In photography, printing is the term used to describe
the process of making positive images from negatives
(and in some instances, from film positives). The most
familiar example is the print made on a paper base. A
photographic print is made by passing light through the
negative onto a piece of paper coated with a
light-sensitive emulsion, very similar to film.
The two primary methods of making photographic
prints are contact printing and projection printing.
The principal difference in the two methods is the
method of exposing the paper. In contact printing, the
paper is physically in contact with the negative; while
in projection printing, the paper is separated from the
negative, and the image of the negative is projected onto
the paper by a lens. Because projection printing is
usually used to produce an enlarged image, it is
generally referred to as enlarging. Contact printing
produces positive images that are the same size as the
negative images. Enlarging usually produces positive
images that are larger than the negative image; however,
because optics are used in projection printing, the image
formed on the paper can also be made smaller or the
same size as the negative image.
The quality of the photograph can be varied during
printing through the choice of printing material,
exposure, and processing. In printing, some negative
defects may be compensated for, thereby eliminating the
reproduction of the defect in the print.
A well-planned, black-and-white or print room
should have at least the following material and
equipment arranged properly so the flow of work moves
easily from one stage to another:
A contact and/or projection printer (enlarger)
A sink large enough to accommodate the largest
trays used in the print room
A set of print trays
A wall clock with a second hand
Photographic printing papers are predominantly
blue and green sensitive and may be processed under the
appropriate safelight conditions. Consult the data sheet
packaged with the paper you are using or the
Photo-Lab-Index for the recommended safelight.
A minimum of three trays are needed for hand
processing prints. The trays should be arranged in the
sink from left to right-one each for developer, stop bath,
and fixing bath. The ideal setup has five trays-one each
for developer, stop bath, first fixer, second fixer, and a
water rinse. This setup saves chemicals and results in
better fixing of prints.
The chemistry used to develop and fix prints is
similar to and serves the same purposes as film
processing. When processing conditions are controlled
carefully, the processing specifications recommended
by manufacturers for their printing papers can be used
to provide excellent and consistent results.
The print developer used most commonly in Navy
imaging facilities is the llford Multigrade developer.
The recommended tray processing developing times
vary with the type of paper and developer being used.
With the developer at 68°F, resin-coated paper
development is complete in about 2 minutes. The image
appears in about 30 seconds. Because developer is
incorporated in the paper, the useful capacity of 1 gallon
of Ilford Multigrade developer (diluted 1:9) is about 400
8x10 prints, or equivalent.
Any standard stop bath serves sufficiently. A stop
bath may be used at all times, but it is necessary when
processing a large number of prints; furthermore, the use
of a stop bath after development prolongs the life of the
fixing bath. If no acid is available for a stop bath, a water
rinse should be used after the developer.
A standard fixing bath should be used to fix the
prints. Consult the Photo-Lab-Index for the various
prepared chemicals available for fixing prints. Follow
the manufacturers instructions when fixing prints
because there are adverse effects in over-fixation as well
as underfixation. Overfixation tends to produce thinning