Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography


Lesson Info

Ink Jet Negative Development

Okay, so now we've got our experiment here that we're gonna pull out. And basically the print now you can't see much more detail in it. And the amount of exposure's gonna be a little bit different because it's going over the ink. So it may have needed longer time. It kinda depends on each image. But we'll go on ahead now. And what that should hopefully do is as it prints, it's gonna allow a little of the color to still come through, but the blacks will come through from the platinum process. So we'll go ahead, and the same process. We pour over the top and now we end up pulling in some of that detail. And I'll let this process for about a minute and then we'll go on ahead and then turn the lights on and see how much of that color got preserved. So with this process, one of the things that you can do, too, is you can come back in and start to really look at how to manipulate the color in that color file and figure out where is the color gonna show through and not show through. And then ...

you can use mask in PhotoShop to paint in and emphasize or de-emphasize certain elements of the color. On the negative, because it's a negative, remember what's black on the negative is gonna block up more of the color and what's white on the negative is gonna let through more color, 'cause it's clear, so it's gonna let more of the light through. So more of the platinum will develop. So you'll have that piece to look at. I was smidge bit off. There's a really black line here on the edge. So smidge bit off on the registration there. But it's a wheat field of moving grass and moving clouds on a long exposure, so it's a good one if you're gonna miss the registration a little bit. I'm not saying that I intentionally picked that one to demo, it was just blind luck. So okay, that'll come out here in just a second. It's then gonna go through the same process. So even though it had that ink underlay I'm still gonna run it through the exact same process. I'm gonna run it through the exact same steps. So we'll go ahead and pull that out of the developer here. And we can go ahead and flip the lights. Everybody in here is gonna blink rapidly for about 30 seconds. All right, so what I end up with now is you can see some of the platinum come through the image. I've got kinda a deeper color in the blue. So I can lay those side by side, there we go. So you can see this is the inkjet print, exact copy of the inkjet print, and then there's what the platinum did as it developed in. So now I ended up with kind of a really nice cool, those blacks really brought out and accentuated some of the color. I got back some of the pop in my yellow because the black is what creates contrast. And so basically what's happened is I've reinserted all the contrast back into the image, but I've been able to use that beautiful, beautiful rich deep black. It's also because I talked about how it pulls the fiber and pulls the chemistry in, it's created additional depth to the print that wasn't there before. So I've got that as kind of a cool little fun technique that I'm not gonna lie to you, I am very glad actually showed up. When you say to yourself, "Oh, I've got this great idea, I'm gonna try this thing." "Have you ever tried it before?" "No, but it's gonna go great."

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.


Class Introduction
Overview of the Alternative Process
Overview of the Digital Negative Process
Working with Black and White Digital: What You Need
Working With Black and White Digital Images: Color Settings
Working with Black and White Digital Images Lightroom
Working With Black and White Digital Images Photoshop
Working With Black and White Digital Images 3rd Party Plug-ins
Avoiding Key Artifacts
Creating the Step Wedge for Curve Corrections
Organizing Your Adobe® Photoshop® Files and Curves
Setting Up the Printer
Lab Safety and Workspace Set-Up
Setting the Maximum Black Time
Getting the Initial Curve Test Numbers
Correcting the Curve
Printing the Curve
Sharing Curves
Caring for the Digital Negative
Intro to Cyanotypes and Safety
Paper and Brush Types
Coating Process and Cyanotype Chemistry
Making the Cyanotype Print
Washing the Cyanotype Print
Creating Cyanotypes Photograms
Toning Cyanotypes and Cleaning Up the Darkroom
Introduction to Van Dyke Printing
Setting Up the Van Dyke Workstation
Van Dyke Paper and Coating
Van Dyke Exposure and Developing
Van Dyke Troubleshooting and Resources
Van Dyke: Split Toning
Van Dyke: Wash Cycle and Drying
Van Dyke: Clean Up Process
Introduction to Platinum / Palladium Printing
Platinum/Palladium Coating Chemistry and Safety
Platinum/Palladium Paper and Coating Options
Platinum/Palladium Exposure and Development
Platinum/Palladium: Equipment and Supplies
Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure
Platinum/Palladium Chemistry Options
Ink Jet Negative Development
Platinum/Palladium Waxing Images
Platinum/Palladium Troubleshooting and Resources
Sharing Your Work Digitally
Matting and Framing Options
Editions and Signing Options
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!!!
  • So good to hear the info. I am glad to have more input into this, my favorite process! Bought this one and will gain a LOT from this!