I’ve got an enlarger and a whole mess of film, so it’s about time that I start making black & white prints. This is something I’ve been anxious to do since I started shooting film earlier this year. The problem is that I’ve only got the enlarger and none of the other items necessary to make a print.

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After pricing things out, I’ve determined that it will cost about $300 to have a fully stocked darkroom (aka the kids bathroom). That’s a chunk of change that I can’t fully justify quite yet, so I’ve devised a plan that could make it possible — but it all depends on you guys.

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I’m considering offering black & white prints (silver gelatin process using traditional darkroom methods) at a seriously low price for a very limited time. My hope is that I can raise enough money to cover the cost of the darkroom supplies and maybe a little extra so I can buy film developing supplies too.

IF there seems to be enough interest, I’ll probably offer the following items from my collection of public b/w film photos:

  • $20 for an 8 x 10 print, not signed
  • $100 for a 16 x 20 or 11 x 14 print, signed and limited

The price includes shipping, to any location (I’m assuming that the average cost of shipping will be less than $10). If I go ahead and do this, I’ll probably take orders for a month or two at the rates listed above. After that point, only signed prints will be available at the typical $300+ range (because they are limited prints, typically 30 to 50). So…


And as always, feel free to comment on this little experiment before I decide to pull the trigger.

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Hmm. I’m sort of in a similar place as you right now. I just ordered the supplies necessary to develop my own film, but decided against trying to print via traditional methods. Or at least investing in the equipment to do so. I may take a class from a local community college to actually dabble in it. Regardless, I decided to scan and print. Partly as a cost savings measure: I already have the scanner and printer. More because I’m relatively comfortable with my ability to print at least somewhat competently. Throw in the Photoshop ability once scanned, and I think that’s where I want to be. At least for now.

Keep in mind that I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I choose.

November 7, 2008 6:26 am

“Maybe, depends” – but only based on the availability of my disposable income and the value of the AUS$ :)

November 7, 2008 7:43 am

As another photographer with limited wall space to display other people’s work, I’d be more inclined to buy an 8×10 than something bigger, but if I’m going to do that then I’d rather it be signed. Consider adding that as an option and you might get a few more Yes’s in your vote…

November 7, 2008 9:46 am

@Nick Totally a viable route to take. I considered doing the same, but several factors pushed me to preferring the darkroom printing. My Dad dug up his old enlarger and shipped it to me, so the biggest chunk of the expense is taken care of. The other thing is that I’ve seen the difference between digital prints from scans and darkroom prints — there’s just something magic about it.

@Sean I hadn’t thought of that… but I’m sure I could offer signed 8×10′s. The price would be higher than $20, but lower than $100.

November 7, 2008 11:37 am

I think $20 is quite reasonable for an 8×10. I certainly would consider buying prints for that price. The purchase of a signed copy would depend on how much I love the photo and, of course, my disposable income. But I would say that $100 is also a reasonable price.

November 7, 2008 12:53 pm

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Niels Henriksen

November 7, 2008 1:30 pm

Yes, I’ll be purchasing the rest of my equipment very soon, and I’ll be producing the prints myself.

I know what you mean about building the skill level in the darkroom, but I’m confident that I can produce sales-worthy prints in a short amount of time. I wouldn’t dare ship anything out that I wasn’t completely satisfied with – even a $20 8×10.

Perhaps what I should do is order the stuff and start producing prints before I decide to offer them for sale.

November 8, 2008 7:52 pm

I had broached the subject of buying one of the signed prints with the wife, and was debating over which to get. Unfortunately, with the death of my camera, I am going to be struggling with raising funds to get another one.

A photographer without a camera is …. well, just some guy without a camera. =(

November 10, 2008 1:32 pm

I think it depends if one happens to catch my eye. I feel like usually in these sitatuions when it comes to artwork, it’s not the price that makes the decision but it is the subject that makes it.

If I see something I like and I know i’d want in my room, i’d say yes to 20 dollars or even 100 dollars.

November 12, 2008 11:21 pm

I’m almost in the same boat as you except I need a darkroom to rent. I have the equiptment but my place is too small. Does anyone know where I can rent a darkroom?
By the way, digital is fine, but there is nothing that can beat the warm feeling you get by producing a nice black and white print.

don semo

January 31, 2009 8:51 am

Comment now!