Photographic Paper

What is photographic paper?

Photographic paper is a light-sensitive paper. It contains a special silver-halide emulsion layer that is able to “catch” light what can be developed to an image on the paper by using chemistry.

What is the silver-halide emulsion?

Do you remember the old times when the image was printed in the dark room from small film rolls? It was all about the light. Negative film was exposed to light and “printed” an image on paper which became positive again. At the beginning it was only black and white, later the colours came. Our silver halide emulsion comes from this story. It is light-sensitive and allows to develop an image on the paper. Nowadays, we print from a digital image, (it is still possible from negative film rolls). However, the process did not change much.

What is a C-type print?

It is another name for photographic paper. It means Chromogenic print.

Where does photographic paper consists of?

Photographic paper consists of seven layers. The bottom part is a waterfast paper base. It is followed by three light-sensitive layers and inter layers. First is blue sensitive layer that gives yellow, then first interlayer. Next is green sensitive layer that forms magenta with its inter layer. The last part is red sensitive layer that forms cyan. It is followed by the last inter layer and a protective layer on top.

How is an image printed on photographic paper?

Photographic paper is a paper coated with a light-sensitive formula. This layer of the paper is called the emulsion. When the silver halide crystals in this emulsion are exposed by means of an RGB exposure system, that uses the reaction of light on substances in this photo-sensitive paper, a latent image is created. Then, the photo paper is put through a chemical process using a developer, is fixed to create the image on the paper and the emulsion is washed out from the paper.

What are the other names of photographic paper?

Photographic paper has many names that are in use: Silver halide print, C-Type print, colour paper, Lambda – or Lightjet prints (the name refers to the machine, not the paper). They all describe the same photographic paper.


Is photographic paper vegan?

Photographic paper is not a vegan product, it contains gelatine. The light-sensitive emulsion is embedded in gelatine which gives the unique benefits. This gelatine protects the paper against image degradation by pollutants (such as Ozone), prevents bleeding and gives physically overall durability.

Do you have detailed information (or any information) of carbon footprint of photographic paper?

We can only provide you with an estimation of carbon footprint calculation for Supreme currently. The largest component to calculate the CO2 from is the base-paper (4000g/kg). We believe this is higher than regular paper (approx. 2000 g/kg) due to the higher density of our paper. We received this information from our paper supplier and we did not receive their full calculation. That is the main reason why we mentioned a rough estimation.
The rest of the CO|2 is from the emulsion, coating and finishing, including packaging, which happens at our site in Tilburg.
Supreme Carbon Footprint Estimation: 6500g/kg of the product.

Do you have detailed information (or any information) about the silver and other metals used for Fujifilm Photographic Paper and the effects on the environment?

As it is in our own interest, and because of our commitment to maximum safety of product and supply, we take our information obligations very seriously. We follow the European legislation and do not work with blacklisted materials/components.

Below is a technical explanation of the chemicals that are used by us to produce photographic paper and by photo labs to create photos.
To summarize, some chemicals are required to produce the photo paper product. However, they will not be found (or in a minimal amount) within the photographic print after developing. An important note is that ensuring good recycling of both silver and chemistry is required from the photo labs.

Silver halide salt such as silver chloride, silver bromide and silver iodide crystals are the most important components of light sensitive photo paper. Those salts are the receivers of the energy during exposure towards light. In addition, they are the (temporary) storage location of the energy between exposure and development. This storage location is known as a latent image and is metallic silver. During the development, there is a chemical reaction between the latent image and the developer agent, which enhanced the latent image so the complete silver halide crystal will become metallic silver. At the same time, the reaction product of the developer agent will react with the pre-colour agent towards a colour. This pre-colour agent and the colour itself are only soluble in oil phase and will not dissolve in water.

The metallic silver and the non-exposed silver crystals will be dissolved in 2nd process step – bleach fixing. After the bleach fixing and washing step, there is a limited amount of silver present on the paper. The amount on paper is less than 5 mg/m2.

The bleach-fixing bath has a big load of silver. Depending on the paper type and the replenishment rate this can be 3 ~7 g/l. Not only for the environment, but also for economy, this is worth to recover.

In order to have a good efficiency of the conversion from light (exposure) towards energy storage in the crystals, there are limited amounts of dopants metals in the crystals, such as gold and rhodium. Those are also removed during the bleach fixing process and are not present in the printed image.

The pre-colour agents and the colour itself are only soluble in oil phase and cannot be removed during the washing step. This is also the main reason why images printed on true photographic papers are water-resistant in contrast with ink printing systems.

How green is the Fujifilm paper factory?

As we mention at “We Care”, we are continuously researching ways to grow in sustainability. Currently, we can say the following regarding Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe B.V.:

Renewable Energies

Currently, we have 5 windmills on Fujifilm Manufacturing Tilburg site. They provide 30% of the electricity. The rest of the electricity comes from a dedicated windmill park which means 100% green electricity.

Reduce the amount of waste generated by the Fujifilm Group by 30% by FY2030 (compared to the FY2013 level).
Reduce the amount of water the Fujifilm Group uses for production by 30% by FY2030 (comparing to the FY2013 level).
Reduce the Fujifilm Group’s CO2 emission by 45% by FY2030 (compared to the FY2013 level).

1. Waste 
a. Decrease waste in process
b. towards more recycling by creating mono-streams of waste. However, mono-streams recycling has been done at Fujifilm Manufacturing for years as a standard.

2. Water 
Study ongoing to:
a. Reduce use of well water
b. re-use waste water streams after ‘waste water treatment plant’

3. Studies ongoing
a. Reduction of energy usage (e.g. use heat pumps instead of steam)
b. Electrification (from gas to electricity)
c. use non-fossil fuels (longer term).

4. Via ISO14001, the Life Cycle Perspective has been introduced (= looking at sustainability through the complete chain)

Is Fujifilm Paper bleached with chloride?

Fujifilm paper is elemental chlorine free (E.C.F).

Technical Information

How to prepare your files for printing?

It is important to properly prepare your image before ordering the prints. To ensure that everything is correct, check the requirements on a photo lab website directly. They often give the requirements for uploaded files and they might be a bit different than what we wrote here.

Few general rules to keep in mind:
1. Always send the original files. Do not compress them.
2. The files should be saved as JPEG (some photo labs accept TIF or PDF as well).
3. The resolution should be 300PPI (Pixels Per Inch) or DPI (Dots Per Inch).
4. The files should be saved in 8bit RGB.

What DPI should be used?

To ensure the best results, the file resolution should be 300DPI (Dots per inch).

Which file format should be used?

When preparing images for printing save them as RGB files in JPEG format.

How to choose the paper type that will fit my need?

Every paper type can tell the same story differently. Depends on what the image should present – the smoothness of water or severity of the landscape – different paper fits.
It is important to remember that not all photo labs offer all the papers from our product range. It may happen that the paper you chose is not available in a photo lab close by.

What is the difference between C-Type and Giclée prints?

In a short brief, C-Type printing uses photographic paper to create an image. Meanwhile, Giclée printing uses inkjet paper.

How long will a print last?/How to store my prints?

There are a lot of factors that influence the lifetime of a print, like type of light and intensity, exposure time (high quality LED light), storage conditions. A photo printed on photographic paper will last in daylight around 40 years. If stored in darkness and with proper conditions it can last even 80 years. An exception is MAXIMA paper – its longevity comes to 70 years in daylight.

How should I store my prints?

In order to keep your prints in the best condition as long as possible, there are few things that can help.
– Store them in a cool and dry place. However, dryness is the most important.
– No major temperature fluctuations.
– Dark storage.
– Not on a bottom shelf. If there was water on the floor, the prints could get damaged.

What does “continuous tone” mean?

Continuous tone means that the print is produced by a smooth flow of colours between the separate printed “pixels”. Continuous tone photographic images on silver halide contain an infinite range of colours within a very large gamut, and no dot structure. They are produced via a wet chemical process that uses the reaction of light on substances in the photo-sensitive paper to achieve incredibly smooth images. This result in a more realistic print, compared to Inkjet (dots) print or press prints (raster).

What does “Lay-Flat” mean?

Lay flat is a term used for photo albums. A lay flat photo book stays completely flat when opened and there is no visible central gutter. No visual information of an image is lost. You can see your complete print (like a panorama). Only a small fold will be observed in the middle.

What is the difference between a RGB and CMYK printing system?

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the standard for photography and specifying all colours – in various proportions – to obtain any colour in the visible spectrum.

CMYK refers to the four inks used in a standard “4-colour” printing process (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). The K in CMYK stands for “Key”, The “key plate” is said to add the “detail” to a printed image. This is true in that the black plate in a four color process print pushes the contrast and creates “detail”.

But you do not have to bother about this. Just keep all your files in RGB (because RGB is more extended compared to CMYK) , and in case of offset prints, the printing company will separate your file before going to the press.

What does “colour converting” mean?

This means that your RGB-file is converted from its original colour space (i.e. sRGB or Adobe RGB) to a specific Printer Colour profile. This is called Colour Management and can be used to optimize the printing result to obtain more accurate colours.