b. Detailed quality control, as applied to the photographic process,
will assure you of a better product if defects are spotted as early as
possible. Keeping your lab or working area as clean as possible is one of
the simplest ways of assuring quality.
2. Cleanliness. In most publications regarding photography, you will find
a section on defects. Close study will show that many defects are caused by
a lack of cleanliness or sloppy habits in the laboratory.
a. Many photographic techniques concern the correction of errors or
defects. Print spotting is one of these. Its purpose is to remove or hide
white or gray spots which are the result of lint and dust. It's better to
eliminate the cause rather than to use time correcting the defects. Let's
follow a sheet of film, the negative, and its final product through the lab
and see where these cleanliness pitfalls appear.
b. Your first pitfall can occur in the storage and cleanliness of
equipment. The camera and accessories you use should be checked for dust,
lint, and fingerprints on glass surfaces each time they are used. Through
careless handling, the lens may be smudged with oily fingerprints.
Fingerprints deteriorate photographic quality. In addition, since a
fingerprinted lens is somewhat oily, it will catch and retain more dust
particles than an unmarked lens.
c. Dust and lint create serious problems inside the camera. During
operation, the dust and lint is distributed and deposited on the film.
Removal of dust and lint prior to use is good preventive maintenance.
d. Static electricity causes dust to be attracted to various surfaces.
Using an antistatic brush to dust the film holder prior to loading minimizes
or eliminates the dust problem.
e. The area used for loading film should be free of dust. The use of a
specific room for loading, other than the usual printing or processing area,
will help to assure that no chemical dust gets on the film or camera.
Before loading, the working area should be thoroughly cleaned.
(1) Extra caution is needed when you must use a processing room for
film loading. Imagine a line drawn down the middle of the processing room
to divide the dry side from the wet side. The dry side should always be
dry. Inspect the dry area for wet or dry chemical deposits that could come
in contact with the film. Clean any surface that might contaminate your
(2) Exposed film must be afforded the same treatment and
consideration in unloading as in loading. This is one of the