Wetprinting – Contact sheet

Most photographers tell me to keep a contact sheet for every film I shoot to better evaluate the negatives.
I am on my way.

For contact sheets always have your enlarger at the same place.
For example, move the head all the way up.
Or only illuminate the full baseboard. You want the head to be in a place where you can easily place it any time in the future.

Turn off all regular lights and only have a safelight on. Turn on the enlarger bulb. Open the enlarging lens all the way. Have an empty film carrier in place, focus it so the edges are sharp. (The goal is to have a wide evenly illuminated work area.) Turn off the enlarger bulb. Set your enlarging lens aperture to a medium setting such as f/11. Place 1 sheet of enlarging paper on the baseboard face up. Close your enlarging paper box or envelope securely. Place some negatives that you know are properly exposed on the paper. Place a clean sheet of glass over the negatives and paper so all is flat. Place a black card over most of the paper. Make an exposure with your enlarger timer. Move the card. Make a second exposure of the same duration. Repeat until you have a series of exposed areas (strips).

Develop the paper – Lights on
Examine the strips. You want the first one that is black, not dark grey. Note the exposure time.
Now you have a repeatable standard for your darkroom to use any time you want to make contact sheets. When you use the same paper and fresh developer.
Modified from the original on facebook from  Terry Thomas… the photographer
Atlanta, Georgia USA
And another comment :
In a proper proof, the clear, unexposed edges of the negatives are as black as the areas of print paper between the strips of film. And those areas should be as black as the paper ever gets.
This principle is called „maximum black,“ and it’s extremely important.  If you underexpose your proof sheets, the clear film surrounding your images will appear on the proof as a very dark gray, not a true black.  For a proper proof, the clear film must be printed down to the paper’s maximum black.  An overexposed proof sheet is more difficult to spot, but the vast majority of people err on the side of underexposure.
From :

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