Fine-Tuning Exposure and Contrast

Optimizing prints for the discriminating human eye
written by: Ralph Lambrecht

The old axiom for creating high-quality negatives is “expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights.” When it comes to printing negatives in the darkroom, this recommendation appropriately changes to “expose for the highlights and control the shadows with contrast.” That is good advice, but as experienced printers know, there often is a small difference between a good and a mediocre print. So, when it comes to fine-tuning exposure and contrast, how concerned do we really need to be about the optimal settings? How much deviation is acceptable and how little is recognizable? What are the smallest increments we Read more »