The role of the recording material in holographic imaging is reviewed. Following a general classification of holograms into four basic types, the thick and thin amplitude and phase holograms, a discussion is given of the diffraction efficiency and other intrinsic characteristics of each of these types. The effects of zero spread nonlinearities in hologram recording are examined, and the limitations they impose on the usable diffraction efficiency of the various hologram types are discussed. The effect of the recording material modulation transfer function is treated by means of a fictitious mask model which facilitates prediction of the recordable object field and resolution. The noise characteristics of recording media are discussed in terms of their effect on holographic recording. Some examples of noise limitations on holographic information recording by silver halide emulsions are examined, as are the effects of such limitations on the dynamic range of holography. The effects of silver halide grain noise in conventional and holographic recording are compared, showing the conditions under which better performance can be achieved in the latter by a given emulsion. The characteristics of several nonsilver halide hologram recording materials are briefly summarized.