a. Place the negative in the carrier, emulsion side down. Replace the
negative carrier in the projection printer and make sure that it is properly
b. As an aid for composition and to accurately focus the image, place a
sheet of white paper in the printing position on the easel. The base side
of a finished print serves nicely for this focusing screen. Turn out all
white light. Turn the printer light on and open the lens to its maximum
c. Focusing and arranging the composition of the projected image should
be accomplished with the lens wide open for two reasons. First, the
brighter the image, the easier it is to see for accurate focusing. Second,
stopping down the lens after focusing, increases the depth of field
providing a margin of safety for any slight error in focusing.
d. To bring the image to the desired size, the printer head is raised
or lowered until the approximate size is reached. The image is then brought
into sharp focus. At this point, you are faced with several minor problems.
Take a moment and study the image carefully. Most printing papers are
rectangular in shape; therefore, you must decide whether to use a vertical
or horizontal format. In many cases, the manner in which the scene is
composed on the negative is the controlling factor. However, many
photographs can be improved in printing by suitable cropping, straightening,
or tilting. If the cameraman made no attempt to compose the picture on the
negative, you can often enlarge and print the portion of the negative that
contains a good picture.
e. Since photographs have infinite variety, and personal likes and
dislikes differ, there are no hard and fast rules in composition. However,
here are some suggestions that can be used to produce a composition that is
pleasing to most people.
(1) Mask off unneeded detail at the edges of the picture. Many times
the foreground is fuzzy and is cluttered with objects that distract
(2) Never place the center of interest in the middle of the print.
Place it slightly to the left or right of the center, and a little above or
below the center line.
(3) Horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines should never be allowed
to cut the picture in equal parts. For example, the horizon should be below
or above the center of the picture.
(4) The horizon should be truly horizontal.