Joann Benzinger, Fine Art Photographer, Teacher


Joann Benzinger, Fine Art Photographer, Teacher

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
6 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Cyanotypes: Introduction

    • 2. Cyantoypes: Supplies

    • 3. Cyanotypes: The Magic Potion

    • 4. Cyanotypes: Time to go Outside!

    • 5. Cyanotypes: Finishing Up

    • 6. Cyanotypes Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Cyanotypes are one of the earliest forms of photography.  They are easy and fun to do for both adults and children. Join photographer, Joann Benzinger in this class experimenting with  “found objects” to create an abstract photogram style of sunprint on either paper or fabric. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joann Benzinger

Fine Art Photographer, Teacher


Joann’s use of photography as a means of expression began with film and has journeyed to include digital and  alternative methods.  Her work has roots in more traditional media but has expanded to include unusual print surfaces such as aluminum cans and image transfers to wood.  


Joann shares her work through Instagram, Etsy, her website, at local art shows and personal exhibits as well as at the White Rabbit Gallery where she is a founding member.  She teaches classes at Greenville Center for Creative Arts and Spartanburg Art Museum as well as gives private lessons in photography, digital processing, and alternative processes such as image transfers and cyanotypes.


For more information, please visit her on Instagram at... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Cyanotypes: Introduction: Hi. My name is Joanne Benzinger, and I'm a fine art photographer in South Carolina now, because I'm a fine art photographer that gives me a lot of leeway to play around and experiment with all sorts of processes and materials. One of the things I've learned over the years is that it is just a much fun to share with other people the things that I've learned as it was learning them in the first place. And that's why I teach at local museums, art centers, I give private lessons, and now I'm making my first class for skill share. So welcome to my first skill share class photography. Fun in the sun with scion of types. Now, as the name implies, we're gonna be going out in the sun today and I really hope we're gonna have some fun. Diana types are one of the earliest forms of photography. They're really easy to dio and they're really a lot of fun. One of the distinguishing characteristics of scion types is their beautiful Prussian blue color. Now you can use chemicals or this one. I use coffee to stain in a different color. I've got another one. That was This is also a sleigh Anil type. And I used a chemical in the final wash that turned a kind of a properly color. But I really like the blue collar, the faster. So that's what we're gonna be sticking with today. In the next section, I'm going to give you a list of materials, so stick around and I hope to see you there. 2. Cyantoypes: Supplies: Welcome back. Let's go over a list of some of the materials you're going to want to have for this project . One of the easiest ways to get started in Scion a types is to go down to the local hobby your craft store and pick up a package of pre sensitized paper. They have them online or any of the hobby stores. They usually run around $20 it's a really inexpensive, easy way for you to get started. The paper in it Well, it is pre sensitized, very candy. It's not very durable. And so for a long term project, I'm not sure that it's what you want to use. But it's a great way to get you started and to experiment with this. The paper that I used is watercolor paper. I get it in a big tablet size, and then I cut it down to the size that I want for the project. Today I'm going to either be using cotton or a piece of denim, and again just go down to your local hobby store. Check the bargain bin. You never know what you're going to find in there. You can usually get remnants for fairly inexpensive. Look for something light colored. I've used canvas, the denim and cotton. Those are probably my favorite kinds of materials. I've done it on chiffon, which makes for a very light colored sandal type, but it's still very pretty. I've picked up canvas bags. You can pick those up that again, the craft store or hobby store. And while they work, I'm not sure I'm always pleased with the edging on them. It takes a little bit of experimentation on that. If you've decided you'd like to sensitize your own paper, then you'll need to go and get one of these kids from the photographers formulary. It's a scion of type kit, and it comes in separate parts. You'll need to mix it when you're ready to sensitize your paper or your cotton. Some other materials that you'll want to have on hand. Hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, soap for the dishwasher, a brush. I'm gonna use this tray for when I need to soak my cotton. I'll put my magic potion in the tray and then I'll soak this in it and bring it out, and then I'll need to let it lay it flat to dry. I also have some pans that I'll be using later on for the rinse process. They are just cat trays, but they were really great for rinsing off the papers and the cotton's. I've got one for when I do a clear rents and one for when I do a hydrogen peroxide prints. I also have a smoke that I'll be using so I don't get my good clothes dirty for my final project. I have eight inch stretcher bars and I will be stretching this around and to finish off my final piece. Alternatively, I could just put it in a white frame, and that would work just as well. The other thing that you're going to need is ah, frame for when you actually lay your piece out in the sun. So the way this works, this is just a piece of glass from an old frame. I put electrical tape around the edges so I don't cut myself, and ultimately, what we're gonna be doing is whatever firm piece of something, whether it's a notebook or this piece of wood or just the back toe, a frame, whatever works, we're going to take the last piece after we've assembled our design, put that over the paper and use butterfly clips to secure it in place. I usually don't put the top of the clip down, because if you see right here, it's getting on the paper and that would cause a shadow there, so that would ruin my print. So I usually leave Top one open, but I clamp the backside. They also have a couple of containers for making the magic potion and these air dedicated specifically to scion of types not to be used for anything else. I have a squeegee. I have an eyedropper. I have some gloves in the next section. I'll show you how to coach your papers and get prepared to actually make your science type . 3. Cyanotypes: The Magic Potion: Welcome back and welcome to my dark room. Now, most of you probably don't actually have a dark room at home to do this. But this is where I call my papers. It's set up for mates. A place I don't mind making a mess. So for me, it's the ideal location. You can culture papers in subdued lighting. I've taught this class where I the only place available was a bathroom and the bathroom had a window in it. We just pulled the shade and everything was fine. Now I did use heavy duty trash big to cover everything up so that while the paper was drying, it wasn't being exposed to any UV light. But again, it worked just fine. If you do have ah, bathroom that doesn't have any windows. If you hang some Christmas lights in there, that'll give you enough or light toe work with for me. I'm going to be using my dark room. I'm gonna leave this door open, and that should be good to go. I'm just gonna show you a couple of things that happened when you let this stuff cure for too long. When I pulled out all of my equipment. Teoh, get ready to take this class. I discovered some papers that had probably been tucked away in my light safe for over a year. They were in a light safe. They were in a dark place. They were inside a black bag that had no light leaks. They still turned dark blue. This is a piece of cotton. I'm not gonna be able to use thes, but isn't it a beautiful blue? So while Yes, you can leave the paper for a while and it will be just fine keeping lying that it is light sensitive. And you would be amazed at how much available like there is. I have a couple of pieces that I quoted the other day. I'm gonna pull those out and give them a second coat. Photographers. Formulary is where I get my sandal type kit. It comes and several pieces. There's part a and part B. These two parts we're gonna mix equally. And then there's also another part called potassium micro mate. And that is something it will boost the contrast. And that just goes in by the drop. Usually six drops per two milliliters of solution. So I'm just going to mix some of this opposite party a 40 milliliters, Part B. - I'm gonna wipe the excess off of the edge of the brush that's going to give me a dry brush to work with for demonstration purposes. I'm going to use this piece of paper that's already been overexposed and really can't be used for anything. But at least you'll get to see how I'm brushing this on. You want a thin, even cold? You can coat it twice. Once this drives, you can come back and do it again. You have to decide what kind of a border you want. If you like to have those soft edges, then you want to use a fairly dry brush and brush it from the center out. If you want to have everything and more, even thank you, just brush accordingly. The main thing you want to make sure to avoid is pooling on your paper. If you've got a big glop of the scion of type solution in the middle of the paper, it's been a I don't have any on this side. This was pretty evenly done, but if you've got a big pool of it here, it's just gonna dry hole, different consistency. And it will make for a very Unpleased final product. So keep it nice and even you can see on this one pretty even, all the way around. Nothing's dripping. Nothing's running. I'm gonna let it dry. Maybe it will use it. Who knows what those speckles will give? May All right. 4. Cyanotypes: Time to go Outside!: Well, the weather great with make full yesterday. So here I am at it again today that I take men and herself to just cool what our process is going to be in with things we're gonna be looking for making tapes now kind of science type that we're gonna be doing today is more of a photo ground Where you laying things on the sensitized paper and the shadow that they create is what's gonna make our image. You can also do it using negatives, just a digital image that's preach it as a negative on a piece of transparency. That's gonna be something for another lesson. For now, this is the kind of transparency I like to use for my negatives. Most of the things that I are abstract in nature. This one I did yesterday, I just this negative that this waas the piece that I made this took about three minutes three minutes 20 seconds full sun. It did some test strips yesterday. I'll be doing them again today because the light is entirely different. Bottom line for me yesterday was they needed a minimum of a minute to get the image to show up. So I was down in this range on my first test strips, so these were 15 2nd increments and see down here What a nice rich blue this is. But you don't see a whole lot of difference down at this end of things, there gets to be a a point in time where you're really not making a whole lot of different some your sandal type. It's really hard to overexpose it. So I err on the side of going a little bit longer than any guests here. But again, we're gonna test strips so that you can see exactly how long you want to start with. This is the frame that I used yesterday. It is really a piece of last that I took from a frame. It would electrical tape or gaffer's tape around the edges that my hands don't get caught. Sometimes they're sharp. You are gonna want to your last real good, because they get points really easily and those can when you're so make sure that both sides I think I'll just show you a couple of the negatives that I've used passed. This one is actually a photograph that I took peace really, the white crazy designs that inmates, that's science type Get this is the negative. This is the science type that if you look at the negative, you see that dark places here I actually left white. My sense Is that what you decide to make your own negatives? Think about it in reverse that what you're seeing his star. That's where the weights linked to be. You have to kind of put that into this. Like sometimes I do it both ways of doing negative and positive and connections the one I like best over the kind of work that I do that works fine because mine is much more organic , abstract kind of thing. Most of the time, if you're doing landscapes, you're gonna want to make sure that you use the negative because that's the way you get a couple of things. I'm going to experiment in making my scion type today found objects. I'm going to do a test with some last where that I have, and I think that's gonna make some great shadows, assuming that we ever get a full strength sun anyways, in this muted hazy today in this kind of sunlight, it's just a much softer shadow. I'm looking for something that's gonna create defined outlines, so we'll see if I get to use my glass. This looks like it might create something interesting. I'm going to use string, got some tops from some hands. I might do one with that for my main project. What I want to do is use thes round types of things. What I'm looking for is just kind of, Ah, it's something that's going to create some shadowing. I want to try this tissue paper because you'll be able to see through it a little bit. Um, and as far as where I place it, it's just going to be very random because final product, it's going to be on that piece of white denim, and I just want something that's a little bit more abstract. So I've got it laid out on this piece of watercolor paper just like it kind of play around with it, and I have some sort of idea where I want to go with it. I suggest you do the same thing if you're using glass, you know, when you get out here, he actually start taking a look at it. We're not getting the kinds of shadows I really want, but you want to play with it, okay? Weather is cooperating. We've got a beautiful, sunny day here. So we're gonna run some test strips and then we're going to get ready to do our scion. All types. Now, it's really important that you do test strips at least one or two of them because you need to know how intense your son is. And you need to understand the chemical makeup of the coating. That's your paper. Now, every time that you do a science type, it might be a little bit different because it might be a little bit hazy Outside might be a beautiful blue sky, completely sunny, intense day. It might be a different time of the year, so the son might be at a different angle at a different distance. So there are a lot of things that are variables here, but it's really not that tough. So now I've already done one test strips. I got kind of an idea of Where are my sweet spot is gonna be? No, I need to have at least one minute felt here. So I'm going to do a test strip right now, and it's going to be starting with one minute and then I'm going to add 12th intervals and we'll see where the best place is going to be for us to actually process our science types today. All right, I'm gonna getting ready to unveil this. And who did in the water to rinse it, turn out the light to do it will just be the ambient light from the window. And once it's in the water in, that'll turn the like that gun you could take a look at it working with. So here we go. Okay. This was a test that I had done earlier, about five minutes of laced with scythe. I'll put a few drops of tigers and peroxide in the water and give it a swim. If you needed it, you'll see immediately the difference. You white areas on your turning. Once again, I'll take a little bit of a bit of this lost and put it that other man switched that around . It's really important to make sure that those Granules get mixed into the water if they get onto the material ability squats. And that's not a happy day after you put all that look into thank you. Okay, so the running water is just making it so that there's some agitation in the water. Still, water back doesn't really do not. So that has cleared up the whites really nicely. 5. Cyanotypes: Finishing Up: - Okay , So I finished making my scion all types, and I'm back in the house. No, the ones that I did, um, pretty pleased with a lot of the results. I used some pretty basic materials to make these. I also did a couple where I use negatives and I'll show you those in a moment. I tried to take pictures while I was doing it. Of course, this one, I had a little mishap. Ally was belt filming, and so I didn't get that one. But what I used was little pieces of tissue paper, and I use some old rings. I didn't use a hair tie on this one. I used some dark cotton, and they used some string, and I just laid it on there and made the design that I wanted to have. And then I laid this out in the sun, and this was about a six minute exposure. Excuse me. It was a five minute exposure. So when you layer the tissue paper on there, if you look at this a little closely, you can see how in here I've got a double layer of the tissue paper. Here is a single layer. Here's a double layer and again here I've got a single layer of the tissue paper overlapping another layer, and it just makes a nice variation in the tones. So I'll be doing with that. One is I'll be putting it on a frame. This is a 14 inch wooden frame, and I will be wrapping it around the back and stapling it down. I want to make sure that I position it so that I like. And then I'll wrap that real tight, just like a canvas rap. And in another demonstration on another day for another class, I will show how to actually do that, but it will make a real nice wall hanging when I'm done on some of them like this one. I did unnecessarily care for the big white blob left by the hair tied that I put down there . Sometimes they work nicely. Sometimes they make a big white blob. Anyways, what will probably be doing with that much like this one? I embellished it with some gold paint. This is a metallic gold paint. Modern masters shimmer metallic gold. I've also got some black acrylic paint that I can use to make some accents on here, and in the end that will be real nice. Will probably use an eight inch gallery frame and wrapped that one as well. This one I did all with tissue paper, the white areas air where there was either a double layer of the tissue paper. This would actually be where the double layer of tissue paper is. And then I used dark pieces of fabric two entirely, block out the light in some of the other areas, and again, I'll probably put that on a wraparound frame for this one. I used a plant. It was a fine that's growing in my yard. Wisteria vine, actually, and it's lighter in color because when I rinsed it, I rinsed it in a solution off dishwasher detergent, and it was a pretty heavy solution. And so it took a lot of the heavy, blew out and made this one considerably lighter. And for this one, I may end up. This is an 11 inch frame, and I'll just make sure that I place it where I want real carefully. Stretch it tight and staple it down for some of the ones that I did on paper. I used a negative I used picked a Rico transparency to make my negatives. It's just a pack of transparency is you can run through an inkjet printer. Be careful when you order it. I believe you can also get it for a laser printer minds and jets. So you've got to make sure you get the right thing for your printer. This is the negative that I used for one of them, and it is actually, if you look at it closely. My name. J O A N n. And then I had a background. It was a photograph of a piece of carpeting that I turned into its more basic elements and reduced it down to just the very simplistic line. So that's kind of more organic and the scion of type that it created. And I love it when I don't know what direction to turn a thing. I haven't decided on that one. As you can see, it was a contact print, and the negative fits exactly over the image. So whatever size I make the print, that's what the size of the Scion all type is going to be. It's an exact match for some of you this may actually speak more loudly because you're better at it than I am. You knows entangling has been a really big thing toe learn, and I've seen a lot of classes on skill share. In fact, I've taken a few myself, and I thought, Well, why don't I turn one of those into a negative and see what that turns out? So here is the negative, and here is the sandal type. So this was really easy to dio. I took a picture of the original with my iPhone, and I just make sure the whites were really white and blacks were really black, and I printed it on the transparency. I didn't even have to turn it into a negative because I wanted the black parts on might sandal type to be white. So you see how the the actual drawing, where the black parts are, that's where the white parts are. So this was a really easy way to make a new twist on my sad little Zen tangle, and my hat goes off to all the people out there who could do such a better job at this than I can. But it was fun and nonetheless I had a good time, and sometimes that's all it's about. The nice thing about digitizing them is I could make it a little bit larger. And so while this is pretty close to the original size, I made this one a little bit bigger and I could make it even larger still. So not bad. This was a three minute exposure. What it's worth, this was a five minute exposure. Didn't care for that as much. That's why I always make multiple papers so that I could go back. If I don't like the result one time, I could go back out and get another one. 6. Cyanotypes Conclusion: I hope you enjoyed this class. I know. I had a lot of fun making it. There are a couple of glitches. It was my first class. I've learned a lot. Hope there was something that you can take away from it And using your own creativity. Please don't forget to hit the thumbs up If you enjoy the class so other people know that they should check it out. And don't forget to post your projects. I would love to see them. So I will be checking that if you get the chance, visit me on my website Joanne Benzinger photography dot com or on instagram jo jo dot Prince Hope to see you on my next class.