Lumen Printing

We thought we’d try to bring you some fun blog posts in the next little while that allow you to make use of items you may have in your home or yard (or balcony) while we are all practicing our social distancing as much as possible. So while it is sunny in the Lower Mainland, we thought we’d start with Lumen Printing! Also a great project to celebrate the first day of Spring!

Not everyone may have the supplies for this one, but if you’ve got photo sensitive paper (ie; darkroom paper) or sheet film, then you essentially have the main ingredient. (Technically you can use roll film too, but it would be very tedious…) Everything else can be open to experiment really! Here’s a few other things that are helpful for this project though and can be substituted wherever necessary…

– Hard surface – be it a piece of plywood, cement floor, table, anything really! Might be a good idea to put a thin piece of cloth down on your hard surface to protect your print as well.

– Light sensitive material – as mentioned above, the main item you need for this project is photo sensitive darkroom paper or you can also use sheet film. It can even be super old expired paper! You might get even more interesting results!

– Items to lay out on your paper to create the image – you can basically use any item for this project. Items that allow a bit of light to pass through are interesting as sometimes you will get to see some of their internal lines form as well. Flowers and plants work really well for this. Try fresh ones especially, as the moisture in them seems to allow more colour to materialize on your print. But get creative with random objects from around the house! Squishy, flat type ones work best (see next item on the list), but you can certainly try anything out!

– Piece of glass – a piece of glass to put on top of your objects is ideal, as it will give you cleaner, harder edges. For items such as flowers and plants this is especially true. You may not have a random piece of glass lying around, but perhaps you could borrow one out of a picture frame you may have in your home.

Now, the process of making the lumen print is very easy really…

Lay your piece of light sensitive paper/film on your hard surface and quickly place your objects on the paper and cover it with the glass. Be sure to do all this right away, as the paper will start developing the moment it is exposed to the sun. You’ll want to pick a nice sunny spot on your balcony, deck, backyard or table in front a giant window. The sunnier the better, as it won’t take long for this process! You will be able to watch this process happen right before your eyes. On a sunny day it may take around 20 mins. If it is a cloudier day however, it may take hours. You can experiment with the timing and see what you get. Once you decide you are done developing the image, remove your objects and either quickly place them into a dark bag/box or photograph or scan them right away. To preserve the image you can also use darkroom fixer and this will stop the image from developing further. Do note though that this will often change the color of your final image.

We asked a long time customer of ours if he’d share some of his Lumen prints for our blog as he had recently just done a few! See below. Thank you for sharing these, Chris! He said he used old AGFA Multi Contrast paper and these images were all fixed afterward.

We’d love to see some of your lumen prints! Please feel free to reply below with any images or links or tag us on twitter, instagram or facebook! Our twitter and instagram account is @beauphotostore.

Here’s a photo of the setup first….



The results…



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Beau Photo Supplies Inc.
Beau Photo Supplies Inc.