what is a Tintype?
I am glad you asked. A tintype, also known as a Ferrotype, is a direct positive made of Salts and Silver Nitrate suspended in collodion on a black-coated plate of Aluminum. The term "tintype" was originally used as a nickname as no tin is actually used.
"Imperfections" are meant to be embraced in this process. They add character to people and tintypes alike. Chemistry lines, small black dots, and ripples in the image can be unpredictable in some instances and are common artifacts that can appear during the process. These characteristics offer a one-of-a-kind quality that only handmade can give. If the appearance of these artifacts obscure someone's face on the image, I am happy to offer another shot during the same appointment.
What to wear?
Textures/Layers/Patterns add rich details to a portrait in this medium. Solid white can reflect light and create a halo effect. Solid black can absorb light and create high contrast images (see examples below). Blues are rendered almost white and reds are rendered as black. Images will appear as a mirror image which means any words or logos within frame appear backwards. Eye glasses add to expression and are encouraged if you normally wear them. We will work with avoiding studio light glare on the lens. Non-glare and transition lenses have been known to black out during a photo, making it appear like they are sunglasses due to the bright flash used during exposure. Some prefer to wear their glasses regardless for fear of not appearing as themselves if they go without them. I totally get it. If you have a pair of frames where the lenses can be removed, please consider bringing those if you are not sure which style lens your glasses carry and would rather not go without your specs in your portrait. If you know for sure you do not have non-glare lenses, we can give it a go and see what we get.
Feel free to bring items of sentiment to appear in your portrait as well.
Here are some examples of how dark verses light clothes appear. Dark clothes absorb a lot of light and can make exposure times much longer.
How much time?
Each tintype requires the process be completed within 10-15 minutes of the first chemistry poured. Realistically, we can make up to 2 tintypes in 30 minutes. The exposure time during this process has many variables including how many people will be in frame and the distance between subjects and camera. In natural light/shade, exposure times are usually between 1-20 sec. Movement during natural light exposure can cause a face to be out of focus or ghost-like giving the genuine aesthetic of earliest tintypes. With studio lights we can expect somewhere between 10-15 seconds required exposure time for each image. Some small movements during this time are forgiven as long as it doesn't happen during the flash of the strobes. Studio lights are the best option when kids or pets are involved. Natural light sessions are an option when weather and temperatures allow which gives a wider range of exposure times determined by sun vs shade and will be discussed for individual appointments.
Booking An Appointment?
At this time (2023) I am offering an indoor studio for portrait sessions and natural light portraits outside of the studio as weather and temperatures allow. I request scheduling through email to best work out all the unique individual session details. So reach out if you do not see a time/date listed as available that works for your schedule, it may still be an option!
When Pop-up/Festival events are listed you can book a 30min session through the event listing with a deposit.
If you prefer a choice on-location session there are various tintype minimums depending on the travel distance. Send an email and lets discuss your thoughts.
Know that if you need to reschedule a session I offer any deposits paid transferred to a later date if rescheduling is requested 48 hours before original session.
A tintype of your kids (furry ones too)?
Yes! because they are adorable and it's worth a try.
But, you know them better than I do. A few questions to consider when trying to decide if they could be a cooperative collaborator in this process:
1) Do they have the ability to sit (relatively) still for 10-20 seconds?
2) Can you bring food/toys that might help motivate that focus?
3) Will it bother you if their faces are blurry from moving during a natural light exposure (up to 20sec in some conditions) or...
4) Will Bright studio lights and even brighter flash traumatize them (more so than a treat can heal)?
My hope is for this process to be enjoyed by all that engage in it.
Need to Reschedule or Cancel?
It happens. Please reach out to reschedule or cancel at least 48 hrs before your appointment. Deposits may be retained without proper notice of cancelations to cover costs of chemistry mixed for your session.
when to expect your Tintype after a session?
After we have created your tintype there are a few more steps to ensure it will last the next 170 years.
I add a coat of wax to protect the image once it is dry. I then scan your tintype creating a high resolution digital file that will be emailed to you. By this point, we will have hopefully discussed the best option for receiving your tintype between local pick-up or mailing them to you. If you prefer tintypes be shipped, you can expect them to be on their way to you within 10-14 days of your session.
Please reach out! I look forward to our collaboration on something special.