1. Make a test strip.
2. Look at the important bright highlight areas (ignoring extremely bright areas that can be burned in or flashed). These bright highlights should have just enough darkness to show detail, yet still retain brightness. If the highlights are too light, give the print more exposure; if they are too dark, give the print less exposure. When judging exposure, ignore the shadow tones.
3. Once the exposure is correct, examine the important dark shadows (ignoring extremely dark areas that can be dodged or even reduced). assuming proper exposure (it is difficult to make a reasonable judgement about the shadows if the highlights are too dark or too light, these shadows should be dark--almost black--but still retain detail. If the shadows are too light, increase the print contrast; if the shadows are too dark, decrease the contrast.
4. Make sure, after a contrast change, that the important highlights have not become too bright or too dark. In adjusting print contrast, the exposure may have to be altered (for example, to compensate for the exposure speeds of different contrast papers).
5. Once the highlights and shadows are set, burn, flash, dodge, or reduce the extremely bright or extremely dark areas as needed.
DETERMINE TEST STRIPS BY HIGHLIGHTS. EXPOSE PAPER FOR HIGHLIGHTS AND DEVELOP FOR THE BLACKS.