Photographic Darkroom Chemistry

Video Chat with a Photography Expert - Live


Learning About Photographic Chemicals

The photographic chemicals used for developing are different for processing color film and black-and-white film. Both processing methods include developers, stop bathes, and fixers, but black-and-white film is easier to develop because it's all one color. In the development stage of processing color photos, a concentrated chemical exposes the dye couplers in color film chemistry. Film developing kits help amateur photographers greatly because they contain exactly what chemicals you need for a specific process.


What's Film Developer?

Film contains silver halides that won't materialize until the film processes in development; this chemical process is what brings out the photo. Some color film chemistry kits contain developer that works with photography developing machines, while others contain developers that work well for hand processing techniques. The chemical coating on photo paper is light sensitive and absorbs the developer during processing, revealing the finished image. Store your film rolls in airtight, light-free film developing tanks before development, to prevent exposure.


What's a Safe Light?

While a safe light helps fix, or cement, an image during processing, it can also have adverse effects on color paper chemistry materials. A safe light that's too bright can keep photos from developing properly by causing over exposure. To get the best results from a safe light, mix photo chemicals precisely. Keep your dark room free of outside light sources, including light that may creep in from doorways. Remove shiny objects or mirrors that could increase the amount of light caused by your safe light.


B&H Photo and Video has a selection of film developing kits for both black-and-white and color processing. Find all the photographic chemicals you'll need to keep your dark room stocked. Browse a wide variety of film paper chemistry kits, along with alternative process and miscellaneous chemistry supplies, for all your film developing needs.