Silver Gelatin Print Processing Steps

Also view
Pre-exposure Flashing
Setup, basic steps video
Making a contact print
Making an enlargement print
Cleaning up
The following is just a basic outline, and the process sequence will vary and amplify with more advanced techniques.

A. !Always store the box of unexposed silver gelatin printing paper fully closed and in the dark! Open only under safe-light conditions

B. Prepare the process solutions and arrange all in the sequence of usage with the developer tray farthest from the print washing area. Note: temperatures for all solutions and washes are 68 °F / 20 °C. Use a thermometer. The development time below is for a Developer temperature of 68 °F. Please consult the Time/Temperature Chart for alternative times if the temperature varies.

Pour water at 68 °F into about 3L containers. Then use this batch to prepare all the solutions. This way, all your process temperatures are the same.

The Volume of solutions per tray
10×12 inch trays are 1000 ml / 12×16 inch trays are 1500 ml

Arrange three trays (developer, stop, fixer) plus one more for rinse and carrying out to wash. Prepare the following mixtures of concentrate + water to make a final volume of 1000ml or 1600ml

These volumes are needed for the following solutions and steps:

Developer – LPD paper developer at 1+3 dilution
• 250 ml concentrate + water to make a final volume of 1000ml or
• 400 ml concentrate + water to make a final volume of 1600ml

Exhaustion rate: 2 hours or the equivalent of forty 8×10″ prints, whichever comes first

Stop Bath  – Water
exhaustion rate: fresh for every print

• about 1/2 inch deep, enough to easily immerse the print

Fixer – Ilford Rapid or Hypam Fixer: 1 part concentrate + 4 parts water
exhaustion rate: 2 hours or the equivalent of forty 8×10″ prints, whichever comes first
• 200 ml concentrate + water to make up a final volume of 1000ml
• 300 ml concentrate + water to make up a final volume of 1500ml

Wash  – Start the archival print washer: close exit the pipe, turn on the faucet to fill; once water is up to the top of the tank, open the exit pipe fully and then close by four “clicks,” close the faucet until it “hisses”; load prints from the rear, left and right. See instructional video.

Switch on the Safe-Light
Switch off the white light

C. Processing, time in minutes: seconds (00:00)

1.     Developer  02:30

Slide print into developer face-up, constant gentle agitation for 01:00, flip print face down, and back to face up. From this point, make sure the print remains submerged by gently pressing, when necessary, down along its edges with the flat surface of the tong tip. Agitate gently for about 5 seconds every 30 seconds. At 02:20 m:s, remove and hold up print by one corner to drain for 10 seconds. Then place it in Stop Bath.

2.     Stop Bath, fresh water  00:30

Constant gentle agitation, face up. Remove and hold up the print by one corner to drain for 10 seconds at 00:20.

3.     Fixer  2:00

Constant gentle agitation. Remove and hold up the print by one corner to drain for 10 seconds at 01:50.

4.     Rinse, fresh water  00:30

The print may be taken into a white light space from this point

5.     Wash with fresh water for 40 minutes
or for water conservation, in five cycles: let print soak in each cycle for 05:00, replacing  with fresh water each time
or use an archival print washer for 30 minutes (these are installed in the Wiggins darkrooms)

6.     Squeege and Dry  2 hours
Very carefully, ensure that other prints in the rack do not contact wet print. Lay face down on the rack, loading from the topmost rack, and move across, then down to the next rack.

7.     Clean up the area.

8.    Retrieve and File prints – reflect on the prints, update your printing notes and store the dried prints in your storage folio.

Make Notes
either in pencil on the back of the print or, more preferably, detailed notes in a notebook with a corresponding number penciled on the back of the print: any negative information/numbers, time and date of processing, solution temperatures, enlarger height, lens aperture, contrast filter, development time, developer type and concentration, and any other process notes such as dodging and burning.