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The Science of C Printing


The Science of C Printing

C printing is a fascinating technique that is widely used in the production of today’s color photography. However, the process of C printing isn’t as easy as it appears. In fact, the science behind C printing is as intricate and detail-oriented as the finished photography itself.

How C Printing Works

The “C” in C printing stands for “chromogenic.” The chromogenic process essentially replaces the raw silver image with color dye that converts the photo from black and white to color.

There are a few critical steps to remember in the C printing method. Keep in mind that this is the process most commonly used in today’s development of C prints. Made popular by Kodak, they coined their specific C printing process the RA-4 method.

The RA-4 Method

  1. Identify your medium. In most cases, common photographic paper is used, and delicately exposed to form the latent image. A latent image is the invisible photo that has not yet been materialized into the final product, because it has not yet been exposed to light and color.
  2. Once you’ve converted the latent image, you then run the photograph through the RA-4 color process, by subjecting it to bleach, dye and other chemicals.
  3. It’s critical that this chemical process occur at exactly 100 degrees F. After the paper is complete with the coloring process, the remaining chemicals are washed out of the paper using water. Ideally, all elements of the photo will dry out evenly, which is your primary indicator that you’ve successfully C printed the color photograph.

Duggal’s History as a C Printing Partner

Duggal has worked with many professional photographers in developing their photographs to perfection. Although DIY kits exist for C printing, the precision with which this process must occur is crucial to the overall quality of your final product.

If you have photographs that need C print processing, or have an upcoming project that will require a developing partner, get in touch with one of our experts. We have helped curate and create outstanding C print photographs with photographers of all skill levels, from all around the world.