Ilford Demonstrates How to Develop Your First Black and White Film

Learn black and white film developing tips for beginners from the esteemed Ilford.

Ilford is not only one of the best known makers of black and white film, but also one of the strong stalwarts of film photography itself.  So, if you’re planning to get into black and white film photography, the folks of Ilford are among the best to learn from on how to develop your own films as well.

Whether you’re a digital photographer curious about black and white film photography, or an analogue lover who wants to dive into this traditional medium, the experience will be even more rewarding with learning how to process your own films. In the quick video below, Ilford has outlined all you need to know if you’re doing film developing for the first time.

Here’s the break down of the parts, in case you want to make your own notes:

Part 1: What you will need 00:09

Part 2: Preparing the chemicals 01:06

Part 3: Loading your film 02:06

Part 4: Processing your film 04:02

Part 5: Hanging and Drying your film 06:48

Ilford has also given some tips for best results of your film developing at home. Since the volume and dilution of the chemicals you need will vary, they recommend checking out the Technical Data Sheets on the Ilford website. Remember to wash your measuring cylinders between use to avoid contamination. It also helps to lay out the tools you’ll use in a logical order so you’ll able to easily locate what you need as you work in the dark. This also applies when you’re using a film changing bag if you don’t have a completely dark room to load your film into the developing tank.

Loading the film onto the developing tank’s spiral could be tricky for beginners, so Ilford mentions that you might need to practice in the light with some old or wasted film strips. After developing, you can use your clean fingers or squeegee tongs to remove excess water down the length of your film. Make sure you hang it to dry in a clean and dust-free room, then store them in negative sleeves for scanning and printing later.

You may also download their film processing information leaflet and check out their beginner series articles for additional references.

Screenshot image from the video.