History of Photographic Gelatin | How Gelatin is Used in Photography - Custom Collagen
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History of Photographic Gelatin

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History of Photographic Gelatin

January 25, 2018 - customcollagen

If you are new to photography, you probably didn’t realize how crucial of a role gelatin plays in creating photographic images. Gelatin has been used to help create images since the beginning of photography. While traditional photography has taken a backseat to digital images, if you want to create traditional photographic images photographic gelatin is the best way to do so. Below we’ll highlight how gelatin was used in photography is the past and how photographic gelatin is currently being used by photographers.


History of Gelatin in Photography

Way before digital cameras, smartphones, and Instagram existed there was photography. Why? Because of gelatin being used in the photography process. Gelatin played a huge role in early photography and made it possible for images to be captured in the late 1800’s.   Known as the gelatin silver process, this way of using photographic gelatin was introduced in the 19th century. During this process, the paper or film used to make the prints are coated with an emulsion. This emulsion includes a mixture of silver salts and gelatin to help seal the layers of the image.     This gelatin photography process was used for a significant amount of time in the photography industry. However, the use of gelatin began to lose popularity once other technology was introduced such as color prints and digital images.


The Gelatin Process Today

While there are now many other ways of capturing and preserving images for years to come, the same photography remains tried and true. Gelatin used in the photography process comes primarily from crushed beef bone. This crushed beef bone has the most natural photographic materials of a raw gelatin product.   If you are planning on using gelatin in make sure you are using photographic grade gelatin. To create the photographic images you want, photographic gelatin can be used on the following layers silver halide crystal-containing emulsion layer, top coating layer, sub-coating layer, anti-halogen layers, and non-curl layer.   Being a versatile property, gelatin can be used in a variety of industries. Besides gelatin being used in photography, gelatin is also used in a variety of industries, including ballistic gelatin, bakers gelatin and more.


History of Photographic Gelatin Recap

While not many people realize how big a role gelatin played in the early photography an in current photography, we wouldn’t have a lot of the images we do without the helpful photographic qualities of beef collagen. Photographic gelatin has been used in photography for centuries and here’s what you need to know:


– The gelatin photography process was created in the 19th century and is known as the gelatin silver process.

– This early process of gelatin used in photography involved a coating of an emulsion on paper or film. The emulsion was created with a mixture of

– Remained popular in until the introduction of color photography and other advances in photography technology.

– Still used today to help in the multiple layers of creating a photographic image. These layers include silver halide crystal-containing emulsion layer, top coating layer, sub-coating layer, anti-halogen layers, and non-curl layer.


There are many uses for gelatin, and gelatin being used in photography might be one of the most surprising. If you have other questions about the uses of gelatin, contact our gelatin experts here at Custom Collagen for all your gelatin and collagen related questions.

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