Reinventing the Darkroom Techniques

Since the digitized era penetrated the world of photography, the underlying dynamics of the art has been revolutionized enabling its ream to be practically limitless. With the many types of software available in the market such as Photoshop allows you to do things that was not possible in the days of film and the darkroom. There are extensive techniques and useful tricks that are still waiting to be discovered even by the most skilled photographers.

Even with all the newly developed methods that are waiting to be discovered, there are still the ageless practices that many photographers never get tired of recreating since the art of photography started over 160 years ago. Converting images to black and white and toning digital images with the use of Photoshop give the opportunity of showcasing your images in classic photography styles.

darkrm2 Reinventing the Darkroom TechniquesManipulation software is ideal to give your images a distinct style from a wide range of older techniques that were obscure or more popular at the time. These programs often have plug-ins or applications that can be downloaded and used on your images. But by using the standard adjustments and effect in Photoshop, you can make your ordinary images standout and add a lot more character.

Some of the more popular effects that you can try are:

Split-toning – this is an old darkroom practice where a black and white film is treated with two metallic tones in succession to make some of the midtones in the image become the same color and other are another. This can be done using an RGB scan of a black and white negative or to a desaturated digital image file. The adjustment is made by using Curves or Levels tool to the red, blue and green channels.

darkrm1 Reinventing the Darkroom TechniquesCross-processing – this is a technique that was popular in the music industry and many fashion photographers. Here color print film was processed in slide chemistry or slide film was processed like they were color negatives to create strange distortions in color and contrast that was very much the rage for magazine art editors.

Similar to split-toning, this can be done using Photoshop by adjusting the Curves of each channel such as using a full color image. Portraits yield better results. This type of adjustment typically recreates the processing of C41 negative film in E6 slide chemistry.

Sabattier effect – also known as solarization, is used to involve exposing the film or printing paper to light before it was fully developed. This can cause sight reversal to some of the tones darkrm3 Reinventing the Darkroom Techniquesand creating a tinge that is somewhat an in-between color of the original. This technique only allows you one opportunity to get the desired effect you want, and can rarely be replicated.

In Photoshop however, there is no such difficulty, and the Sabattier technique can be used in both monochrome and color images with definitive control. The basic technique is to make adjustments I the Curves to form a U shape line. And by further distorting the curve you can create even wilder effects. When you have the effect you are satisfied with, you can then make further adjustments to the color with the curves in each of the channels or by utilizing the other color adjustment tools. You can also try Filter>Stylize>Solarize in Photoshop for a quick effect.

The digital era has made photography limited only to your imagination, and with knowing how each tool works, you can apply it to you photographs to create visual depth in your work.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 10:00 am and is filed under Articles, Photography Basics, Photography Techniques, Photography Tutorials, Photoshop Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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