I created this special 44-page quick start guide to help you create Platinum & Palladium fine art prints in a fraction of the time if you had to research, test, and troubleshoot the process on your own. The learning materials include the core book in PDF format, and I have created several videos that help illustrate the concepts and steps in the book.
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To help you make your first prints as quickly as possible using digital negatives, I have invested a lot of time in making a special Photoshop curve that you can use. Creating the custom curve for platinum/palladium is one of the biggest hurdles in making high-quality prints. The curve is located in the resources library after you purchase the training materials. You will be able to download the special curve file to a safe place on your computer and later in the book, I will walk you through how to load and apply it to your digital negative.
I provide a detailed list of requirements and materials needed so that you can begin sourcing everything prior to starting the step-by-step process that I provide in the book.
In the spirit of quick start guides, I get directly to the point in the shortest amount of time without sacrificing necessary details. If you want an in-depth course on how to make platinum and palladium prints, then you may want to check out my comprehensive book. You can check out my main learning resources page for availability.
You can use a digital camera or scan your film to create your digital negatives in Photoshop. You will be editing and producing a finished positive image as your first step in the process before applying a custom curve that I have developed for you in Photoshop.
Next, you will invert your image and use a custom set of printing controls that I walk you through in this book. The result is a digital negative that you will use in your platinum/palladium printmaking process.
Before you can make a print, I walk you through how to establish your standard printing time for your specific paper, developer, and film combination in your local UV printer. No one can give you this time, it is something you have to establish yourself.
Once you have your standard printing time established, you can being the printmaking process.
I walk you through the entire process from mixing and coating your sensitizer to exposing, developing, clearing, and washing your first platinum/palladium print.
You can expect to invest a weekend making your first few prints after you have assembled all of the necessary materials. I included the list of materials in the book description, so you could get them ordered right away while you start reading the book.
I believe there is no other medium in photography that produces a timeliness and valuable piece of art like platinum and palladium fine prints. The process from beginning to end is a true artisan process that you can master over time.
I encourage you to visit your local museum and view some platinum and platinum/palladium prints from the greats that came before us. You will probably be speechless, just like I was, and continue to be, every time I view these pieces of art.
I am honored to help you in your journey and I look forward to connecting with you.
Once you start producing prints that you are proud of, contact me and we can discuss publishing your prints in an edition of the Darkroom Underground Magazine.
I wish you the best as you get started and I am excited to see what you create.
The information in this quick start guide is optimized for the following materials. While it is possible to use different materials, I cannot guarantee your results if you deviate from this list on the critical items such as chemicals, paper, and film. I provide links to suggested items as a way to help you verify the materials. I have no affiliation with any of these suppliers.
In order to create platinum/palladium prints using the method outlined in this quick start guide, you will need the following:
- Photoshop (any version from CS4 and later will work)
- A High-Quality Inkjet Printer (I use an Epson 3880 and my step-by-step instructions are geared towards Epson printers)
- UV Printer (You need a reliable UV light source. I have a DIY video workshop to help you design and build your own printer for a significant savings over a commercial printer).
- Pictorico TPU Premium OHP Transparency Fim (8.5” x 11”) - B&H Link
- Platinum/Palladium Chemicals (Na2 Platinum/Palladium Kit for Digital Negatives from Bostick & Sullivan)
- 5 Darkroom Trays (Development, Distilled Water Bath, Clearing Bath 1, Clearing Bath 2, Washing Tray)
- Nitrile Gloves - Amazon Link
- Small Clear Glass Shotglass for mixing chemicals - Amazon Link
- High-Quality Coating Brush - Amazon Link
- Paper - You will want to start with a high quality paper that is known to work with the platinum/palladium process. I have standardized on Hahnemühle Platinum Rag, but Arches Platine also works well.
- Contact Printing Frame - You will want to have a contact printing frame, the style that has the spring/hinged back in the size or sizes that you plan on printing. I like to print on paper a little larger than the image size. For example, I use 8x10 paper for my 5x7 negatives, and I use 11x15 paper for my 8x10 negatives.
- Print Drying Screens - I made my own from simple 1x2 pine and stretched screen over the opening. You can also use old picture frames and stretch the screen over them.
- Distilled Water - All of your print processing, except for the final wash should use distilled water.
- Archival Print Washing - You will need to wash your prints for at least 30 to 45 minutes in running tap water to complete your processing. One of the cheapest ways to wash your prints is to just use a darkroom tray. You will want to keep the print submerged below the surface of the water. Another option is to invest in an archival print washer that allows you to wash several prints at one time. When you are just starting out, a tray will work just fine.
- Timers - I like to keep at least two timers in my printmaking area (1 for coating and print drying and another for the wet processing.
- Temperature/Humidity Meter - Amazon Link
- Misc. Items - paper towels, lint-free towel for cleaning glass, old towels, blue painters tape, No 2 pencil, glass cleaner, a heater to warm chemicals, hair dryer, plexiglass used for coating your paper.