • Zone System Basics
  • Metering for Black & White Film
  • Film Chemistry and development techniques
  • Safety and Storage for working with chemicals
  • Scanning your own negatives
  • How to push and pull film
  • Advanced exposure techniques and utilizing the zone system
  • Get hands on with your photography by learning to shoot with black and white film and learn techniques that you can bring into your digital workflow that ultimately will make you a stronger and more confident photographer.



    I am really fond of Daniel Gregory as a teacher. He does a great job. To me, his enthousiasm, his passion for and his dedication to film photography are infectuous. It's great that CreativeLive makes place for film photography and for such a pro teaching it. It can never do so enough for me. Thanks. I am a fan.


    This is an excellent course and Daniel is a great teacher! I'm coming back to shooting film and darkroom work after 20 years away. I have some wonderful film cameras sitting in my cabinet and I decided I wanted to use them--so I have decided to shoot BW with film, and shoot color with my digital cameras. I will develop the BW film myself and scan and print digitally. This class is perfect for me!


    Daniel is on fire! He gets better as the day gets longer. This is like being read a book by the author all in one day. Almost zero wasted words. Really intense—way beyond an intro course—and I loved every bit of it. Thanks, Daniel, and thanks, CL!