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Introduction to Colour Printing from Film (short course)

Why study this course?

Colour printing is becoming a lost art; with everyone turning to digital photography, most people aren’t making negatives anymore. On the Introduction to Colour Printing from Film short course, we'll introduce you to the wonders of the darkroom and teach you how to make prints from your own colour negatives.


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This is a practical, hands-on introduction to colour printing, using our professional well-equipped colour darkrooms at The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University. You will gain confidence and skills in experimenting with colour analogue film. You will be encouraged to use colour film to make new work and you may also like to print colour negatives from your own archives.

Participants will benefit from an appreciation of photography within an art context. We will look at the work of fine art photographers who specialise in colour photography. You'll also gain an understanding of colour, which can be transferred to digital photography. The approach to learning is creative and experimental with plenty of individual support. These processes are taught through talks, demonstrations and workshops, and you will be expected to make work for specific assignments. We'll cover a variety of themes and you can use your own negatives to discover the pros and cons of using colour negative film. Individual practice will be developed through assignments and discussion.

By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • produce colour photographs using the c-type process
  • make contact sheets, make test strips and make enlargements to two different sizes
  • assess the quality of your own and the work of your peers within group discussions
  • demonstrate an ability to prepare your work for presentation
  • discuss the ideas behind your work

This course is taught by Heather McDonough.

This course is suitable for photographers who are confident with digital photography and who may have already had some experience with black and white photography, but are now ready to extend their photographic skills within a darkroom situation and want to continue to shoot with analogue cameras.

Week one

  • Introduction to the work of contemporary photographers using colour negative film.
  • Introduction to the working of the colour darkroom.
  • Experiments with making photograms in the darkroom.
  • Importance of the test strip.

Week two

  • Presentation of your own work – bring a print to talk about or series of prints on which to build new work or old prints with which to experiment.
  • Experiments with sandwiching negatives.

Week three

  • Understanding exposure.
  • Making a contact sheet.
  • Paper types and sizing of prints.
  • Borders or no borders.
  • The importance of enprints.

Week four

  • Learning to control colour casts.
  • You'll learn how to enlarge individual colour negatives.
  • How to correct and manipulate colour and exposure, to produce traditional c-type prints.
  • Topics to discuss: Exposure.

Week five

  • Group critique of work made so far.
  • Further darkroom techniques of dodging, burning and paper sensitisation.
  • Topics to discuss: portraits.

Week six

  • How to select and edit negatives for specific purposes, such as preparing a portfolio or producing a coherent body of work.
  • Topics to discuss: landscape.

Week seven

  • Propose your idea for your final project.
  • Begin making contact sheets/work prints, decide on your selection for making at least four final prints.
  • Produce a final series of C-Type prints.

Week eight

  • Print your work with individual assistance to achieve best results to produce a set of final images.

Week nine

  • Print your work with individual assistance to achieve best results to produce a set of final images.

Week ten

  • Print your work with individual assistance to achieve best results to produce a set of final images.
  • Present and discuss all the work you have made so far and assemble a portfolio of prints.
  • Use trimmers and spotting inks to work on your final print selection.

"Heather did an amazing job teaching the fundamentals of colour printing and was always available to help in every session during the course. I recommend this course to anyone interested in learning all about colour printing."

Course dates Not currently available
Length One evening a week for ten sessions
Day and time Wednesday, 6.15pm to 8.30pm
Maximum class size 12
Contact hours 22.5

A 20% discount is available for:

  • those who are registered as unemployed and in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • those whose sole or main income is a Department of Social Security (DSS) state retirement pension
  • those who are registered as disabled and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • full-time and part-time UK students on credit-bearing courses
  • London Metropolitan University students on year-long day courses
  • London Metropolitan University Alumni Association members
  • London Metropolitan University staff

If you're eligible for the 20% discount, please contact us before booking.

The course fee includes the cost of materials. Participants will be advised on appropriate materials to purchase for their work. Participants will also need to bring their own colour negatives (35mm – 5x4).

Please read our terms and conditions before booking.

How to apply

Booking for this course isn't open at this time as the dates of the next intake are not yet confirmed. Please get in touch for further information or register your interest to receive notification as soon as booking opens.

When to apply

Please note, the deadline to book a place on one of our short courses is one week before the start date. If you have missed the deadline, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Fees and key information

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