good negative has normal density and contrast. It must
be sharp and free from such defects as scratches,
abrasions, dust, lint, and fingerprints.
Insert the negative in the negative carrier so the
emulsion side is down when placed in the enlarger. In
other words, the base of the negative (the shiny side)
should be up or facing the lamp when inserted into the
enlarger. Clean the negative and be sure there is no dust
on it. You can use the light from the enlarger to check
for dust. Blow off any dust with a bulb syringe or
low-pressure air. Then, use a camel-hair brush to brush
or lift off any remaining dust. Replace the negative
carrier containing the negative into the enlarger; ensure
it is seated properly.
Set the paper guide or masking device on the easel
to form the border width needed or use a preset easel.
As an aid for composing and focusing the image
accurately, place a sheet of white paper in the easel-the
base side of the paper is used for a focusing sheet-then
turn out all white lights.
Turn the enlarger lamp on, open the lens to its
maximum aperture, and move the easel around until the
desired portion of the image is in the picture area Raise
or lower the enlarger head on the upright standard or
column and focus the image. Shift the easel as needed,
and continue these adjustments until the image is
enlarged (or reduced) to the desired size, focused
sharply, and composed on the easel correctly.
The size of projection prints is limited by the optical
system used and the working space available. A scene
may be printed in sections on several sheets of paper and
spliced together. Likewise, the enlarger can be turned
180 degrees and projected on the floor. If you use this
baseboard method, be sure to counterweight the enlarger
by placing a heavy weight on the baseboard to prevent
the enlarger from tipping over.
The picture is easier to compose with the scene
right-side up. When it is upside down from your point
of view, the negative carrier should be rotated or
removed and the negative repositioned. The image
appears right-side up on the easel when it is positioned
upside down in the negative carrier.
You should adjust the easel until the best
composition is obtained. When composing the image,
try to correct errors of image composition in the
negative. The way the scene is composed on the negative
may be a controlling factor in the final composition.
Straighten the horizon, and when possible, prevent it
from cutting the print image in half. When the horizon
is not to be included in the print, make sure vertical
objects are parallel to the sides of the print. When the
space around the point of interest of the picture is
distracting, you can change the composition of the
picture through cropping. You can do this by increasing
or decreasing the magnification of the image and by
readjusting the easel.
After the image is correctly composed and focused,
the lens aperture should be stopped down so your basic
exposure time is about 10 seconds. An exposure time of
10 seconds allows you to accomplish a normal amount
of dodging and is fast enough to be practical for quantity
production. The exact amount the lens should be stopped
down depends on the density of the negative and the
magnification of the image. This can be difficult to
determine without experience. If you are new to
printing, you should start by stopping down the lens to
about f/5.6 or f/8 for a normal negative.
There are many factors that affect exposure times in
the enlarging process. Some of these factors are as
The light source and illumination system of the
The f/stop of the lens
The density of the negative
The degree of enlargement
The speed of the paper
The density and color of the contrast printing
The best way for you to determine the correct
enlarging exposure is by making a test strip. Although
the test strip is the most reliable way to determine
exposure, you do not need a test strip for every
enlargement. It is, however, a wise practice whenever
you are in doubt as to the exact exposure required.
A test strip for enlarging is made the same way as
for contact printing. When making the enlargement test
strip, you must try to select the proper printing filter
based on negative contrast.
Once the printing filter has been determined, set the
enlarger for producing the desired size prints. Set the
lens f/stop at f/5.6 or f/8, for example. Next, examine

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