WHY ARE TINTYPE & AMBROTYPE PORTRAITS SO SPECIAL?
A wet plate (encompassing both tintype and ambrotype images) portrait transcends today’s digital perfection for a likeness that is more human. Each image is slightly flawed, be it from the preparation of the plate (for which all the chemistry and processing is done by hand) to the longer exposure time, which can capture a sharp image or one that has painterly like quality. The plate is also archival, but more importantly it is an attempt to encompass one's presence, the passage of time into a chemical based image. This imperfect trinity, I hope, captures a portrait that will have meaning for many years to come.
People sometimes people ask me what to wear for their portrait. While today’s portraits are usually characterized by casual wear and a candid approach, I always suggest that one dress up a bit more for a session. All tintype images are captured backwards so no large logos or branding is recommended, though prints work well. As for colour, reds (and to a lesser extent some oranges & yellows) appear dark or near black whereas blues turn out lighter. Please limit wearing all black or all white as these extreme tones are challenging for this historic process to interpret, and feel free to bring wardrobe options.
Eyeglasses can sometimes be an issue for tintype images. This is because the UV coating on modern glasses, especially “Transition” lenses, can make them appear dark in the tintype, as if you are wearing light sunglasses. This is not always the case and it depends on how the portrait is lit.
For those of you who have freckles it should be noted that the wet plate images greatly enhance their appearance: the process reproduces anything that is reddish more darkly than how we see it. If you would like the tintype image to more subtly showcase your freckles, I would suggest using some concealer make-up to minimize the effect.