High Light, Peak Light, Lake Light, City Light, Snow Light, Land Light books by Dave Butcher

Personal Darkroom Workshops

Dave Butcher was trained over many years by Ilford Photo at their UK factory, which specialised in black and white products. If you want to learn the Ilford way to make black and white prints come on one of his darkroom courses, or book a private course for even more personal attention. These are particularly suitable for beginners with no experience of darkroom processing and printing as well as those with some expertise who want to improve. If you have specific needs send an email or call Dave to discuss them.

Personal black and white darkroom printing workshops and courses with Dave Butcher can be run for either 1 or 2 people.

Dates can be arranged to suit you.

These are appropriate for anyone with an interest in learning the basics or improving their black and white darkroom techniques with Dave Butcher, an Ilford Master Printer. All courses are based at Dave's darkroom and gallery in the Derbyshire Peak District.

Dave can cover the basics or quite advanced techniques, you decide what is of most use to you. It is also possible to use Multigrade FB or toners whereas this is impractical with a normal course. This is the way to make rapid progress with your darkroom printing.

The darkroom is well equipped with 6 working enlargers all able to take 35mm or up to 6 x 7 cm 120 negatives:

  1. DeVere 203 with Varicontrast Multigrade head
  2. DeVere 203 with Varicon condensor head
  3. Durst M670 Color
  4. Durst M670 BW

There are also 2 enlargers capable of taking up to 5 x 4 inch negatives:

  1. DeVere 504 with Ilford MG500H Multigrade head
  2. Durst 138S with Ilford MG500H Multigrade head 

There is also a large processing area (complete with extractor fan), archival print washers, dryers for RC and FB papers, as well as a film dryer, and associated equipment completes the darkroom. Here are some images to give you an idea of the darkroom as used for courses.

If you are thinking of buying an enlarger and you're not sure which you would prefer why not come on a course to try out the main contenders that you are likely to find in the secondhand market.

Alternatively, if you don't want to learn techniques for the future but have negatives that you would like to make prints from then why not book a day with Dave? You will be able to make several large prints that you know will be well printed as Dave will be helping you every step of the way!

Here are some images to give you an idea of the darkroom as used for workshops.

Visit my hints and tips website, darkroomdave.com, for free technical information and advice.

Dave Butcher darkroom enlargers 2016

Dave Butcher enlargers 2016

Dave Butcher's Darkroom

Dave Butcher's Darkroom

Dave learnt his techniques whilst working for Ilford Photo for 21 years, which included running their photographic printing department for several years, and still does ad hoc work for them in their Ilford Darkroom Masterclass scheme and exhibitions, etc.

We can tailor courses to the needs of each individual and recognise that everyone will have different needs and we will work on whatever is appropriate for you.

Sessions usually start by Dave showing example black and white prints of what can be achieved in the darkroom, then a short demo of split grade printing and, apart from short breaks for food and refreshments, the rest of the day(s) will be spent hands-on in the darkroom.

You will usually be using Ilford Multigrade RC 14 x 11 inch paper throughout and will be able to take away 4 or 5 good quality prints from your day with Dave.

If you wish to use FB paper we will use Ilford Multigrade FB Glossy 12 x 9.5 inch paper. It does take longer to to use so the number of prints possible in a day is reduced to 3 or 4.

Cost including paper, processing chemicals and buffet lunch:

1 day: £300, 2 days £500

Approximate Times: 10 am start, 4 pm finish

Meeting Point: Briarwood, Tunstead Milton, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, SK23 7ER

Ilford Photo support Dave Butcher Photography by kindly subsidising the cost of all paper and chemicals used on darkroom workshops.

A buffet lunch is also included in the price.

Call me on 01663 733771 or send an email to mono@davebutcher.co.uk to discuss the possibilities. 

peak district photography and darkroom combined courses

We can run courses which combine 1 day of Peak District photography with 1 day in the darkroom, processing films taken on the photo day and then printing them. Even if you have no intention of setting up your own darkroom it is an interesting and fun 2 day course where you end up with several of your own photographs, printed by you, to take away and hang on your walls when you return home.

A typical 2 day 'experience black and white' course:

day 1: Landscape photography with film - 3 Shire Heads for packhorse bridges and dozens of waterfalls within a very small space. Chelmorton for big views of typical Peak District landscapes. The photo part of the day ends at 3pm with a cup of tea or coffee at Briarwood. After the break we process the film ready for printing the next day.

day 2: Darkroom - Dave will show a few darkroom prints to give you an idea of what is possible in the darkroom. Next we make up the chemicals in the darkroom and make contact prints from your films taken the previous day. Dave then demonstrates how to make darkroom prints. The rest of day is spent printing your negatives on 14 x 11 inch Ilford RC paper, ready to mount and frame for your wall at home! A buffet lunch is provided. Please advise any special dietary needs. You should finish the day with 3 or 4 good quality black and white prints that you have printed. Techniques learned will include split grade printing, dodging and burning (image manipulation but using your hands and little bits of card in a traditional darkroom), print judgment (what makes a good print better).

'combined' 2 day course costs:

Peak District photo + darkroom £500

Including transport and up to 2 rolls of Ilford film for the photo day and all Ilford paper and chemicals used on the darkroom day. A buffet lunch is also provided on the darkroom day.

The cost does not include lunch on the photo day, which is usually taken at a local hostelry.


'combined' 1 day course costs:

We can also run a 1 day course which gives a taster of everything covered in the 2 day course.

1 day Peak District photo + darkroom £300

Including 1 roll of Ilford film and all Ilford paper and chemicals used in the darkroom session.

camera loan: If you don't have a film camera we have 35mm cameras (usually Nikon) we can lend you for the photography day! All you need is an interest in trying black and white film photography and darkoom processing and printing.

group Size:

Maximum 3 people; 1 or 2 preferred. The darkroom can accommodate 4 people but we cap the course at a maximum of 3 people and it is better for 1 or 2 people as you each receive more attention in the darkroom.

meeting point: Briarwood, Tunstead Milton, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK23 7ER 

Payment details 

When a course is agreed a special payment hot link will be set up to the Dave Butcher Photography shopping cart system, which uses PayPal to handle the payments, but you don't need a PayPal account to make a payment. We just need to agree dates. Send an email or telephone to get the ball rolling. 

Telephone: 01663 733771; Email: mono@davebutcher.co.uk

Alternatively, we can accept payments with a UK £ or Euro € cheque made payable to Dave Butcher Photography. In this case please send your payment to:

Dave Butcher Photography
Briarwood, Tunstead Milton
Whaley Bridge, High Peak
Derbyshire, SK23 7ER, UK

To avoid disappointment we suggest that you take out insurance as soon as you book a course that covers you for illness or injury, your equipment and course cancellation (see full terms and conditions).


Course Information

Dave has written an article on darkroom techniques for clients who have been on my courses. It is freely available to both clients and anyone else.

Here is some extra information to help you decide to come on one of my courses, or prepare for it:

Courses Leaflet

Darkroom course information

Directions to Briarwood Venue

Local Accommodation

Terms and Conditions






All images are copyright © Dr Dave Butcher and may not be downloaded, copied or reproduced in any way without prior written permission. All rights are reserved.