Ilford Photo darkroom (Pic: ILFORD Photo)
The survey was answered by more than 5,000 people (Pic: ILFORD Photo)

ILFORD Photo’s survey of film photographers’ printing habits found more than two-thirds still printed their photographs using a traditional darkroom.

Some 69% of those surveyed said printed photographs using traditional methods, rather than scanning and sharing online or printing digitally.

ILFORD PHOTO says the survey had prompted them to begin work on a “find a darkroom” tool via their website, so that people who don’t have a darkroom of their own can still print photos traditionally.

The survey – which was carried out last year – drew more than 5,000 responses from more than 80 countries.

ILFORD PHOTO says the survey had prompted them to begin work on a darkroom

A statement from ILFORD Photo said: “This survey was open to printers and non-printers as it was important for us to understand the views of both. A printer was defined as someone who had printed in the darkroom at least twice during 2019. We had different questions sets for each camp.”

The survey found that for those that printed, the creative process itself (85%) and the quality of the print (83%) were the two most popular reasons for printing. Others included being in full control of the printing process and using their hands rather than a computer to achieve the image.


The survey also found that of those who printed, nearly two-thirds printed every fortnight.

The cost and lack of space for a darkroom were two main reasons why those who didn’t print didn’t use a traditional darkroom, ILFORD Photo said. It also found that those who didn’t yet print but wanted to, some 40% would prefer to learn via YouTube videos. Only 23% would pay for a darkroom course.

The full list of findings from the survey can be found on the blog.

ILFORD Photo said the findings had spurred them to start three new initiatives.

“Creating a new tool on our website for people to find a darkroom near them. These will only be community or commercial darkrooms that are available for hire. Some via memberships and others on a pay per session basis. Many offer courses which are a great way to experience the magic of seeing your first print appear in a tray of developer. We would encourage you all to support them.

“Creating new video content for those that want to learn via YouTube. We are already underway with a series of ‘how to’ darkroom educational videos. Keep a look out for these on

“For those wanting to create their own darkroom, we want to showcase existing printers to inspire you. We’ll share examples of their darkrooms, their prints and their knowledge with you on our social channels and website.”

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Stephen Dowling
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amigo toro
amigo toro
3 years ago

Nice to hear I’m not the only one who prefers a darkroom to printing – although I have thought about getting a scanner for colour film.