Riley J.B. - Photographer & Alchemist

Wet Plate - Questions & Answers


What should I wear?

  • Textures and patterns can really make a wet plate image stand out. Contrasting patterns can really make you pop in an image.

  • Any text or symbols on your clothing will be backwards in a tintype image as everything is flipped horizontally.

  • Bring any prop or accessory that you want in the photograph with you. This is a time to be creative and have fun.

What does a session entail?

  • The session will be about 45 minutes to make a plate. That includes discussing what you want, posing, pouring the plate, making the photograph and developing the resulting image. All of which you can watch as it happens in the darkroom.

  • A session results in 1 tintype plate and a digital scan of that plate. It will be varnished to ensure it will last for the next few centuries.

  • There are no retakes unless there are clear issues with the plate as determined by me.

Can I duplicate a plate?

Every plate is original. I can take two similar images on two different plates but they won’t be exactly the same. You will receive a scan of your plate that you can use to have it printed.

Can I use my plate to promote my business or product?

The photographs made during tintype portrait sessions are for personal use only. But I would be happy to discuss a commercial-use licence for your tintype image. Or if you have a specific idea for your business/product, contact me to discuss setting up a commission.

Should I smile?

Yes! If you want to! It is typical to see subjects not smiling in historic photography. That is because of the time it took to make an exposure then (30 seconds+) and holding a smile that long can be difficult.

I use shorter (but still long compared to film & digital photography) exposure times and whether you smile is totally up to you.

What happens if I sneeze during a vital moment?

We will all probably have a hearty laugh. If it were to happen and it ruined your otherwise dashing/gorgeous pose we would shoot another plate.