Salt Print Formula

Salt Print Formula

I once did a workshop on Photogenic Drawings with the Ostermans, they are two of the very best teachers of this process. I remember I desperately wanted to do a workshop with them for wet plates. Unfortunately that course was booked but what was still available was photogenic drawings. I had no idea what they where but I was determined to do an Ostermans workshop regardless.

The workshop was more than a hands on learning, it was near life changing. It was like re-enacting the birth of photography, seeing it happen for the first time. The workshop was hosted at Fox Talbots home in Lacock, this made everything so special, being able to photograph things that Fox Talbot captured. Since that course I have been hooked on Salt printing.

I almost exclusively print with the Salt printing technique. Salt prints are fairly simple to create. Like all such processes whilst the basics seem fairly simple, to create good prints requires a lot of trial and error.

For those interested in my Salt printing formula I have included it below.

Salt Solution
Gelatin  2g
Ammonium Chlorid 6g
Sodium Citrate 6g
Distilled water

Add the Gelatin into 100ml of water and allow to bloom for 10mins
Add 180 of warm water
Add the Ammonium Chloride and Sodium Citrate
Stir well

Silver Solution
Silver Nitrate 12% solution

I apply the Salt solution to the paper with a blanchard brush and then leave it to dry thoroughly. To coat I leave the brush in the solution for a minute or more to fully saturate. I then brush the paper in one direction only heavily overlapping each stroke. I then brush in the other direction.

This stage can be done in the light but actually doing it in the dark with a red-light shining to the side of the paper makes it easier to see how even your coating is.

I then apply the silver nitrate in the same manner. This needs to be done under red-light.

I  place my negative into a printing frame and print under a UV face tanner for the duration of the exposure (in my case – 5 mins)

I always give my salt prints a through wash in tap water to remove all silver chloride from the paper. This usually takes about 3 five minute tray washes with agitation.

I fix my prints with a 10% Sodium Thiosulfate bath for 5 mins. Into this I add 2g of sodium carbonate to reduce bleaching

Final wash
After fixing I leave my prints in a tray of running water for 30 mins.