Dear ONE INSTANT Shooters,
Welcome to the first-ever installment of our new 'Pro Tips' series!
Over the last couple years we've developed several methods of getting improved results with ONE INSTANT film, and instead of keeping them to ourselves we decided it was time to share them with the community. We plan to make this a regular thing, and of course we would also love to hear feedback and/or suggestions from anyone who has a bright idea to share; just fire off an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
PRO TIP #1 - PRINT WASHING
Our first pro tip is something we call print washing, and as you'll see, it's about as simple as it sounds.
You may have experienced that the surface of a ONE INSTANT print can sometimes takes on a matte surface charasteric after it has dried. According to the 20x24 Studio, this effect is known as 'salting out' and is caused by the formation of potassium hydroxide crystals originating from the reagent chemistry. It is more pronounced when the coating of reagent (a.k.a. the goo in the pods) is thicker on the print, though it also seems to get better or worse somewhat randomly between different batches of reagent chemistry.
Whatever the true cause of it is, we don't really like it. The good news is, there is a simple way to get rid of it!
1. Turn on a cold water tap and set it to a moderate output level. Avoid high pressure or a too violent flow; this might damage the print surface.
2. Rinse the print thoroughly for around 10 to 15 seconds. Hold the print relatively close to the tap so that it gently and completely floods the surface.
3. Hang the print to dry in a dust free environment, ideally at an angle so that the water runs down to a single corner. Never touch the surface of the print while it's wet.
4. Once dried, the matte effect should be eliminated, or at least greatly improved.You have gone from matte to gloss!
Now, for a few caveats and important pointers...
Once the print has gotten wet, the image layer is extremely fragile. You must be exceedingly careful with how you handle it to avoid ruining your precious instant photograph.
Rinsing the print for more than 20 seconds becomes very risky. ONE INSTANT prints are not like darkroom prints and therefore should not be subjected to water for significant lengths of time. As soon as the print becomes wet, the image layer gets saturated and is in a very delicate state. Treat it kindly.
Once the print is hanging, you might notice that the image layer has swelled in places, exhibiting very strange relief patterns. Don't worry, once it is dry these will disappear.
Lastly, in some of our tests, we came across prints that were not completely fixed by this method. We are left scratching our heads, but have concluded that these examples of matte effect or salting out must be due to some other phenomenon. The mysteries never cease...
We hope you found this helpful, and we hope you try out this very simple method for enhancing the quality of your ONE INSTANT prints!
Experiment, have fun, but just don't end up like this guy...