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Once it was dry, albumen prints were used just like salted-paper prints and the image would form by the darkening properties of the sun on the chemicals.

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Sifting through vintage photos can be a family historian’s dream, that is, until you find out that you just can’t seem to identify the time period in which certain photos were taken.

Much like how genealogical resources and classes are helpful to discovering and sharing your family story, knowing some photography history can also be beneficial when it comes to identifying origins of old photos.

The following common types of vintage photos, their photographic processes and characteristics could help you positively identify some of your long-lost ancestors.

The daguerreotype was created by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and is known by photography experts as the first practical form of photography.

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In America, daguerreotypes were often placed in hinged, wooden cases with paper or leather coverings.

Image shown here is a daguerreotype of Bernice Pauahi before marriage from 1849/50. In 1841, William Henry Fox Talbot patented the process of salt printing — the first photographic process that used sodium chloride to make photos more light-sensitive.

Salt printing was also the first process to utilize both a negative and a positive allowing photographers to create prints of larger quantities.

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