The year 1826 marked the beginning of photographic printing when the Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented a primitive way of recording a photographic image and transferring it, using a conventional ink-based printing process, to paper. Ironically, ink was there at the very beginning of photography, and today it has become resurgent through inkjet technology.

WDC Investigates: Printing - Nicéphore Niépce?s ?View from the Window at Gras?Right: Nicéphore Niépce’s ‘View from the Window at Gras’, considered to be the first permanently captured image.

Niépce pre-dated fellow-countryman Louis Daguerre’s polished metal photographic imaging process that was invented in 1839, called the Daguerrotype, and Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot’s calotype silver chemistry-based process invented in 1840 that produced photographic images on paper.

For more than a hundred years, many further developments of silver-halide chemistry went on to dominate photographic film and printing, and indeed wet-process silver chemistry is still the main process used by mini-labs and professional processing labs owing to its relative speed and the low cost.

But of course, options for the contemporary digital photographer are by no means limited to wet-process printing, and there is no longer any need for a second exposure stage from a negative (or positive) original on film. Instead, digital image data is fed to an electro-mechanical printing device to produce the final printed image.

Two technologies, in particular, are now in widespread use, both in homes and offices as well as photographers’ studios: dye-sublimation, dye-sub for short, and inkjet. These technologies can be packaged in much more compact and affordable hardware than those heavy, industrial wet processors – hardware that can sit on your desk and even be taken out and used on location, using a battery.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. WDC Investigates: Printing - Dye-sub
  3. 3. WDC Investigates: Printing - Inkjet
  4. 4. WDC Investigates: Printing - It Is All About Droplets
  5. 5. WDC Investigates: Printing - Dyes Versus Pigment Inks
  6. 6. WDC Investigates: Printing - Print Heads
  7. 7. WDC Investigates: Printing - How Many Inks Do You Need?
  8. 8. WDC Investigates: Printing - Cartridge Choices
  9. 9. WDC Investigates: Printing - Inks
  10. 10. WDC Investigates: Printing - Independent Photo Papers
  11. 11. WDC Investigates: Printing - Colour Management
  12. 12. WDC Investigates: Printing - Print Quality Problems
  13. 13. WDC Investigates: Printing - What Size Printer?
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