Many amateur photographers dream about having their own dark room and studio to work in from the comfort of their own home, to help pursue their art and shape their skills whenever they have a spare minute.
A dark room can be used to hone developing skills, helping photographers to learn the basics of processing light sensitive photographic films and getting the contrasts exactly right. The trouble is a darkroom does need to be completely dark to work properly.
Most homes don’t have a completely dark room which also needs to be equipped with running water and able to hold chemicals and other equipment. Dark rooms also need power supplies and specialist lighting so are not particularly practical to create at home.
Unless you can afford to build a completely bespoke studio and workshop alongside your house, most people will have discounted the idea of creating a proper working darkroom at home.
However, there is a solution if your house has a garage, which you may not have thought about before. Most garages have some kind of power supply and a tap fitted already, so you already have the basics.
It’s pretty rare for a garage to have a window, but if yours does, you can always block it out if you want to convert into a dark room. It is safer to store chemicals away in the garage than to have them around the house.
Most garages would have enough space to create a working area, where you can keep your chemical developer baths and actually carry out the developing process directly, and it is easy enough to string photographs along a line in a garage while they dry.
That’s all very well, you are probably thinking, but it won’t be pitch black – the garage door is not properly sealed so it will never be dark enough. That’s where a roller shutter door would be ideal.
Roller shutter doors are designed to block out as much light as possible so if you just replace your regular garage door with a roller shutter door, your garage space can easily be converted into an at-home dark room/photography studio.
The door will also create added security for your home, preventing anyone from accessing your property through the garage, so it serves a double function.
Now, instead of spending thousands to build a bespoke studio at the bottom of the garden, budding photographers can just move safely into the garage, knowing that their craft can be carried out properly in the new secure dark room.
On top of this you will want a decent lock, if someone opens the door during exposure it can ruin your photos, try Seymour Locksmiths if you’re local to them.
While dark rooms have gone out of fashion recently due to the rise in digital photography, they are still very popular among amateur photographers and photography students who want to practice and learn all of the skills which go with taking good quality photographs.
The only downside is you will need to find somewhere else to park the car and store all of the old garden furniture, tools and bikes which were being housed in the garage!