FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the Penumbra Tintype Studio. Below are a few things about the studio and process that are good to know before your session.

WHAT IS A TINTYPE?

Considered by many to be the Polaroid of the 19th century, the tintype is made almost instantaneously through a process that uses hand poured chemicals on an enameled sheet of metal. Tintypes, often found today in near original condition, were passed down as family heirlooms and valued for their time-tested archival stability.

WHERE IS THE STUDIO LOCATED?

-Conveniently located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the Penumbra Foundation is bringing the historic practice of wet plate collodion tintype portraiture to New York City, 159 years after its invention.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

  • What you wear can make all the difference in how your tintype looks. Creating a contrast of light and dark areas in the image can help create an image that pops.

  • It is important to know that tintypes do not render color the same way a black and white image would. The process is least sensitive to light in the blue/UV spectrum so blues tend to appear almost white while reds appear very dark. Sometimes clothing and skin tones may appear different than expected because of the pigments that make up the colors.

  • Patterns and textures with contrast look great in tintypes! 
    We recommend not wearing clothing with text or graphics as they will appear backwards in the final image. The process flips everything horizontally.

  • Feel free to bring in any accessories, costumes or props that you might want to be photographed with. Have fun with it!

HOW LONG WILL MY SESSION TAKE?

Sessions will last about 30-45 minutes for single plates. If you would like to take the plate home with you the same day allow another 25-30 minutes or so for the plate to be dried, scanned and varnished. Otherwise the plate can be picked up the next business day.

WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH THE PURCHASE OF A SESSION?

A session includes one tintype only (unless additional plates are purchased). Your session does not include retakes unless there are clear issues with the image, such as closed eyes. Retakes are done at the discretion of the photographer.

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BE PHOTOGRAPHED ON 1 PLATE?

We can easily photograph 1-2 people on a 4x5 plate and may be able to fit 4 people max. We use period authentic lenses with a very shallow depth of field so the more people on the tintype the harder it is to make sure everyone will be in focus.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS AN ‘ADDITIONAL PLATE’?

We use the term additional plate to describe a second plate taken with the same set-up, lighting and composition as the first plate. If you would like a different setup for each plate, they would be considered unique plates and will be full price.

CAN I DUPLICATE THE PLATE?

Tintypes are one of a kind objects and cannot be directly duplicated. We can shoot two plates of the same image that will look very similar but will vary slightly. We also offer high resolution tintype scans which can be made into prints.

CAN I BRING MY SMALL CHILD OR PET TO THE STUDIO?

Yes! We have a special setup for shooting children, pets and other fidgety subjects. We just ask that you give us notice beforehand, when possible.

PLATE SIZE COMPARISON