Preparing a Digital Negative File

As my first year of photography comes to a close we have one small project left for the first year. This is called Unit 2 – Materials, Techniques and Processes which is all about converting a portrait we have shot and then printing it on alternative methods for example photographic paper. We will need to create a digital negative to expose the photograph onto the photographic paper.

To create a digital negative file to print onto translucent paper we need to convert an image into a digital negative. The screenshot below is the image I will be converting to a digital negative file.

1I will first duplicate the layer of the image to edit in a non-destructive manner to prevent damage or alterations to the original file. I will then have a duplicate of the background layer.

3Here you can see I am editing the contrast of the overall exposure in the levels window, this is to help pull back the contrast when working on the enlarger. As it reduces the contrast so therefore flattening the contrast before printing allows you to bring back the contrast when working on the enlarger. When using curves it allows you to edit all aspects of the overall contrast of an image and is represented in curves depending on what you want to do to the image.

4Now that the contrast has been edited for the image I will invert the image.

5Here you can see the file has been inverted and is ready to be printed onto translucent paper (translucent vellum).

Second Negative PrintHere is my digital negative printed onto the translucent paper.


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