Portrait & Headshot Photographer • Plymouth, New Hampshire

An Anniversary Tintype Session

Rebecca and Jonathan recently celebrated their first anniversary with an anniversary tintype session.

A tintype is a handmade portrait on a metal plate, using the wet-plate collodion process (invented in 1851!)

It was a wonderful morning, meeting Rebecca and Jonathan, and showing them this historic process. They’re both interested in photography, and they love the soft, imperfect look of these handmade portraits.

The couple chose simple, dark tops. Textured fabrics, such as lace or open knit work, work very well in tintype portraits. Rebecca also wore her grandmother’s locket.

Rebecca & Jonathan's 8x10 tintype anniversary portrait

For these kinds of handmade portraits, I use a Deardorff camera made in the 1920s, along with a 155-year-old Dallmeyer brass portrait lens.

A photo of Maundy Mitchell's studio door and a photo of the antique Deardorff camera and Dallmeyer lens

During tintype sessions, people are welcome to watch the entire process! The couple took turns watching different steps in the darkroom.

In the darkroom, I prepare a metal plate with chemicals to sensitize it to light. I put the plate in a light-tight holder, and then put the holder in the back of the camera. Next, I direct the couple, focus, and expose the plate with a big pop of light.

Rebecca and Jonathan posing for a tintype anniversary portrait and the upside-down camera view

Back in the darkroom, I use different chemicals to develop and fix the plate. Next, it goes into a tray of water to rinse. Then it needs to dry for a few hours.

A tintype rinsing in the darkroom
An 8x10 tintype portrait of Rebecca and Jonathan, in the drying rack

After the tintype dries, it can be scanned and varnished, making it an archival image. Rebecca returned to the studio to pick up the couple’s finished portrait.

Rebecca, holding the couple's 8x10 tintype anniversary portrait

Happy Anniversary to Rebecca and Jonathan!

“If you are thinking about a portrait with Maundy – do it. My only regret is not setting one up sooner. Such a friendly, easy going experience with gorgeous results.”


You can find out more about tintypes HERE.