Developing your own film is a satisfying way to complete a photography project. Not only did you shoot the photos with your own camera, but you helped bring them to fruition by processing the film and ending up with physical prints. To do this, you need more than a dark room. Film processing chemicals are required to develop your negatives and turn them into finished prints, so find out everything you need to about film processing chemicals before moving forward.
The most crucial part of the film developing process is using developer. The chemical actually works to enhance your negatives and in essence, brings out the images in them to actually produce the photo. The developer solution is a mix of chemicals that results in an acidic combination to properly develop pictures. There are different brands of film developer available, and you may have to try a couple of in order to pick a favourite. Developer also depends on whether you are processing black and white or colour film. Some common developer brands include Ilford and Kodak. To save money, purchase a kit which includes all of the chemicals you need to process your film, or buy each chemical separately in the quantities you desire.
Fixer stops the film from processing further, to ensure the image stays as it is. This is the final step in film processing, and once you use fixer, there is no more changing or manipulating the photo. The mixture contains chemicals that stop the chemical reaction which produces light sensitivity in the photo. Some of the chemicals in fixer include ammonium and sodium thiosulphate.
When you are worried about chemicals causing photo exposure, stop bath is the answer. This chemical stops the developer from working, which continues to process the negatives until you stop it. Stop bath halts the chemical process, so once you apply it, it is okay to turn the lights on in your dark room and look at your pictures safely without exposing them.
After you process your photos, you must rinse all of the chemicals from the photographs. To do this, use a rinse aid. One of the most popular rinse aids is Kodak Photo Flo and another is Hypo Clear. These solutions not only rinse the photos, but help dry them faster, too. There are no streaks left behind on the photos.
Film Processing Supplies
Processing film is not just about chemicals; you need the right tools for the task. Buy a developing tank, developing trays, measuring cylinders, print tongs, and negative clips to hang the finished photos. You may need a dark room thermometer, reels, and accordion bottles to keep your chemicals. A film squeegee helps remove excess water or rinse aid from your pictures after processing.