Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Prints and Photographs Reading Room (Prints and Photographs Division)
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >> Photo Processes

Popular Photographic Print Processes: Ambrotypes

Ambrotype photograph showing Niagara Falls
Platt D. Babbitt, photographer. [Niagara Falls]. Ambrotype, ca. 1854.

Dates in general use: ca. 1851-1865

timeline 1851-1865

Description: A direct-image photograph commonly associated with the daguerreotype, because it was often made in a similar size and kept in a case. The ambrotype is essentially an underexposed or "thin" collodion glass negative with dark material placed behind it. This causes the negative to appear as a positive image. Compared to the daguerreotype, it is a duller, less contrasty image. Unlike the daguerreotype, the image does not have a mirror-like surface. The ambrotype was less expensive to make than a daguerreotype.

Further information and examples

View Photographic Print Processes Introduction and Table of Contents

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >> Photo Processes
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  March 25, 2022
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian