Having your own darkroom is not as complicated as some people think it is. The darkroom doesn’t even need to be a room. It can be a dark area where you can still carry on darkroom activities. But why does someone like you need your own darkroom? Is it cheaper to develop your film at home? Is it worth the effort? Read on to see if you need a darkroom of your own.
The darkroom is mainly used for printing. This means that you need an area that is large enough to fit an enlarger and the biggest print that you plan to make. Other than that the only space you will need is for a one-step color print processor (if your printing color) or a row of trays to process your black and white prints.
Most of the time you will only need a darkroom that is big enough to load your film or paper in light-tight containers. Afterwards, you can do the other things in a laundry room or the bathroom, where you have access to running water.
Chemical mixing does not require you to be in a darkroom. In fact, it would be better to do your chemical mixing activities away from the printing area to avoid chemical particles to come in contact with your photographic paper.
In addition, you also don’t need a darkroom to do finishing steps such as spotting, cutting, mounting prints, examining, sorting, etc. It is however, important for you to have easy access to hot and cold running water. Make sure the water is free from impurities, such as rust. You might even want to filter the water using something like cheesecloth.
Now that you know that you do not need running water inside your darkroom, just near it, you are free to roam the house looking for the ideal spot for your darkroom. If you will only be working with color, an empty should be sufficient. All you need is to weatherstrip the doors to keep the light out and add electrical outlets to power the enlarger, safelight, etc.
But if you will be working with black and white prints, you will need to have a dark area, emphasis on the word area. Remember, it does not need to be an actual room. The main thing to remember is that you need to work in the dark, and that may not be as difficult to come by as you think.
So, now that the darkroom usage has been explained, hopefully you will have enough information to decide whether to make space for a small, large, or maybe even a portable darkroom.