Every man knows that a good negative will be easy to print on almost any paper, but to be able to diagnose the defects in poor negatives and know how to improve them, is more important.

There are several things to consider in negative making which affect the quality of the negative, such as lighting, balance, composition, temperature of the developer, etc., but we will deal only with the two most important: exposure and development.

The photographer who can examine the negatives as they come from the fixing bath and determine the accuracy of exposure and development, has gone a long way towards the making of uniformly good negatives.

For the purpose of classification, we can say there are three degrees of exposure and three stages of development, which give us nine distinct classes of negatives.

Every negative in a studio belongs to one of these classes, and the worker should familiarize himself with these distinctions.

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By S. H. Lifshey Brooklyn, N. Y.

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The nine classes are as follows:

1st. Under-exposure and underdevelopment.

2nd. Under-exposure and normal development.

3rd. Under-exposure and overdevelopment.

4th. Normal exposure and underdevelopment.

5th. Normal exposure and normal development.

6th. Normal exposure and overdevelopment.

7th. Over-exposure and underdevelopment.

8th. Over-exposure and normal development.

9th. Over-exposure and overdevelopment.

We will now look at the characteristics of the negatives of each class and the means by which they may be improved in quality before printing. The amount of detail in the deep shadows always determines the exposure and the strength or opacity of the highlights determines the development.

In the first three classes, the lower tones and shadows will be void of detail. This can only be corrected by making a new negative and giving the proper amount of exposure. The highlights in No. 1 will be too thin and should be intensified if the negative must be used. In No. 3 the highlights will be too dense and so blocked that no detail can be secured without first using a reducer. In No. 2 the highlights will be correct and it will not be possible to improve the negative by after-treatment.

The negative in Class 4 will have detail throughout but will be weak and flat, having had only surface development. The negative in Class 6 will have sufficient detail in shadows but will be so blocked and dense in the highlights that gradation is ruined by excessive contrast from over development.

No. 4 negative can be greatly improved by intensification, which will increase the contrast, while No. 6 requires reduction to give softness. The negative in Class 5 will be full of detail and possess a perfect scale of gradation. It will be brilliant but not hard - soft but not flat. This is the perfect negative.

The negative in Class 7 will be much the same as No. 4, but there will be too much detail in shadows, and, as a consequence, even more flatness. No. 8 will resemble No. 7, only the contrast will be better. No. 9 will have detail throughout, with sufficient contrast and balance, but altogether too much density. Such a negative will make a good print but will be a very slow printer.

The remedy for Nos. 7 and 8 would usually be intensification - for No. 9, reduction, although in the case of No. 8, the degree of contrast and density will determine whether the negative should be intensified or reduced.

Of the many methods of intensification, the one that will

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build up most evenly is re-development. Royal Re-developer may be used to advantage on any under-exposed negative that does not have enough strength in the highlights.

The mercury intensifier is best for negatives that are flat and need more strength in highlights than shadows, as it works more energetically on the highlights.

Farmer's Reducer (Ferricyanide of Potash and Hypo) is best for over-exposed negatives that need reduction, as it works equally strong on highlights and shadows. Where it is desired to reduce the highlights without affecting the shadows to the same extent, the Potassium Permanganate reducer may be recommended. This may also be used for local reducing by the addition of acid to the regular Permanganate solution. The above formulas may all be found in the Seed Manual, a copy of which will be sent upon request.

The photographer who has not learned to analyze the quality of his negatives daily, and to employ the best means of after-treatment, as well as the best means of avoiding the same mistake the following day, is missing a very potent factor in the improvement of his work.

Negative making is the all-important part of portraiture, and a good permanent portrait business can only be built on quality. Print making is equally important, but the best printer cannot correct mistakes in negative making.