Introduction to Photo Editing Pt1


When you look at an amazing image
in a magazine or up on the wall in an exhibition chances are it’s undergone
some degree of post production work. With digital photography this would obviously
happen in a computer and I know that some of you love fiddling with your images, adjusting and tweaking which is brilliant. But i also know lots of you don’t. You’ve written in and you said you’d
much rather get it right in camera and just be able to leave it alone. But even back in the days of fiml when
you took your roll of film to a high street mini-lab, they would have
adjusted the density how bright or dark it is, and even the colors, even though you
didn’t know about it. Post production has actually been
around pretty much since the dawn of photography. I’m here at Itchen college in
southampton who have kindly lent me their Dark Rooms to show you what I mean. As I’m back at college I thought it would be a ‘bit of a Wheeze’ to make a print from one of the very first black-and-white negs I ever shot when I was doing ‘City and Guilds’ at college myself which was twenty-odd years ago! Look – this is a flat looking image. A bit misty and dull – it is a bit lifeless! With a little bit of post-production in
the dark room I think I can make a big difference
to that. Right – that’s the enlarger loaded with a new
sheet of paper. To increase contrast in the good
old days – you had to use either a different grade of paper, or one of these. It is
a contrast filter. This paper sensitive to different colored light so I’m using
a number three contrast filter to lift the contrast a bit. I want it a little bit darker so I’ve open the aperture on the
elarger bit. It’s a bit of a ‘Faff’ compared to digital! So I’m going to put the coloured filter over the lens of the enlarger and we’re just going to make an exposure. There it goes. 14 second exposure, and I’ve opened the aperture of the enlarger a bit so it is letting out a little more light, because in photographic printing more
light means a darker print. Where as in the ‘film’ side of things it would be overexposed and be too bright. Right – that’s our initial exposure. Next thing I wanted to do was to darken in that sky. So what I’m going to do is open up the lens of the enlarger some more… so that’s one – almost 2 clicks. A ‘click’ and a half I’ve done because I want lots more light to hit the
sky. How under the control it and make it more moody round the edges is with what is called ‘Dodging and Burning’. I want the light to hit the ’empty’ sky area which will make it go dark. To achieve this. Instead of making a hole
with my hands – which I could do and let light pass through it onto the sky area. I’m going to mask the area that’s OK. Like doing sea gull impressions on a wall. Here we go… The emlarger is set, we’re going to run another 14 seconds, and I’ve got to be very ready! Here we go! Hands under the light I need to make a little shape here to dodge that All the time there is light ‘burning’ onto the top of the picture and the Church Spire and the sky, but it should not be doing anything on the rest of it which was OK. I’m going to give it a tiny ‘burn’ around the edges as well. A quick one of those in the corner to put a dark
vignette all the way around these corners… and we should be there. Let’s go and see what we’ve got. Did it work? This is kind of exciting! This is the bit I which I used to really enjoy doing this is I suppose like the modern uh… watching the of paper come out of the printer. 20 seconds – slide it under the chemicals and let’s see what happens! This process takes about 60 seconds The way this works is there is silver in the paper and silver tarnishes doesn’t it! These chemicals are accelerating the tarnish process effecting silver crystals which have
already had light hit them and it accelerates the ‘tarnish’. Look look – here we go! We’ve got that very moody thing going on in
the corners of the sky were l ‘dodged it so very different look to the ‘straight’ print we have outside. It’s going to take a few more seconds as we wash this back and forwards. With color printing that was a whole different ball game
because you couldn’t work under red light. Color printing was all done in complete
darkness pitch black not like this – no matter what you saw in movies! Pop that into there to stop the developer. Believe it or not Kodak in London in their labs – and
possibly around the world – were the largest employers of blind people in the world. Because obviously, blind people can work
in these conditions and is no different is completely normal so they were
brilliant when it comes to working with
photographic printing. Right – let’s rock that back and forward. This is called ‘Fix’. This is bleaching away any of the silver crystals which have NOT been affected by light because we
don’t want those. If you put this picture outside into the day light all the unaffected crystals be start to be affected by light and the picture will vanish. So it’s going to take about a minute of washing backwards and forwards and
being ‘bleached’. but as you see already just looking at in the tray that’s a bit of post-production and it’s a lot more ‘Faffy’ than it is on the computer but it does result in a very nice image. All this ‘Dodging and Burning’ they will happen in the computer – you
have a little hand which does this you’ll see that later. A few more seconds … that’s fixed. It has bleached away the silver and we can put it into the wash. All we are doing now is washing it to take away any of the chemicals so we can go outside. Here we go – fresh out the dryer, and quite different. Look here is the original
print very grey, washed out no sky detail. In this one I have gone a little over the top but with some post production it is much darker, more moody and I’ve added some sky contrast. You can see, post-production has made a big difference. You could also do image manipulation in a
dark room using bleach on a print you could remove
things from the picture that you didn’t want in it. Very often you would see black-and-white shots of models which have had their eyes bleached in the white areas to make them much more ‘Starey’. You could add things by sandwiching negatives negatives together in the enlarger and printing through them both at the same time. You could do loads of things working with colour you could do some
amazing stuff but you had to be very very skillful you also have to have a whole bunch of
chemicals which deteriorated pretty quickly and the big down side whatever way you did it – you needed a great
big dark room to do it in!

46 Replies to “Introduction to Photo Editing Pt1”

  1. That is so cool πŸ˜€ Iv'e never been in a dark room before!
    The processes sort of puts the photoshop tools in context.

    Two questions,
    How would blind people, or in pitch blackness normal people know how the picture turned out?
    And Why RED light?

  2. Thank you. Would love to do more of this kind of thing but to be honest it's not that popular. Am thinking about making some films with an artist friend who used film based photography in her work which might interest you. – Mike

  3. Dude! I learn tons with your videos! I've never been in a darkroom (I'm a digital guy) so this taught me a lot. I'm gonna use this video as a response every time someone tries to trash other photographers for developing their images in Photoshop or Lightroom. Thanks! Keep them coming!

  4. I've never seen the 'old' development process so thank you very much. Very impressed with your skills! I didn't appreciate that is how a dodge and burn was done (I.e. with hands – but I know realise that is why the icon is such in photoshop!!).

  5. I kinda always wanted to know what PhotoShop looked like before PC era, how it worked and how it was used. Now I know !
    πŸ˜‰

  6. Thanks so much Mike for the video. Pre-digital I spent a fortune at Snappy Snaps rather than sending the film away as the quality was always so much better now I know why πŸ™‚

  7. Mike – just for a bit of fun, I would love to see you go through a shoot with Tasha or whoever using a film camera and then develop the images yourself.

    Would you be up for that?

  8. I would love to – however these vids take an average of 16 hours to plan, film and edit so I have to aim for things that lots of people are interested in. Sorry but so far I have only one request for this and that's yours ;-( Sorry to disappoint – Mike

  9. No worries Mike. You keep making quality videos and I'll keep watching them.

    Yours and Jayne's time and effort put into these videos are very much appreciated!

    Is Jayne your wife/partner or just your business partner btw?

  10. Thanks. Actually you can help us make more by clicking the like buttons and sharing them with all your friends. Jayne was my business partner and though she's still involved she's no longer a director of the company.

  11. Correction; I have gone back to film and in a previous video I did ask you to shoot film with your Medium Format camera. Now you have two requests to shoot film and show the results. Thanks for this one and I hope to see a lot more on film.
    p.s. as I type this I have 13 Acros 100, 9 Tri-X, 2 Delta 400, 1 Delta 100, 10 Neopan 400, 10 Tmax 100 and 5 Velvia 100F ( all 120) bought as a job lot just waiting for the right light. I will dev the B&W in Prescysol EF.

  12. Mike, Absolutely adore your videos. After stepping away from photography back in the days of film I have recently decided to go digital. Your videos have been extremely helpful. This video brought back many fond memories of hours upon hours in the darkroom. Keep on producing your videos they are Priceless. Thank you for all of your dedication and hard work. I will share your U-Tube channel on my Facebook page.

  13. Sorry missed your post. Depends how it's been stored. If it was in a fridge where it should be then it will probably work fine, colour might be a bit weird depending on how old it is.

  14. Reminds me of when I was in high school in the late 70's. We had a black and white darkroom that I probably spent too much time in. Fortunately, this was back in the day when US schools paid for supplies for people in the "Photo Club". Brings back some good memories, though I'm glad I don't have to smell those chemicals anymore! Ironically, just watching this, my smell memory was jogged (strongest, longest lasting memory area) and I could smell some of the chemicals while you were developing! πŸ™‚

  15. This brings back memories of my childhood when I would spend hours in my dads darkroom messing about and doing what you did in the video, Thanks for the memory. Another great video, keep them coming Mike

  16. Thank you physicsanand. Please help us spread the word and grow the community by 'liking' 'G+ing', sharing our videos and linking to us on photo forums, Facebook etc

  17. Smelt the chemicals, memories… Near to none of the online photographers who post tutorials on youtube could have pulled this one off. Great tutorial, well done Mike. Another superb tutorial, this guy is great!
    BTW was that a Durst enlarger?

  18. Ha Ha – thank you. I think it was. A local college let us film in their dark rooms and I don't remember what make their enlargers were.

  19. That was so interesting. I liked all the notes on the walls to remind students the same thing over and over again. I also liked the one that said, "Are you doing enough independent study"? Before the age of ten, my father had a dark room in the basement with the red light going. He did photography before I was Ten. Then a bug crawled up his ass and he became a bastard, disposed of his dark room enlargers and stuff, and never showed me a thing. EVER. He still had his cameras safely locked away in the closet until they became obsolete. Nice guy he was.

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