Books on alternative photographic processes

We only list the books on alternative photographic processes we truly recommend on the subject. If you buy through the links to Amazon, a small percentage of the price will go towards running this website. If however, you choose the options where it says “Buy directly from the author” most of the money goes to the author.

Books on more than one alternative photographic process
Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques by Antonini, Marco, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, Gabriele Lungarella, and Luca Bendandi

Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques

by Antonini, Marco, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, Gabriele Lungarella, and Luca Bendandi

Systematically details experimental photographic techniques.

 

Experimental Photography Workbook: A Manual of Analog Black & White Darkroom Practice by Christina Z. Anderson

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Experimental Photography Workbook: A Manual of Analog Black & White Darkroom Practice

by Christina Z. Anderson

9 of 10   Rated 9,28 – based on 254 votes

Learn about a variety of alternative photographic processes.
A technical book highly recommended both for beginners and pros.

 

Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques

Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques

by Jill Enfield

Covering several techniques and even printing on ceramics.

 

New Dimensions in Photo Processes

New Dimensions in Photo Processes

by Laura Blacklow

Clear instructions in step-by-step to many of the processes.

 

Photo Imaging - A Complete Visual Guide to Alternative Techniques and Processes by Jill Enfield

Photo Imaging – A Complete Visual Guide to Alternative Techniques and Processes

by Jill Enfield

A definite resource for mastering alternative photo-imaging techniques. Out of print.

 

Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Concepts, Ideas, Materials, and Processes

Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Concepts, Ideas, Materials, and Processes

by Robert Hirsch

A well researched reference book covering many alt. procs.

 

Spirits of Salts / Alternative Photographic Processes

Spirits of Salts / Alternative Photographic Processes

by Randall Webb and Martin Reed

A Working Guide to Old Photographic Processes.

 

Siderotype Report 1, January 2009

Siderotype Report 1, January 2009

by Mike Ware

8 of 10   Rated 8 – based on 1 vote

e-Journal from Mike Ware

 

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes

by Christopher James

Cyanotypes, kallitypes, ambrotypes, anthotypes and more in classroom format.

 

The Darkroom Cookbook (Alternative Process Photography)

The Darkroom Cookbook (Alternative Process Photography)

by Steve Anchell

Description of 170 photographic processes.

 

Coming into Focus

Coming into Focus

by John Barnier

Practical instructions on 20 processes.

 

Breaking the Rules. A Photo Media Cookbook

Breaking the Rules. A Photo Media Cookbook

by Bea Nettles

Pinholes, cyanotypes, and more. Out of print.

 

The Art of Enhanced Photography. Beyond the Photoraphic Image

The Art of Enhanced Photography. Beyond the Photoraphic Image

by James Luciana and Judith Watts

Centered around interviews with seventeen photographers.

 

Alternative Photographic Processes: A Working Guide for Image Makers

Alternative Photographic Processes: A Working Guide for Image Makers

by Martin Reed, Randall Webb

A classic and an overview of alternative processes.

 

A guide to early photographic processes

A guide to early photographic processes

by Brian Coe and Mark Haworth-Booth

Detailing all the early photograhic processes. Out of print.

 

Historic Photographic Processes

Historic Photographic Processes

by Richard Farber

Extensive research and resources.

 

Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes

Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes

by Lyle Rexer

Information on many of the processes.

 

 

Albumen prints
The Albumen Print: A Practical Guide by Radosław Brzozowski

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The Albumen Print: A Practical Guide

by Radosław Brzozowski

8 of 10   Rated 8,5 – based on 4 votes

An artist sharing knowledge of Albumen printing.

 

 

Anthotypes
Anthotypes – Explore the darkroom in your garden and make photographs using plants
 

 

Bromoils
The Art of Bromoil & Transfer by David W. Lewis

The Art of Bromoil & Transfer

by David W. Lewis

9 of 10   Rated 9,44 – based on 9 votes

A book on the bromoil and transfer process.

 

 

Carbon and carbro printing
Carbon Transfer Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual, Featuring Contemporary Carbon Printers and Their Creative Practice

Carbon Transfer Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual, Featuring Contemporary Carbon Printers and Their Creative Practice

by Sandy King, Don Nelson and John Lockhart

Reviews the extensive history of carbon transfer and related pigment processes.

 

 

Chrysotype printing
Chrysotype: A Contemporary Guide to Photographic Printing in Gold by Leanne McPhee

Chrysotype: A Contemporary Guide to Photographic Printing in Gold

by Leanne McPhee

An affordable way to produce permanent prints in gold. By using film or digital negatives, striking hand-coated prints can be created.

 

The Chrysotype Manual: The Science and Practice of Photographic Printing in Gold

The Chrysotype Manual: The Science and Practice of Photographic Printing in Gold

by Mike Ware

10 of 10   Rated 9,9 – based on 12 votes

Intended for advanced practitioners of the photographic arts.

 

 

Cyanotypes
Blueprint to cyanotypes the book by Malin Fabbri

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Blueprint to cyanotypes – Exploring a historical alternative photographic process

by Malin Fabbri and Gary Fabbri

9 of 10   Rated 9,7 – based on 234 votes

All you need to get started with cyanotypes, full of information, tips and samples from artists.
An excellent beginners’ guide to cyanotypes!

 

Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice

Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice

by Christina Z Anderson

Contemporary Practices in Alternative Process Photography

 

Cyanotype toning: Using Botanicals to Tone Blueprints Naturally book by Annette Golaz

Cyanotype toning: Using Botanicals to Tone Blueprints Naturally

by Annette Golaz

A two-part book including a step-by-step how-to section to achieve a successfully toned print and a part devoted to artists who have explored toning.

 

Cyanotype: The History, Science and Art of Photographic Printing in Prussian Blue by Mike Ware

Cyanotype: The History, Science and Art of Photographic Printing in Prussian Blue

by Mike Ware

From Mike Ware chemist and inventor of the Cyanotype II process.

 

Cyanotypes on Fabric: A blueprint on how to produce ... blueprints! by Ruth Brown

 

Cyanotypes on Fabric: A blueprint on how to produce … blueprints!

by Ruth Brown

9 of 10   Rated 9,51 – based on 17 votes

Print cyanotypes on fabrics and textiles.
From the expert fabric printer comes a practical and well researched how-to book on cyanotypes.

 

 

Daguerrotypes
The Daguerreotype: Nineteenth-Century Technology and Modern Science

The Daguerreotype: Nineteenth-Century Technology and Modern Science

by M. Susan Barger, William B. White

 

What’s wrong with Daguerre?: Reconsidering old and new views on the invention of photography.
 

 

Gum bichromates
Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes

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Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes

by Christina Z. Anderson

10 of 10   Rated 9,89 – based on 234 votes

A Manual of Gum Dichromate and Other Contact Printing Processes.
Packed full of information.

 

Gum Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual, Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice

Gum Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual, Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice

by Christina Z Anderson

A step-by-step description of the gum printing process and showcases of artists’ works ranging from monochrome to colorful and from subtle to bold.

 

Gum bichromate book

The Gum Bichromate Book: Non-silver Methods for Photographic Printmaking

by David Scopick

Step-by-step guide to gum bichromates.

 

 

Gumoils
Gumoil Photographic Printing

Gumoil Photographic Printing

by Karl P. Koenig

Step-by-step guide to gumoils.

 

 

Kallitype & vandykes
Alchemist's Guide To The Kallitype Print: Printing In Silver

Alchemist’s Guide To The Kallitype Print: Printing In Silver

by Grant M. Handgis

A step-by-step guide to printing kallitypes.

 

Kallitype: The Processes and the History

Kallitype: The Processes and the History

by Dick Stevens

An extensive encyclopedia of history and various kallitype processes.

 

Making Kallitypes

Making Kallitypes

by Dick Stevens

A definitive guide.

 

Photographers' Formulary 07-0080 Van Dyke Printing Kit

Photographers’ Formulary 07-0080 Van Dyke Printing Kit

by Photographers’ Formulary

This kit will produce 100 4×5-inch or 25 8×10-inch prints.

 

Vandyke Brown Printing Kit

Vandyke Brown Printing Kit

by Photographers’ Formulary

Makes 100 4″ x 5″ prints or 25 8″ x 10″ prints – great for beginners.

 

 

Lith printing
The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course: A Definitive Guide to Creating Lith Printing

The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course: A Definitive Guide to Creating Lith Printing

by Tim Rudman

A step-by-step book on lith printing by an acknowledged master.

 

The World of Lith Printing: The Best of Traditional Darkroom and Digital Lith Printing Techniques

The World of Lith Printing: The Best of Traditional Darkroom and Digital Lith Printing Techniques

by Tim Rudman

World-wide collection of lith printing works.

 

 

Liquid emulsion
Silver Gelatin: A User’s Guide to Liquid Photographic Emulsions

Silver Gelatin: A User’s Guide to Liquid Photographic Emulsions

by Martin Reed, Sarah Jones

A practical art book illustrating the use of liquid photographic emulsion.

 

The Handmade Silver Gelatin Emulsion Print: Creating Your Own Liquid Emulsions for Black & White Paper

The Handmade Silver Gelatin Emulsion Print: Creating Your Own Liquid Emulsions for Black & White Paper

by Denise Ross

A cookbook of simple, basic recipes for making black and white printing paper and paper negatives.

 

 

Negatives – digital negatives and analogue, Photoshop and digital printing
Calibration for Alternative Photographic Processes by Calvin Grier

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Calibration for Alternative Photographic Processes

by Calvin Grier

A 4-part series on getting your alt. proc. prints right.
Become an expert calibrator.

 

Digital Negatives for palladium and other alternative processes

Digital Negatives for palladium and other alternative processes

by Ron Reeder

A complete manual for making high quality digital negatives for contact printing

 

Digital Negatives with QuadToneRIP: Demystifying QTR for Photographers and Printmakers

Digital Negatives with QuadToneRIP: Demystifying QTR for Photographers and Printmakers

by Ron Reeder and Christina Z. Anderson

Fully explores how the QuadToneRIP printer driver can be used to make expert digital negatives.

 

Making Digital Negatives with an Ink-Jet printer

Making Digital Negatives with an Ink-Jet printer

by Mike Ware

8 of 10   Rated 8,5 – based on 2 votes

A 20-page downloadable workflow on how to make negatives.
Excellent value.

 

Precision Digital Negatives for Silver & Other Alternative Photographic Processes

Precision Digital Negatives for Silver & Other Alternative Photographic Processes

by Mark Nelson

An eBook describing Color Density Range Control.

 

The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2)

The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2)

by Ansel Adams

Devoted to a discussion of light, film and exposure.

 

The New Inkjet Negative Companion - Digital Negatives Made Easy

The New Inkjet Negative Companion – Digital Negatives Made Easy

by Dan Burkholder

Dan Burkholder shares his methods and techniques.

 

 

Photopolymer, gravure, solarplates and printmaking
Polymer Photogravure: A Step-by-Step Manual, Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice by Clay Harmon

Polymer Photogravure: A Step-by-Step Manual, Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice

by Clay Harmon

Clear and easy to understand instructions.

 

Printmaking in the Sun

Printmaking in the Sun

by Dan Welden and Pauline Muir

Covering the solarprint, or the photopolymer process, an inspiring read!

 

Copper Plate Photogravure – Demystifying the Process

Copper Plate Photogravure – Demystifying the Process

by David Morrish and Marlene MacCallum

Step-by-step basic printing procedures for a photogravure plate, complete with trouble shooting information.

 

The Complete Printmaker

The Complete Printmaker

by John Ross, Jim Ross, Tim Ross

Step by step through the history and techniques of over forty-five print-making methods.

 

 

Pinhole photography and pinhole camera making
Built From Scratch: Adventures in X-ray film photography with a homemade 11×14 view camera by Scott Wittenburg
 

Exploring simple lenses - An in-depth practical guide to creative image-making by John Evans
 

From pinhole to print – Inspiration, instructions and insights in less than an hour by Malin Fabbri Gary Fabbri and Peter Wiklund
 

Pinhole Photography, Fourth Edition: From Historic Technique to Digital Application

Pinhole Photography, Fourth Edition: From Historic Technique to Digital Application

by Eric Renner

An inspiring book including ideas and techniques. Not for beginners.

 

The Pinhole Camera - A Practical How-To Book for Making Pinhole Cameras and Images

The Pinhole Camera – A Practical How-To Book for Making Pinhole Cameras and Images

by Brian Krummel

The benefits of pinholing, making cameras, material and darkroom skills.

 

Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes

Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes

by Alan Greene

The entire process from the beginning to end, at advanced level.

 

Adventures With Pinhole and Home-Made Cameras: From Tin Cans to Precision Engineering

Adventures With Pinhole and Home-Made Cameras: From Tin Cans to Precision Engineering

by John Evans

A variety of approaches to pinhole with lots of examples of camera building and technical aspects of building your own.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Pinhole Photography

The Beginner’s Guide to Pinhole Photography

by Jim Shull

Back to basics, recommended for beginners.

 
Platinum & palladium
Platinotype: Making Photographs in Platinum and Palladium with the Contemporary Printing-out Process

Platinotype: Making Photographs in Platinum and Palladium with the Contemporary Printing-out Process

by Pradip Malde and Mike Ware

Describes the mechanisms and chemistry of platinum/palladium printing in safe and practical ways.

 

Platinum and Palladium Printing by Dick Arentz

Platinum and Palladium Printing

by Dick Arentz

A complete guide..

 

The Old Made New: Richard Eugene Puckett’s Dry Print-Out Processes with Gold, Palladium, and Platinum
 

The Platinum Printing Workshop: Platinum/Palladium Printing Made Easy

The Platinum Printing Workshop: Platinum/Palladium Printing Made Easy

by Ian Leake

Workshop guide and walk-through of the process.

 

 

Salt prints
Salted Paper Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual Highlighting Contemporary Artists

Salted Paper Printing: A Step-by-Step Manual Highlighting Contemporary Artists

by Christina Z. Anderson

The history and the process: from beginner to intermediate level, with step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting.

 

The Salt Print Manual by Ellie Young

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The Salt Print Manual

by Ellie Young

9 of 10   Rated 9 – based on 2 votes

Learn how to make salt prints.
A practical manual in clear and jargon-free language.

 

 

Transfers: Image and Polaroid transfers, emulsion lifts and SX-70’s books
Acrylic Transfer Printing

Acrylic Transfer Printing

by Anton Zytnik

Make large-scale acrylic transfer prints for exhibition or private use.

 

Photographer's Guide to Polaroid Transfer: Step-By-Step

Photographer’s Guide to Polaroid Transfer: Step-By-Step

by Christopher Grey

Tutorials from the winner of the Nikon Certificate of Excellence.

 

Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer and Digital Prints

Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer and Digital Prints

by Kathleen Carr

Detailed hands-on instructions and step-by-step procedures.

 

Spice Up Your Photos: Creative photography techniques to put a spark in your photos

Spice Up Your Photos: Creative photography techniques to put a spark in your photos

by Nitsa Malik

Creative photography techniques to put a spark in your photos.

 

Watercolor Portrait Photography: The Art of Manipulating Polaroid SX-70 Images

Watercolor Portrait Photography: The Art of Manipulating Polaroid SX-70 Images

by Helen T. Boursier

The art and techniques of SX-70s.

 

 

Temperaprints
Creative Sunprinting; Early Photographic Printing Processes Rediscovered

Creative Sunprinting; Early Photographic Printing Processes Rediscovered

by Peter Fredrick

A cookbook of various processes. Out of print.

 

Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate

Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate

by Nancy Marculewicz

Includes a section on temperaprints.

 

 

Wet plate collodion and Ambrotypes
Chemical Pictures The Wet Plate Collodion Book: Making Ambrotypes, Tintypes & Alumitypes by

Chemical Pictures The Wet Plate Collodion Book: Making Ambrotypes, Tintypes & Alumitypes

by Quinn B Jacobson

Covers everything you need to know about wet-plate collodion photography.

 

Making the Sliding Box Camera: For Wet Plate Collodion or Daguerreotype Photography

Making the Sliding Box Camera: For Wet Plate Collodion or Daguerreotype Photography

by Ty Guillory

Learn how to construct a camera in wood, dating back to the daguerreotype era.

 

Making the Traditional Wet Plate Camera: Suitable for Wet Plate Collodion, Dry Plate, or Daguerreotype Photography

Making the Traditional Wet Plate Camera: Suitable for Wet Plate Collodion, Dry Plate, or Daguerreotype Photography

by Ty Guillory

From the basics to more advanced techniques on building a historically-correct bellows camera for plate photography.

 

The Ambrotype: A Practical Guide by Radosław Brzozowski

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The Ambrotype: A Practical Guide

by Radosław Brzozowski

8 of 10   Rated 8,0 – based on 6 votes

A step-by-step practical guide to ambrotypes.

 

The Wet Collodion Plate: 16 Steps To Making The Plates by Will Dunniway

The Wet Collodion Plate: 16 Steps To Making The Plates

by Will Dunniway

9 of 10   Rated 9,2 – based on 26 votes

  • Will sadly passed away in April 2021 so this book is no longer for sale here.

The veteran of collodion demonstrates in easy steps how to make plates.

 

 

Toning and handcolouring
Toning and Handcoloring Photographs

Toning and Handcoloring Photographs

by Tony Worobiec

More inspirational than technical.

 

 

After printing: Framing and image preservation
Framing Photography (Library of Professional Picture Framing, Volume 6)

Framing Photography (Library of Professional Picture Framing, Volume 6)

by Allan R. Lamb

For the professional framer.

 

Mechanisms of Image Deterioration in Early Photographs: The Sensitivity to Light of W.H.F. Talbot's Halide-fixed Images 1834-1844

Mechanisms of Image Deterioration in Early Photographs: The Sensitivity to Light of W.H.F. Talbot’s Halide-fixed Images 1834-1844

by Mike Ware

Very well researched.

 

 

History of alternative photographic processes
Alternate Processes in Photography: Technique, History, and Creative Potential

Alternate Processes in Photography: Technique, History, and Creative Potential

by Brian Arnold

A practitioner’s perspective on the history and practice of photographic processes. Out of print.

 

Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900

Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900

by Corey Kelly

Scientific experimentation blend with stories of showmanship to reveal how developments in 19th-century technology could enlighten as well as frighten and amaze.

 

Gold in Photography: The History and Art of Chrysotype

Gold in Photography: The History and Art of Chrysotype

by Mike Ware

9 of 10   Rated 9,83 – based on 6 votes

An indispensable insight into early photography

 

Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography

Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography

by Robert Hirsch

 

 

Artbooks – books showing the art of alternative photographic processes
Alternative Photography: Art and Artists, Edition I
 

Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography

Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography

by Martin Barnes

A number of artists using camera-less photography.

 

Sun Gardens: Victorian Photograms by Anna Atkins

Sun Gardens: Victorian Photograms

by Anna Atkins

A replica of the first photographic book published with cyanotypes, expensive and hard to get hold of.

 

The Story Behind The Images

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The Story Behind The Images

by Scott Wittenburg

9 of 10   Rated 9,5 – based on 2 votes

Art and instructions by Scott Wittenburg.

 

Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960

Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960

by Robert Hirsch

The art of experimental photographers.

 

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