Photography glossary of terms
Albumen print is a photographic printing process using egg whites with silver nitrate in the emulsion. The result renders a reddish cast to the photo.
Alternative processes is a term covers at least 35 distinct processes, some historic and some not, most having to do with processing the final print for unconventional effect.
Archival is a term used to describe a process that will last for 150 or more years without fading, changing color, or staining. Traditionally the term was used to describe painting and print making but today in the context of Photography, the term is used primarily to describe black and white gelatin silver prints that were processed correctly, making their longevity often as great as 200 years. Today archival refers also to any print form that will last 150 or more years.
Bromoil is a highly involved process than can generate one print or, in a transfer variation, many copies. Its chief quality is a delicate painterly/etcherly look. Lithographic ink is applied with a special brush to a gelatinized paper surface that selectively resists or attracts the ink.
Chromogenic development (Ektacolor) print or c-print is the most common type of color print for amateur and professional photographers. During development, the silver image is bleached out, leaving only the dye image.
Cibachrome is process by which a photographic print is made directly from a color transparency; noted for rich color, brilliant clarity and unprecedented archival quality for color prints; also called Ilfochrome.
Cyanotype and Vandyke methods, and others, made from metals combined with their ferric salts (platinum, palladium, gold, copper, etc.) can produce infinite monochrome variations with capacity to convey special moods.
Daguerreotype is an early photographic process (invented in 1839) where the impression made on a light-sensitive silver-coated metal plate is developed by mercury vapor. Each is an original since no duplication process exists.
Dye transfer is a method of making color prints or transparencies that gives the artist maximum control of color, balance and contrast. It is one of the most permanent color processes.
Gelatin silver print is a generic term referring to all prints made on paper coated with silver salts. Most contemporary black and white photographs are silver prints.
Giclée prints are usually created using 8- Color to 12-Color inkjet printers. Modern inkjet printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed fine art and photographic prints. Giclées can be printed to almost any size and on fine art media such as watercolor paper or canvas. Giclée prints longevity is based on the media and inks being used. Generally 100+ years is given for the expected life of the print.
Gum bichromate is often called “gum.” An early process in which exquisite colored prints are made by printing on paper coated with layer(s) of sensitized and pigmented gum arabic.
Lambda c-print is a digital printing process that creates continuous tone prints at the highest quality resolution possible.
Lightjet technology, in many print shops, has replaced the “Iris-type” printers that are used to produce traditional giclée prints. Because LightJet doesn’t “spurt ink” like a giclée printer but uses laser light, it cannot be called a giclée print. The papers and inks used have excellent color and sharpness and an archival life of 60 - 70+ years.
Photogram is a cameraless photographic image, and one of the earliest forms of photography, in which objects are placed directly on to a sheet of photographic paper. After a brief exposure to light, the imprint of the object, solid or translucent, is left as an image.
Photogravure is an intaglio printing process in which the image has been placed on a copper plate by photographic means using carbon tissues.
Platinum/palladium is a print in which the final image is formed in platinum or palladium. Both of these processes are extremely permanent and have delicate rich tones and ranges of greys that are unattainable in silver prints. These processes are enjoying a revival today with a number of contemporary photographers coating their own paper.
Polaroid transfer is a photographic image-transfer process, or print making technique, whereby the actual emulsion layer of a conventional Polaroid image is removed and applied to virtually any hard surface. This way an image can be put on textiles, cups, glass and many other surfaces.
Ultrachrome print is a print made from a digital file (or digital photograph) that uses an inkjet process with high - density pigment that has been tested to last for 150 years.