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Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography

Lesson 1 of 49

Class Introduction


Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography

Lesson 1 of 49

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

I'm really, really excited about this class because it really is a great chance to combine all of the really cool things about photography that go back to really, the very beginning of photography. They go back to a time when we actually didn't even have the type of cameras. We were really just trying to figure out how did we capture light, how did we hold light in a permanent way? And then it combined that with what we're doing today with the most modern cameras. So even if you went out and bought the latest camera, you could take that information and combine it back with that historical process. So it's a really, really kind of a, a cool time. The other thing about it that I think is really interesting is that it gives us a chance to connect into the historical stream of photography in a way that, if you're only participating, say in digital photography, you may not realize all the things that happened before that came to the way photography developed. So how did we start to get prin...

ts? How did we get into all these different looks, all these different aesthetics? And then the other thing that I find interesting is when we look at some of the things that happened, if you're only say, a iPhone or a phone photographer and you use Instagram and the filters that are on there, a lot of those filters are inspired by these historical processes. So the way we've created things before to how we're doing them now. We're all interconnected with that. So I think it's a really exciting time for that. So for this class, what we're gonna do is, we're gonna talk about how we actually take these digital photographs we've captured and convert those into what we call a digital negative. And we'll see what those are here in a little bit. And then we're gonna output those. And what we've done with the class is we've got three of the historical processes we're gonna learn. We're gonna learn cyanotypes, which is kind of the classic blue-looking photograph you might remember if you've seen in a museum or in a book. We're also gonna look at a Van Dyke print and a Van Dyke uses silver nitrate so it's one of the earliest silver printing techniques we have. And then we're gonna look at platinum plating, which is kind of like the Hallmark, the top pinnacle of alternative processes, mainly in part, because it's very expensive, but also produces an incredibly beautiful rich tonal scale. So that's what we're gonna do over the next couple of days. So we're gonna do all of those things. And we're gonna start really looking at the digital side first and then we'll move into the darkroom. The great part about this is this is all super accessible, so I've put together a kit through Bostick and Sullivan. They provide the alternative solutions so you can get that kit. It's in the bonus materials, you've got a discount code there. But everything you would need to do everything you're gonna see in the class, we've put together. I've got bonus materials with step-by-step instructions. Everything you're gonna need to do this at home. And one of the things you can do, is once you get that kit, literally, with the cyanotype process, which we're gonna do later today. If you get that kit, you could literally be making a cyanotype within five minutes of it arriving at your house. So, from the easiest of things, we can get started. So it's super accessible for everybody. Even though it seems like oh my gosh, these are complicated things and there are chemicals involved and all these things. Super, super easy and accessible. So it's a really, really kind of cool and exciting time.

Class Description

In a world where most photos are captured digitally it’s good to remember the beauty of print and all of the creative options alternative processes have to offer. The history of printing photos introduces techniques and tools that can improve your eye in the field and open up doors to new perspectives. Fine artist and educator Daniel Gregory gives the steps needed to get you started in exploring the many formats out there. You’ll learn:

  • An overview of what alternative processing is and the many formats out there
  • How to create a digital negative
  • How to setup and test your curve
  • How to print a Cyanotype
  • How to create a Van Dyke Print
  • Chemistry, Safety and Developing techniques
  • Platinum and Palladium Printing processes

In this introductory course, you’ll be given the key elements to get you started in expanding your creativity and exploring alternative photographic processes.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Overview of the Alternative Process
  3. Overview of the Digital Negative Process
  4. Working with Black and White Digital: What You Need
  5. Working With Black and White Digital Images: Color Settings
  6. Working with Black and White Digital Images Lightroom
  7. Working With Black and White Digital Images Photoshop
  8. Working With Black and White Digital Images 3rd Party Plug-ins
  9. Avoiding Key Artifacts
  10. Creating the Step Wedge for Curve Corrections
  11. Organizing Your Adobe® Photoshop® Files and Curves
  12. Setting Up the Printer
  13. Lab Safety and Workspace Set-Up
  14. Setting the Maximum Black Time
  15. Getting the Initial Curve Test Numbers
  16. Correcting the Curve
  17. Printing the Curve
  18. Sharing Curves
  19. Caring for the Digital Negative
  20. Intro to Cyanotypes and Safety
  21. Paper and Brush Types
  22. Coating Process and Cyanotype Chemistry
  23. Making the Cyanotype Print
  24. Washing the Cyanotype Print
  25. Creating Cyanotypes Photograms
  26. Toning Cyanotypes and Cleaning Up the Darkroom
  27. Introduction to Van Dyke Printing
  28. Setting Up the Van Dyke Workstation
  29. Van Dyke Paper and Coating
  30. Van Dyke Exposure and Developing
  31. Van Dyke Troubleshooting and Resources
  32. Van Dyke: Split Toning
  33. Van Dyke: Wash Cycle and Drying
  34. Van Dyke: Clean Up Process
  35. Introduction to Platinum / Palladium Printing
  36. Platinum/Palladium Coating Chemistry and Safety
  37. Platinum/Palladium Paper and Coating Options
  38. Platinum/Palladium Exposure and Development
  39. Platinum/Palladium: Equipment and Supplies
  40. Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure
  41. Platinum/Palladium Chemistry Options
  42. Ink Jet Negative Development
  43. Platinum/Palladium Waxing Images
  44. Platinum/Palladium Troubleshooting and Resources
  45. Sharing Your Work Digitally
  46. Archivability
  47. Matting and Framing Options
  48. Editions and Signing Options
  49. Alternative Processes: Further Exploration



For a long time, I have read, studied and tried alternative processing, mainly Platinum/Palladium printing. I want to create longest lasting prints and may be share the info at Creative Live. But this presentation saved me many a hours. A few minutes into the lecture, I purchased the class and as the class progressed, I was extremely glad. Thank you Creative Live, thank you Daniel Gregory.


Excellent class on Alt Process and fantastic bonus materials included with purchase!!! I have extensive digital printing and darkroom experience but haven't done much alt-process to date. This is perfect timing for me as I have several personal projects that I would like to re-visit using some of these techniques. Thank you Daniel!!!

James H Johnson

I have been making platinum/palladium prints for about 1 year. This is the 3rd workshop that I have attended. The first two were one on one. Daniel has done a fantastic job of covering the material and explained the process it detail and easy to understand. This course is fantastic and highly recommend it.