How to Make Tintype Photos: A From Start To Finish Tutorial
We can instantly view the results of a picture we just took, but in ancient times, results were sometimes delayed by lengthy exposure times and challenging processing techniques. However, the emergence of tintype photography, a technique that allowed photographers to leave the studio and begin documenting people on the street, revolutionized everything. This photography technique has persisted through time and is currently coming back into the photography world. Dive in to learn more about tintype photography and how to take great photos.
What Is Tintype Photography?
Tintype photography, also referred to as ferrotype/melainotype photography, is an old-fashioned photography technique in which a photo is produced on a thin sheet of iron or metal covered in enamel. Metal plates are layered with chemicals, subjected to light in a camera, and then further chemically processed to produce tintype photographs. As a result, the image is negatively underexposed. The translucent regions of that negative, when put on a dark backdrop, look black, giving the plate the appearance of a positive image.
Step-by-Step Tutorial for Tintype Photos.
Tintype photography is a difficult technique that involves a lot of training and experimenting, which calls for patience, proper tools, and safety gear. Before you start making tin pictures, you will need the following things:
- A plate holder
- Silver nitrate bath
- Collodion of different ages.
- Paper towel
- A developer of different ages.
- Old cameras
Steps for making tintype photos
1. Start by coating a plate
- To prepare the plate, remove the plastic layer from your plate if it has one.
- Wipe off any dried-up collodion on the back of the bottle before you pour the collagen on the plate.
- Pour a thin layer of collodion onto the plate since it will be hard for the collodion to stick on a dirty plate.
- Spread the collodion to the sides of the plate by bending it gently, so the collodion reaches the corners.
- After putting the collodion on the plate, collect the collodion in another bottle/the same bottle.
Place one corner of the plate on a surface and shake the plate slightly to ensure the collodion is well spread.
- Put the plate in the silver nitrate bath, get the headlamp and agitate the plate.
2. Set the shot
- Place your subject in the camera’s frame.
- Make sure the subject is visible in the shot, then take your shot.
3. Load the plate
- Take the plate out of the silver nitrate bath and wipe off the back of the plate.
- Once done, place it in the plate holder.
- Set your aperture and shutter speed depending on your preference, for instance, whether you want to focus on details or not.
4. Processing in the darkroom
- Take the exposed plate out of the holder and pour your developer on the plate. Pour the developer back into the jar and spread it on the plate again.
- Watch out for the highlights and gently bend it from side to side for eight to fifteen seconds;15 seconds is ideal for tin pictures.
- Use water to remove the developer off the plate; ensure you take all the developer off since it is acidic.
- You will see the image starting to appear on the plate.
- Place the plate in a potassium cyanide fixer or a fixer of your choice and shake for about ten seconds.
- Put the plate in another bowl with the fixer for a few seconds, then take it out.
- Let the plate sit for a while.
- Take a plate and pour collodion on it. Bend the plate slightly to spread the collodion, then place the plate in the silver nitrate bath like before
- Wear your headlamp and shake the plate up and down in the silver nitrate bath.
- Remove the plate, place it in a plate holder, and put it on your camera.
- Set your camera and the shutter speed. You can use a reflector to get great pictures.
- Take the plate off the holder and pour the developer like before. Once you are done, clean thoroughly with water.
- Put the plate in another fixer, observe the seconds it takes to clear up, and leave it for the extra time it takes to clear. It would help if you also shook the bowl with the fixer gently.
- You can gently tap the plate on the bowl if you want to add contrast but be careful not to ruin the plate.
- Please, place it in another bowl with the fixer and leave it for a while.
- Put the plates in a bowl with running water.
6. Prepare the plate
- To dry, take a wet cotton ball and carefully wipe off any unexposed silver on the plate.
- Let the plate dry; you can observe the effects after a day.
Tintype photos are amazing negative photos worth the work and effort. You must carefully follow the steps above to produce tin pictures t and ensure you exercise caution. I hope our guide will help you get amazing tintype photos.
Tutorial Image Credit: youtube.com
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