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Thread: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

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    Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    I’ve done some searching on this forum, but I can’t see any how-to tips on contact printing as a final product. I love a contact print that you can stare at forever and fall into! Can you point me to an existing thread?

    Alternately, do you know any web resources? They all tell you how to put a sheet of 35mm to choose what to print, but not how to do it as the end result.

    I can contact print, but they aren’t very good. I’ve got my darkroom back up after the child-rearing fallow, and I want to practise, but directed practice is sometime better. Oh, 4x5 and 8x10. Regular paper to start.

    Thank you,

    Dean
    Last edited by Dean Lastoria; 24-Jul-2019 at 08:34.
    Dean Lastoria

  2. #2
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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Lastoria View Post
    I can contact print, but they aren’t very good.
    It will help if you can tell us what specifically you don't like about your current results.

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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    It will help if you can tell us what specifically you don't like about your current results.
    ^^^this^^^
    What do your images look like under a loupe?
    What method/equipment are you using?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Making a good contact print is not all that different from making an enlargement. The possibilities for burning and dodging are somewhat more limited, but otherwise, it's basically the same process. I agree with Oren : if you explain what the problem is with your prints, it's easier to think of possible solutions.

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    2 things help any contact print.

    First you need to have a way to ensure the negative and image paper is very tightly and evenly in contact.

    Second is enough appropriate light that will evenly cover the entire area.

    I have at least 3 methods of making contact prints.

    A Print File Custom Negative Proofer which works for up to 8X10.

    B For anything up to 16X20 a old vacuum press frame Here's one discussion on them.

    C I have a very old metal box Contact Printer with internal lamps, a 1/4" glass plate and a hinged soft pressure plate that seals light and hold the 2 pieces very tightly. Picture of mine later. Here is a bunch of them, but I don't recomend any of the ones FS.
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  6. #6

    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Good info here: http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/html/Azo_Main.html

    See Writings about Azo: "On Printing"

  7. #7
    David Schaller
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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    The better the negative the better the print. If you’re not happy with the print, start by taking more care exposing and developing your negative.

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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    what everyone else has already suggested, esp the firm contact between the negative and paper. Also make sure you have good blacks as it a) let's you know whether your exposures are good or not, and b) it looks better than something approaching black, but is really a very dark grey. muddy iow

    and make sure your contact frame glass is spotless. can't emphasize this enough because spotting contact prints is beyond hellacious.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  9. #9

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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Dean,

    Even though you said "regular paper to start," you should realize that one major advantage of contact printing over enlarging is that you can use alternative process techniques. These processes are not that difficult to learn and the results can be amazing. Christopher James' book is an excellent reference:

    https://www.christopherjames-studio....okreviews.html

    Pete



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Contact printing “how-to” but as a final product, not a proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Roody View Post
    Dean,

    Even though you said "regular paper to start," you should realize that one major advantage of contact printing over enlarging is that you can use alternative process techniques. These processes are not that difficult to learn and the results can be amazing. Christopher James' book is an excellent reference:

    https://www.christopherjames-studio....okreviews.html

    Pete

    I didn't know about this book, but it looks like a worthy addition to the library. The price of a new one made me gasp. But I found a used copy on Amazon for about 1/5 the price of new. :-)
    Last edited by William Whitaker; 25-Jul-2019 at 08:04.

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