Printing is the operation consisting in making a positive print from a matrix which is, in the case of analog photography, a negative image.
In the case of a digital print, the matrix is not a silver negative but is a digital file. There are several types of prints, each of which corresponds to a production context or a specific use. This data leads to a different value on the photography market.
In the case of analog photography, a contact print has the same dimensions as the negative. It was particularly favoured in the 19th century for printing-out techniques that are not sensitive enough to obtain a high-quality enlargement. This type of printing was still practised along the XXe century to obtain contact sheets (studio proofs) allowing the photographer to choose the image to be printed.
Enlarging, which requires the use of a highly sensitive silver emulsion support, is obtained by projecting a negative through an optical device. Made possible from the 19th century onwards with the emergence of solar enlargers, this technique – which makes it possible to obtain a print larger than the matrix – became, however, widely used from the 20th century onwards.
An original print is a definitive print from the original negative made by the photographer himself or under his direct supervision. We distinguish two types of original prints depending on when it was produced: vintage prints and late prints.
A vintage print is an original print produced at a date close to when the photograph was taken.
A late print is an original print produced a long time after the date when the picture was taken.
A reprint is a print made from the original negative, without the author's supervision.
A copy print is a reproduction from an original made in the same value.
Facsimile A facsimile print is a reproduction made according to the original process and format.
A work print is made to choose the different characteristics desired for the definitive print.
Collector's print / Exhibition print
These prints are original prints made with a view to selling or exhibiting them. In the latter case, the print is usually returned to the artist after the exhibition.
Print made for publication obtained by a photo-mechanical process, under the photographer's supervision.
Physical Print intended to be reproduced in a printed document.