Contrast Grade refers to a series of numbers and categories that characterize photographic paper. Using a one to five scale and a specific adjective (soft, medium, hard, extra-hard or ultra-hard), a photographer can choose the right photographic paper for negatives that have distinct contrasts.
For negatives with images that have sharp contrast, a photographer should print on a low number paper that has a “softer” rating. This will balance out the intense contrast to more accurately recreate the original image. Conversely, a photographer should use a higher numbered paper with a “harder” rating to increase the contrast of a negative that has a duller image imprinted on it.
While professional photographers may be more adept at choosing the correct contrast grade, amateurs tend to have a bit more trouble. Learning how to properly select the appropriate contrast grade takes some experimentation.
A helpful tip to keep in mind is that contrast grades should be chosen to offset higher contrasts or heighten lower contrasts in the negatives. The effect to look for in the final print is an image that has a balanced contrast.
However, some photographers may want to accentuate or minimize the contrast of the final print for artistic effect. In these cases, his technique for choosing the appropriate contrast grade will vary, depending on the desired effect.
Charged Coupled Device A charge-coupled device (CCD) refers to a device that consists of a series of linked light-sensitive capacitors that take in an image through the transfer of electrical charges. Invented in ...