Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Prints and Photographs Reading Room (Prints and Photographs Division)
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >> Photo Processes
Two photographers taking each others' picture with hand-held cameras while perched on a roof

Popular Photographic Print Processes Represented in the Prints and Photographs Division

Scope | Table of Contents | Other Sources of Information


Included in this guide are descriptions and examples of photographic processes represented in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division. The information is meant to help people understand the history, function, and production techniques of original photographs viewed either at Reading Room tables or in our online catalog as digital reproductions.

Some processes are direct-image positives, while others are printed from various types of negatives. We have provided a Chronological Listing to indicate which processes were in use at the same time and to assist with dating images.

Table of Contents

Albumen print Albumen prints
Ambrotype Ambrotypes
Calotype Calotypes (Talbotype)
Carbon print Carbon prints
Cyanotype Cyanotypes
Daguerreotype Daguerreotypes
Gelatin silver print Gelatin silver prints
Gum bichromate print Gum bichromate prints
Photogravure Photogravures
Platinum print Platinum and Palladium prints
Salted paper print Salted paper prints
Tintype Tintypes (Ferrotypes, Melainotypes, Melanographs)
Woodburytype Woodburytypes
chronlogy icon Chronological listing

Other sources of information about photographic processes

The British Library, Photographic Processes External link

Image Permanence Institute. Graphics Atlas External link

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Understanding Photographic Processes External link

The Museum of the Confederacy, Collections & Library: The Collections: Photos External link

The New York Public Library, An Introduction to Photographic Processes External link

Victoria and Albert Museum, Photographic Processes External link

Compiled by: Kathryn Blackwell, Reference Assistant, based on text drafted by former Curator of Photography, Jerald C. Maddox. With editorial guidance from Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography and updates from P&P staff members. Last revised: Sept. 2017.

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >> Photo Processes
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  March 25, 2022
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian