The Joy of POP #1: Introduction

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This is the first part of my ‘Joy of POP’ series about how to get the best out of the platinum/palladium printing-out process. Here is a link to the whole series.

The platinum/palladium printing-out process (POP) is an amazing thing. It is so good that this year I switched away from the traditional developing-out process which I have used for years.

Here are my biggest three reasons for switching:

  1. I can get a wider range of tones – all the way from super-strong blacks, through chocolatey burnt umbers, to graceful silvers.
  2. I don’t have to keep lots of different grades of Potassium Oxalate developer available. I still use Potassium Oxalate developer, but now I just need one standard mix.
  3. The printing-out process is immune to black spots. Since switching I have not seen a single black spot, while before switching I would see these almost every day.

And here are three common misconceptions about POP that I have learned are myths:

  1. Prints are inconsistent. This is only true if you do not have control over humidity. You can get control with a few simple steps. My prints are completely consistent.
  2. It is hard to manage contrast. Actually the opposite is true. I have learned that contrast control is really easy.
  3. The process is tricky/finicky/more trouble than it is worth. This is also not true. The process is incredibly easy. Actually, by comparison, POP makes the traditional process look tricky/finicky/more trouble than it is worth.

Properly covering this process was one of my goals when writing The Platinum Printing Workshop. I had dabbled with it before, but this was the first time I made a serious attempt to learn and understand it. I am happy with what I wrote, but since I published my book I have learned much more.

Over a series of blog posts I will explain how to work with the printing-out process, how to avoid some common mistakes, and how to get the best out of your prints. I hope these instructions will stand on their own, although they are really intended as a supplement to my book, especially Chapter 6.

The way of working I will describe pulls together various elements of all three of the main printing-out process variants: Pizzighelli’s historical process, Malde-Ware, and the Ziatype. I hope you will find that this way of working is simple, down to earth, and very effective.


If you find this series valuable, then please consider buying The Platinum Printing Workshop. Here are links to the downloadable ebook and the printed version.

Updated links for the third edition: