5 Fine Arts Photography Print Techniques

Photo printing techniques

What makes a photograph a work of art?  Is the subject matter?  The use of color or black and white?  It’s tone and texture or its historical context?  The answer of course, is all of these.  Half the fun of photography is experimenting in the dark room or with editing software.  Here are printing techniques sure to transform your next simple rendering of reality into a work of art:1.  Solarisation

Probably the oldest observed photography effect; solarisation occurs when the image recorded on a negative or photographic print is reversed-the dark areas appear light and the light areas appear dark.   Artist Man Ray was a master at this technique.  In film development, the best solarisation pictures occur accidentally due to interruption in the agitation process and exposure to light.  In digital photography, this effect is quite simple to achieve in Photoshop by adjusting the saturation and playing with the blending mode.

2.  Cyanotype

Popularized by photographer Anna Atkins, cyanotypes get their name from the Prussian blue tone of the final photograph. They can be printed on any surface that can absorb the photosensitive iron solution.  Film prints are typically made with large format negatives and lithography film or even everyday objects.  Film cyanotypes are susceptible to extreme fading and must be stored in a dry dark place.  Digitally enhanced photos last longer and are easy to create by manipulating the blur and filters on Photoshop.

3.  Bromoil

This classic printing technique isn’t one that can be easily duplicated using an editing software program, because bromoil is essentially about using oil, or ink, to create a photographic print.  Through the bromoil process you can create painterly pictures with soft blended texture and timeless beauty of an oil painting.  However it does require some patience, so try the link to learn the step by step process.

4.  Redscale

In a film camera, Redscale is a color photo effect that occurs when the emulsion side of the film is exposed first.  You have to load your film upside-down.  This leaves the layer of blue dye in the film unexposed.  Your finished photo will display tones from pale yellow to crimson.  It’s a very simple to reproduce in Photoshop by eliminating the blue, saturating the reds and balancing the greens.

5.  Bleach Bypass

The bleach bypass effect occurs when the bleaching function is skipped or partial completed during color film process.  To perfect this effect with film, remember to underexpose your photo one-stop.  The result is a black and white composition with distinct contrast, grain and with color dye retention.  of this effect takes fine tuning but is lots of fun with beautiful results.

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