Cyanotype Photography 101: Making Your First Sunprint

Ben Panter, Expanding Photography

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7 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. 3 Reasons You Should Try Cyanotype

    • 2. What is Cyanotype?

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Setting Up Your Print

    • 5. Exposing Your Print

    • 6. Developing Your Print

    • 7. Reviewing Your Finished Cyanotype


Project Description

Your project will be to create your own cyanotype print in the style of Anna Atkins, who is considered to be the first female photographer and the first person to publish a photography book. 

Please let me know if you have any questions! I'm looking forward to seeing the prints you come up with.


  • Cyanotype Paper - There are lots of different brands and sizes available, but if you want the same kit I used you can find it here on Amazon. You may also be able to find it at a local craft store (I've even seen it at Barnes and Noble), but I think it is a seasonal item.
  • Photo Frame - Any old photo frame will work for this. I would recommend using a frame that is larger than your paper size. I used an 8x10 frame for a 4x6 print. Also, double check that your frame does not have UV treated glass (this would normally only be in more expensive frames).
  • Plant Material - Find a leaf or plant with a silhouette that you like. TIP: make sure the leaves you choose are completely dry before setting up your print.
  • The Sun - You'll need access to a sunny spot outside. The fastest prints will be at noon, but several hours before or after that will still work. For this project I was able to print at 5pm on a summer day in New Jersey.
  • Heavy Duty Clips - This is optional if you want to try the "Open Sandwich" printing technique


  1. Gather supplies
  2. Assemble your plants and cyanotype paper inside your frame (or clipped together)
  3. Expose your print outside
  4. Develop your print in the sink
  5. Dry your print
  6. Enjoy!


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