Platinum Palladium


Platinum Palladium

Platinum Palladium Print

The platinotype (a print made solely of platinum metal salts) was first patented by William Willis in 1873 for the Platinotype Company. They manufactured a large variety of photographic platinum papers as did their competitors Eastman Kodak and Gevaert. It was practiced widely until platinum became too difficult and expensive to source when the British government restricted its use to the production of explosives during World War I. The cheaper and easier to obtain palladium was introduced into the emulsion at this time. After the war, cameras became smaller, producing negatives unsuited for the contact printing done with platinum printing. The process fell into obscurity but resurged in the 1960s as alternative processes gained popularity.*

Platinum Palladium Workshops


They are often called the holy grail of photographic printing.


From the Series Water Works

Wide Tonal Range

Between black and white there are endless shades of smooth and nuanced greys. The tonal range opens the shadows of an image and expands the highlights so that more detail can be seen in these extreme parts of the image.

Precious Metals

The print is made up of a chemical mixture of the precious metals platinum and palladium, hence the name.


Photographic media is by definition light-sensitive, and platinum palladium is the most permanent and fade-resistant of them. Platinum and palladium are noble metals meaning they are resistant to corrosion and oxidation, common problems with silver and pigment prints. The paper the image sits on will disintegrate before the image changes.


Platinum Palladium Print
Digital Negative

*For more information on the history of platinum palladium printing and the print itself read The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes: Platinotype by Dusan C. Stulik and Art Kaplan.

Luminaria’s Capabilities

David Hyams, master printer and our co-founder, has spent his career understanding the chemistry behind these prints, how to control variations, and using digital negatives for consistency, ease, and preventing waste. Some of our capabilities include:

Controlling tonal shifts

Would you like your print to be warmer, cooler, or somewhere in between? We can print to your desired aesthetic.

Glossy finishing

Platinum palladium prints have a matte surface. We can add a glossy finish with a final coat of gum arabic, enhancing contrast.

Digital Negatives

Platinum palladium requires contact printing, meaning the negative is not enlarged but printed 1:1 on the paper. With calibrated digital negatives we can take any of your digital images and output the perfect negative for your final print. Print sizes are dependent upon the file size of your digital image.


Our exposure unit allows us to print up to 24x36 inches.


Because our calibrated digital negatives keep us from wasting prints in testing, we are able to pass our savings onto our clients. Our pricing is based on materials costs, your customization requirements, and the market price for platinum and palladium. Because of this we can only provide a basic estimate of pricing on our website. Contact us to discuss your needs or schedule an appointment to visit our lab and samples.

  • 8x10 | $275
  • 11x14 | $375
  • 16x20 | $600
  • > 16x20 | please inquire


Weekend Workshop: Introduction to Palladium Printing

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This workshop will build on a basic knowledge of alternative printing with an in-depth introduction to palladium printing.  We will explore the process from capture to print including digital photography, digital negative workflow, paper options, paper coating, exposure, and how to choose the proper chemistry for your desired final aesthetic.  Finally we will discuss finishing techniques and where to source the various materials necessary to continue making palladium prints in your home studio.

Weekend Workshops require no minimum of enrollment but the maximum is 6 students. We will refund 80% of the fee if you cancel 3 weeks prior to the first day of the workshop. We will refund 50% of the fee if you cancel 1 week prior to the first day of enrollment. No refunds will be issued with less than 1 week notice of cancellation.

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Summer Workshop: Introduction to Alternative Processes

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This introduction to alternative processes touches on the basic techniques of contact printing, digital negatives, UV exposures, and hand-coated emulsions. Students will work with cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, and Kallitype to learn basic skills and form the basis for future classes focused on one medium.

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Summer Workshop: Advanced Digital Negatives-Combining Processes

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Digital negatives can be tailored to the process you want to print. When combining processes you can tailor your negative to the parts of the image you wish to be in one process versus another. In this class you will build upon a basic knowledge of digital negatives to learn how to reverse engineer a print and tailor your negatives to the desired outcome.

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Summer Workshop: Introduction to Digital Negatives

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Many alternative processes are done with contact printing and not negative enlargement. Prior to digital negatives, cumbersome and expensive medium and large-format cameras shot large negatives. At Luminaria we combine digital and darkroom techniques to design digital negatives for the process you want to print. In this class you will learn the basic principles for calibrating negatives for any process you like.

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Summer Workshop: Introduction to Platinum Palladium Printing

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Platinum palladium printing can be intimidating and expensive to learn, but at Luminaria we break down the steps so you waste as little as possible and build confidence. You will learn the basics of hand-coating paper, contact printing, exposing, developing, and washing these remarkable prints. Digital negatives will be used and students are encouraged to bring digital images to print.

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