Tips for making small prints for postcard exchange.

Discussion in 'Postcard Exchange' started by darinwc, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    :tongue: making small prints brings it's on set of challenges.
    Here are a few notes to help others.
    I hope other people will add to this list.

    If you have an image that you like, but maybe had problems like too soft or development problems. Consider it for the small print exchange since the problems will not be noticable.

    I exposed all my cards in one batch. This seemed easiest. Though this did not allow me to make minor adjustments as I went.

    I used a small easel which moved too easily. So I put some double sided tape on the bottom

    Then I printed batches of 4 at a time in 8x10 or 11x14 trays. Count to 10 when print each print in the developer. Them when you are moving the prints to the fixer, follow the same pattern and let each one drip for 10 seconds.

    Some of the printing papers are very slick on the back and in will smear easily. Last exchange I taped over the address with cat tape. Others have printed the address on labels.


    Does anyone have a solution to short print times? I was not able to do any folding or burning because the print time was 3 seconds.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Some hints from my experience:
    1) choose an image that requires relatively little manipulation. Complex burning and dodging schemes are difficult to repeat consistently over many prints, and can lead to this seeming like "work";
    2) your magnification will be low, so diffraction won't be as important in the result. Small apertures are fine, so you can achieve longer print times;
    3) always use some filtration with variable contrast paper, even if the target is grade 2 - longer print times will result;
    4) neutral density filters for the light source can help lengthen print times. If your enlarger permits different diffusion boxes, use the one for the largest format - longer print times may result;
    5) one 8x10 sheet yields three 4x6 cards, plus a small strip for tests. You can cut the 8x10 into an 8x6 and a 4x6 and print each 4x6 half of the 8x6 sequentially, leaving two postcards on the same sheet;
    6) all print developers can be used over a range of developing times. If you are developing several prints at the same time, set up the workflow based on the longer end - both for tests and final prints. The longer time helps even out the developing result;
    7) Latent images do change over time with printing paper. The effect is relatively small, but if there is going to be a delay between exposing and developing your prints, you should build in a delay between exposing and developing the test strip. A 60 second delay should suffice;
    8) If you intend to tone your prints, it is worth your while to do a first print, go completely through the process including toning, and then evaluate the dried result;
    9) It is relatively easy to add a 4x6 mat board insert to a larger and heavy easel;
    10) If you are nerdy, you can do what I do, which is set up a mail-merge template for the labels, and take the file of addresses that come from George and convert it into the data form that my mail merge software (WordPerfect) requires.

    I'll stop there, for now.
     
  3. saman13

    saman13 Subscriber

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    I’m a darkroom newborn, but so far I’ve printed a bunch of 4x6s and I can’t tell any difference in sharpness when stopping down to f/16 at this size. Gives me an exposure time around 8 seconds if I’m straight printing, a little longer if split grade.

    I really like the size of a 4x6 print. Not too big, not too small. Fits well in the hand.
     
  4. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    when I participated I used a 150mm lens when enlarging a 35mm neg.
     
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    darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    That could be a good idea.. gives you more working room.. though I might use a100mm lens.. don't want too much room
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Technically, using a longer lens shouldn't affect the available exposure times, because the calculation of light intensity at the easel varies with magnification, rather than simply focal length.
    That being said, the longer lens will give you two advantages:
    1) the working distance between the lens and easel will be greater, which can make using the easel easier; and
    2) the longer lens may offer smaller minimum apertures, which will give you longer print times.
     
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    darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Matt: I really like #5. Nice long 35mm or 6x9 images loose a bit when squashed onto a 4x5 print. You're other points are good also!
     
  8. LarsAC

    LarsAC Subscriber

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    Someone mentioned earlier to print in batches. This is really helpful to speed up.

    Lars
     
  9. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    The exchanges are smaller now (remember the 50+ exchanges?), but I mostly do the same thing, big or small. I will expose in batches of ten, then develop those, then expose ten more, then print, etc. I once did the entire print run in one batch before developing, and had to throw away half because of an easel misalignment. So I do smaller batches at a time now. In some exchanges I’ll do more than one print, just to keep things fresh. I try to avoid images that require anything more than a simple burn or dodge on the corners.

    Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t talk too much, after all, I have yet to complete my cards for the current exchange! ☺️
     
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    darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Print early. Print often.
     
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