View Full Version : Paper Negative Questions

17-May-2008, 08:11
I would like to try using paper negatives in 8x10. I reviewed online sites and they didn't go into depth about certain areas. Here are my questions:
1) Do you use a graded paper or multi grade for the positive print? I am using a graded paper for the negative.
2) I'm going to use a 15 watt bulb for making the positive print. What would be a (general) starting exposure time?
3) Any other tips, tricks or secrets are greatly appreciated :)

Thanks, Mike C.

Darryl Baird
17-May-2008, 10:10
I'd use graded paper for both neg and positive... allows for better contrast control, especially the negative (I currently use a medium yellow).

Paper's ISO (IME) is about 2-6; for a "ball-park" exposure for the negative. The printing is different; how to measure the "density" of the paper backing is only arrived at by step testing. Once you've arrived at a good exposure time, burning and dodging is tricky since the paper base is opaque.

17-May-2008, 11:15
Thank You Darryl, Mike.

robert fallis
17-May-2008, 14:35
Make sure you use some sort of printing frame, to hold the two paper emulsions in contact when printing; a sheet of glass will do, otherwise the places where the two emulsion are not in firm contact will be out of focus, it took me sometime to figer that out.


17-May-2008, 20:17
i have been shooting lf paper negatives for quite some time now.
i shoot 4x5 - 11x14 paper. iso 6 is a good place to start, but depending
on the type of light and the kind of day it is, you might be right on, or way off
with your light meter reading. if you have a blue filter, make your reading
through that, and you might get more consistent metering results.
i've flashed the paper to reduce contrast, and most of the time
use older paper that mighe be slightly fogged. while i have never used
VC filters, i've seen them do great things with (other people's ) paper negatives,
they also increase exposure times quite a bit.

i use vc and graded double weight paper as well as single weight,
i like to work with single weight the best - its easier to handle in the
developer and easier to print. trim the edges a little bit, film isn't
really 8x10 &C but about 1/32" less. one thing you can do is wax the paper to
make it translucent. you can use parafin or beeswax - it does the same
thing that a brown-bag does with fried food ... if you want to retouch
portraits or lighten shadow areas, or even remove phone/electrical
lines "the olde fashion way" you can do it with pencil on the back of your negative.
it takes a little bit of practice and is not as critical as retouching on film.
paper is forgiving and will block some of your pencil strokes. if you have
ever retouched film with leads, you probably know how difficult it is to get the
right "stroke" that blends and doesn't enlarge.

the way i have been processing my paper negatives is kind of out-there.
rather than just doing a paper developer with the correct dilutions for making
prints, i adopted a technique using dilute partially exhausted developer to give
a little more control and a water bath so when the tones start coming out, you
can put the image in the water to slow down development & back in again to
speed things up. i use ansco 130, but i am sure any paper developer will work
fine -
if you make a negative that is nice and contrasty, and looks exactly like you
want the positive print to look, it will be washed out when you make your
contact print. the ideal paper negative is neither thin or contrasty,
but just in between :)

have fun :)

- john