Skip to main content

C-type printing is a professional photographic printing process that produces high-quality, archival prints. It is widely used by photographers and artists to showcase their work, and is also a popular choice for homeowners who want to create stunning prints of their personal photos.

C-type printing is also known as chromogenic printing. The term chromogenic comes from the Greek words chroma (colour) and genesis (birth). Chromogenic printing is a process in which colour is created from a latent image using a chemical reaction.

C-type printing is the most common type of photographic printing used today. It is used to produce prints from both digital and film images. C-type prints are available in a variety of sizes and finishes, and can be printed on a variety of papers.

C-type printing is a complex process, but it produces high-quality, archival prints that are perfect for professional photographers, artists, and homeowners alike.

C-type prints are created by exposing a light-sensitive photographic paper to a digital image. The paper is then processed in a series of chemical baths, which develop, fix, and stabilise the image. C-type prints are known for their wide colour gamut, excellent contrast, and sharp detail.

C-type printing is a complex process that requires specialised equipment and training. However, the benefits of C-type prints make them well worth the investment. In this article, we will demystify the science behind C-type printing and discuss the many advantages of this professional process.

The Science Behind C-Type Printing

The science behind C-type printing is based on the photochemistry of silver halide. Silver halide is a compound sensitive to light, utilised in both photographic film and paper. Light exposure initiates a chemical transformation in silver halide, forming a latent image.

This latent image remains imperceptible to direct observation but can be transformed into a discernible picture by placing the photographic paper in a development solution.

The developer bath contains chemicals that convert the silver halide into metallic silver. The metallic silver forms the black and white image that we see on a photographic print.

C-type printing uses a special type of photographic paper that is coated with three layers of silver halide emulsion, one for each primary colour (red, green, and blue). When a digital image is projected onto the paper, the light hits the different layers of emulsion and creates a latent image for each primary colour.

The latent images are then developed in a series of chemical baths, one for each primary colour. The developer baths convert the silver halide into metallic silver, forming the colour image that we see on a C-type print.

choosing c-type printing for pictures

Benefits of C-Type Printing

There are many benefits to C-type printing, including:

  • High-Quality Results: C-type prints are known for their exceptional clarity, sharpness, and detail retention.
  • True-to-Life Colours: The process produces continuous tone prints, ensuring smooth gradations without the dot patterns that some other printing methods might exhibit. This results in vivid and lifelike colours.
  • Durability: With proper care, C-type prints can last for decades without significant fading or colour shift, making them ideal for archival purposes.
  • Wide Colour Gamut: C-type printing can reproduce a broad range of colours, making it ideal for capturing the nuances in photographs.
  • Consistency: Once calibrated, the printing process can produce consistent results across multiple prints, ensuring uniformity for editions or series.
  • Versatility: C-type prints can be produced in various sizes, from small prints for portfolios to larger prints suitable for exhibitions or displays.
  • Smooth Finish: Unlike some other print methods, C-type prints do not show pixelation, even in large sizes, resulting in a seamless, smooth appearance.
  • Flexibility with Papers: The process is compatible with various paper types, including matt, glossy, and metallic, allowing photographers to choose the best medium for their work.
  • Cost-Effective for Large Runs: While the initial setup might be considered costly for some, C-type printing can be cost-effective for larger print runs.
  • Traditional Feel: For many photographers and enthusiasts, the allure of C-type printing is also in its connection to traditional darkroom practices, giving a tangible and organic touch to the art of photography.

Given these benefits, it’s clear why C-type printing remains the gold standard in the realm of photographic printing, cherished by many for its impeccable quality and reliability.

C-Type Printing for professional photographers and framing

C-Type Printing for Professional Photographers

C-Type printing is a trusted and popular printing method amongst professional photographers in the UK and beyond. The main allure is its unmatched ability to reproduce colours with incredible accuracy and depth, offering images a luminous, almost three-dimensional appearance. This process uses light-sensitive paper which, when exposed to certain chemicals, ensures longevity and resistance to fading, preserving the photographer’s work for future generations. Additionally, C-Type prints can be created in large sizes without losing detail or clarity, making them perfect for exhibitions or grand format displays. In an industry where precision, colour fidelity, and durability are essential, C-Type printing is an invaluable asset for professional photographers.


C-type printing is an expert photographic method yielding top-tier prints. It is widely used by photographers, artists, and homeowners to create stunning prints of their work.

If you are looking for the highest quality prints for your photography, C-type printing is the best option. C-type prints are known for their wide colour gamut, excellent contrast, and sharp detail. They also possess a high archival quality and can remain vibrant without fading or deteriorating for an extended period.