My negative paper is remaining blank after I put it inside the developer. I exposed the photo to the time that I wanted...I made sure to expose the glossy side of the paper too.

What is going on? I feel like a complete idiot and it’s really stressing me out.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I assume you are exposing the paper under an enlarger to light that is being passed through a negative. You say that you exposed it for the seconds ( The amount of time ) you wanted but you did not tell us how you arrived at that time. Did you do a test strip of various and different times to determine what that time should be ? how did you arrive at the amount of seconds ( Time ) that you wanted \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Feb 24, 2018 at 8:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ What are your exposure settings? What aperture are you setting the enlarger to and how many seconds are you exposing the paper for? Are you using any contrast filters during the exposure? Is this a 35mm negative? What size of paper are you printing (5x7 / 8x10 / 11x14)? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 26, 2018 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


You need to troubleshoot this, maybe by answering following questions:

  1. Check your process protocol. Is the paper that you are using compatible with the developer? is your paper actually black-n-white photographic paper, or maybe it is "photo paper" that is used in inkjet printer? "Photo paper" used for printers is not for darkroom printing/developing, it is not light-sensitive.
  2. Does your developer and paper "work"? Expose paper to very strong light, for example sun, for a few minutes. Bring it back to darkroom, put into developer, keep there for designated time. Does your image turn black? Then paper should be fine. If it does not turn black, then your paper might not be photo-paper. Open a new pack of paper, test one sheet or piece of one sheet in the same fashion.
  3. Does your developer work? Take a piece of film or paper that you know works. For example, from a fresh, sealed pack of paper. Expose it as described above. If paper does not turn black, it means developer is not working. make a fresh stock of developer.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Someone had developed a contact sheet for me on the paper so it is the right paper n today I was in the dark room with someone else and they had no problem developing their paper so I think it’s maybe me getting my paper exposed to light even though I had it inside the package envelope with a cardboard inside of it that I had duck taped close after I had opened it smh idk but thanks I just wanna give up now honestly \$\endgroup\$
    – Ashani
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ashani if paper exposed to light, it ill come out black after development \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2018 at 2:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ ok I’ll try the test that u suggested to put a piece of paper out into light to see if it would turn black I think it would because like I said someone else had took a piece of my paper n developed a contact sheet for me I think it’s something that I’m doing incorrectly by myself I just don’t know what ... I got the film image in focus I don’t understand and I highly doubt that the developer would not be fresh because this dark room is at my college I didn’t set it up bout the staff in the photo department did so it has to be something I’m doing wrong \$\endgroup\$
    – Ashani
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ashani expose for longer under the enlarger. check that the light from the enlarger is white (not red) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2018 at 2:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok I will try this when I get a chance and I’ll keep u posted thanks for the help \$\endgroup\$
    – Ashani
    Feb 24, 2018 at 7:56

Test your developer: Set up your chemicals – developer – stop – fixer – as before. Go dark and open the photo paper envelope; cut a sheet into several slices to be used as test strips. Return all but one strip to the light-proof package. Now turn on the lights. Immerse test strip in the developer as you watch. Because your darkroom lights are on, this test strip should now begin to blacken. If not, the developer is spent of contaminated or perhaps it is not the developer solution you think it is.

Re-mix a fresh developer following the mixing instructions. Verify that this developer is for photo papers. Repeat the test. Also, if the strip blackens, verify that you can identify the emulsion side versus the paper-base size. Good luck.


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