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How long does it take to take a wet plate portrait?

Approximately 15 minutes. The first 5 are spent preparing the materials, pouring the collodion on the plate and dipping it in the silver bath to sensitize it. After that, we’ll make the exposure, always while the collodion remains wet on the plate, and finally, back in the lab, the plate goes through the three classic stages of film processing (developer, stop, fixer), which usually takes another 5-7 minutes.

Can I have the plate right after the session?

Not exactly. Although you’ll have seen the final result after the session, the plate still has to undergo a thorough process of washing, drying and varnishing, to rinse off the remains of unwanted chemicals and preserve it in time. Usually you can pick it up the next day, but if you’re just passing through we can send it to you by registered mail.

What should I wear for the picture?

You can bring the clothes (or lack thereof) of your choice, although there are some considerations you should keep in mind: If you bring printed garments, graphics will appear backwards on the plate, as in a mirror. Solid colors and patterns like stripes or polka dots usually work well.

As for the colors and their translation to the plate, collodion process being orthochromatic (not affected by the action of red light) you must remember the following:

– Light blues will appear almost white on the plate. Medium-dark blues tend to work substantially better

– Reds will go in the opposite direction and will appear darker than they really are, tending to black in some cases. The case of red lipstick is quite remarkable in which it’ll go almost black, making a nice contrast with the rest of the face.

– Tattoos will appear much fainter than in reality, or depending on the ink used, even disappear completely. By contrast, freckles and birthmarks will become more apparent, and tanned skin will seem more tanned.

– As for makeup, “less is more” is an aphorism you should keep in mind here. In addition to what we’ve discussed about red lipstick, a bit of face powder is more than enough. Generally speaking, stay away from garish eye shadow and glittery makeup, which can have an unpredictable translation to the plate.

Can I bring period clothing or props?

By all means! Although we don’t usually have such things around the studio, we absolutely encourage you to bring over whatever piece of clothing or complements you feel like, which in many cases can add a bonus of authenticity / personality to the plate.

Should you have any other doubt prior to the session, you can mail us or call us at (+34)607414838 and we’ll do our best to resolve it.