Darkroom – dust, dust, dust

I´m really trying to keep my workflow clean.

But the everlasting problem in an analog workflow seems to be the dust.

my darkroom is my workshop, too, a small problem 😉




Here the tips and tricks which accumulated over the years :

Kepp your camera inside / back inside clean.

Dry your negatives in an clean environment, best seems to be an bathroom after taking a shower (the shower takes the dust out of the air)

Put the negatives in sleeves

Keep your scanner/enlarger  clean, use moist wipes, antistatic wipes, an airblower.

Be careful with compressed air, it may contain chemicals and it stirs up the dust.

On the negatives use antistatic brushes (e.g. Kinetronics)

If needed use moist wipes (careful !) to clean the negatives

Learn photoshop / lightroom dust removal techniques and patience

And most valuable :
Learn to live with this imperfections


In my poll, I got lots of tips, here are the most valuable remarks :

  • Rodolfo Cardarelli I try to keep everything as clean as possible but it’s just impossible. I do not use ICE or other automatic technologies first of all because increase the length of the scanning and secondly because I want to keep control during the whole process.
    I am afraid repairing by hand on photoshop is the only viable solution, IMHO.

Warren Lilford Scan as soon as your negative is dry, blow the negs down once in the holder, blow down the flatbed top and bottom. a lot of it can be dust sticking to neg while drying or dirty developer to, 90% of stuff on my negs is from developing

Warren Lilford I think over time you learn what works, when i started my own developing the amount of crud on my scans was hideous but its got a lot better.

Andreas Cloos As Rodolfo wrote – try to keep everything as clean as possible (antistatic brush, compressed air) and the rest you gotta remove in Lightroom or Photoshop. Advantage is: the bigger the negative, the less difficult it is to remove the dust,

Carl Hall Hoover or blow the camera out every so often so that you don’t get dust stuck to the film right at the start. When you leave the film to hang do it in a room where there is less dust (ie in the bathroom after the showers been on).

Patryk Burchard I dry my films in „cabinet“ (made from carboard, shower curtain and some other stuff). Before hanging the film I put bowl with boiling water for 3-5 minute for steam to catch dust

Andreas Cloos I dry my film in a bthorrm where we also put our cat’s toilets – which means there is always some dust/hair. Never have it on the negatives, but everytime you open the flatbed scannre you can basically see the dust which is finding it’s place on the scanner glas. So that is where „my dust“ comes from.

Jonathan Gazeley Compressed air or a blower to get the dust off, and then light cloning in PS to remove the bits I missed.

Phil Marshall I use a large garment bag with a light bulb on the bottom. Turn the bulb on and unzip the top of the bag a little. The warm air rises up and takes the dust out with it. Warm it up for ten minutes or so, before putting wet film in. Looks crazy, but works great !

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