About our Community Darkroom 

The darkroom at CHAW is the last community darkroom in the city of Washington, D.C. We offer regular drop-in hours and classes for black and white film development and printing. Come visit or inquire about usage at  photography@chaw.org


Sign up for a drop-in session (only for darkroom users who have already completed an orientation at CHAW) 


Monday-Thursday: 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Saturday: 9:00am-12:00pm

Orientation ($45) | Individual session ($20) | Scanning session ($10)|Current Photo Students (Free) 

For more information please contact: AB Corson at  photography@chaw.org


Photography Facilities require an initial orientation to cover general information and policies about space use and equipment. This is not an instructional orientation, users must be familiar with general darkroom workflow.

Fill out this form to inquire about orientation. The Photography Department will respond to orientation inquires within one week of receiving the completed form.


Our teachers are comfortable working with all levels of students. Lessons are $150 for 2 hours. If you commit to 3 lessons, it will cost $125 per lesson.

Book with  Russell Barajas. View Russell’s availability  here.

Follow the CHAW Darkroom on Instagram:  @chawdarkroom.

If you are a current darkroom user with work you would like to showcase, you can submit a post for Instagram on  this form


When is the darkroom open for drop-in hours?

The darkroom is open for drop-in sessions Monday-Thursday 5:30PM-8:30PM and Saturday 9AM-12PM. If you have already completed an orientation at CHAW, you can sign up for a drop-in session here. Our space is limited to three users at a time.

What is the orientation and why do I have to do an orientation before using the darkroom?

Orientation is a 20 minute overview of the CHAW darkroom space and guidelines. Everyone is required to do one with the photography department chair to make sure our rules and systems are consistently communicated.

Note: The orientation is NOT a darkroom lesson.

How do I sign up for orientation?

Fill out  this form to inquire about orientation. The Photography Department will respond to orientation inquires within one week of receiving the completed form.

I love film photography but do not have darkroom experience, how can I learn?

We offer monthly introductory darkroom seminars, which are published here. If you complete the seminar, you can do an orientation with the photography department chair and then use the darkroom. You can also sign up for a private lesson (information above).

How can I find out when classes are posted?

If you would like to be informed when classes are posted, email photography@chaw.org to sign up for the email list. Classes are posted here

Can I scan my prints and negatives at CHAW?

Yes!  Here are the scanner instructions. You can sign up for a session by using the drop in scheduler (linked above). If you have not done an initial orientation, email photography@chaw.org. Scanning sessions are $10 with the expectation that you are NOT using the darkroom. However, you may use the scanner during a darkroom session if you pay the $20 drop-in fee. Scanning sessions for members are free. You must read the instructions before using it.

Membership Program


3 sessions


5 sessions


8 sessions

The darkroom membership allows easier access to the darkroom at a lower cost than our single session drop-in fee. Members also receive first notice of upcoming classes and events.

General Info:

  • You will be charged on the day you sign up for the membership, automatically making you a member. You can start using your membership right away!
  • The membership fee is non-refundable. If you do not use all of your sessions, you still have to pay the fee.
  • You can pause your membership through PayPal if you don’t think you will use the darkroom for a month.
  • We can only process the subscription online through PayPal. Please email photography@chaw.org if PayPal is not an option for you.


6 Beseler enlargers

B&W Film Chemistry – All provided (D-76 1:1 for processing)

B&W Paper Chemistry – Stop Bath and Fix (Paper Dev and Permafix not provided)

UV exposure box, 20”x24” capacity

Two double sinks

Trays, tongs, measuring cups, thermometers

Negative carriers, contrast filters, easels, contact printers

Patterson and metal film canisters for processing film

Paper drying rack screens

Film drying cabinet

Heat press

*Updated April 2023