The first step after you do your fit shoot is to load the film into a canister. You do this in complete darkness so the film doesn't get exposed. The next step is the actual development of the film.
There are three chemicals needed for the development; D-76, Fixer and Photo Flo. Starting with an even mixture of D-76 and and water (5mL Water, 5mL D-76) you have to take the temperature of the mixture. Based on that you look at the chart on the wall and choose how long you need to leave it in. The next step is Fixer which is very hazardous and cannot be dumped down the sink.
The Fixer is a fairly straightforward process, you add 10mL of Fixer for 5 minutes. The most important thing to remember is not to accidentally dump the used chemical in the sink. After the Fixer has been in for for around five minutes you then put the film reel in what looks like a PVC pipe and you wash it for 2-3 minutes in the hurricane bath. The final step is soaking the film in "Photo Flo" for 30 seconds and drying it for 24 hours.
The contrast filters are used to create more contrast in your picture. The higher the filter number (1-5) the more contrast.
Grain focusing is a very important step if you want to make a beautiful print. The first step is to turn the light tables brightness all the way up. While looking through the focuser you want to twist the knob until thousands of sand-like grain appear. After you have done this you turn the light back three clicks to the left.
The next step after grain focusing your photo is to create a test strip. This is important because you are able to effectively see how much exposure your picture will need. You set the enlarger to five seconds and cover 90% of the test strip. Then you do another five seconds but this time with 80% of the test strip exposed. You repeat this until the last 10% of the strip because that will say completely white as a contrast gauge to see what the perfect exposure is.
Burn and dodge tools are important for creating perfect contrast in a picture while still being able to see details such as hair or someones face. An example of when you might use a dodge tool is when a particular area (such as someones hair) is getting too much light. On the other hand you might use a burn tool if something (such as a persons face in the sun) is getting too little light.
After exposing the photo paper to light you have to go through four stations; D-76, Stop Bath, Fixer, and Wash. You start with the D-76 bath for 90 seconds. Then you soak your image for 30 seconds in the stop bath in order to stop the image from developing further. The next step is Fixer which keeps the image from turning pink later, you keep it submerged in here for 3-4 minutes. The final tray is the wash station which pretty much cleans off any of the previous chemicals from the picture, you leave it in here for 4-5 minutes.
The squeegee is used to get rid of excess water on the photo paper before it enters the dryer.
The dryer is the final step to the dark room process, you simply insert your photo into the slot and wait for it to come out the other end.