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NicoleEPhotography | freelance photographer

A little late update

In July one of my tintypes was chosen to be in the annual ArtMelt Show in Baton Rouge, LA.

The piece “Father”, won an honorable mention and was sold by the end of the night.

I chose to frame the piece in a traditional black frame with an off white matte, however I had the tintype floated about a half of an inch off of the matting instead of set into it like a traditional photograph. This method allowed the piece to still retain its 3D qualities, the viewer could still look at it from the side and see the quality of the metal the image was created on.

Here are some images from the show!





Gallery Update

Here is a little update.
I was reviewing my image galleries and realized the lack of work shown in the commissions section. To be honest, I have not been keeping up with it as much as I should have. However, I am determined to have this resolved within the next couple of days.
If you are visiting my website and find that section a little lacking, no worries I have many new images to post.
Can not wait to share some new work!

What I have so far!

This is a roundup of what I have done so far. I ran out of some of the necessary chemicals recently, therefore Ive had to stop working on them for awhile. In the mean time I am trying to compile some new portraits for the next batch.

Making new discoveries!

The next day of coating was fueled with a desire to eliminate the tedious method of drying the plates with a hair dyer right before exposing. I decided to coat the plates and leave them in a light safe room to dry. How did I manage this in a tiny house? By closing a lot of doors and making use of my tiny half bath. With a small fan and a cardboard base over the sink I proceeded to coat the next set of plates, hoping for the best. I tried a few new coating methods this time, including using a straw to spread the emulsion, However, this just resulted in the straw lifting the emulsion from the plate, as of now spreading it with gloved fingers is still the best way of coating. I also learned that I need a little more patience in letting the bottle of emulsion warm up long enough. Some of my plates were not coated completely, leaving a lot of the black around the edges.

I was very happy to find that the plates dried with in about three hours, and were ready to be put away in some light safe boxes.

The next day I exposed the plates using the same exposure times as before, which are fairly quick. This is the first time I tested a portrait, and Im pretty happy with the result. 


With my exposed plates nice and dry, I went to research some of the things that I noticed. One thing I learned is any sort of “Puddling” of emulsion, (places where the elusion is extra thick) will result in an area of softness/low contrast. The second thing that I notices was that some of my plates had a slight blue cast along the edges, meaning that the plate is underdeveloped. If you see this, its a good indicator that you need some fresh developer in your tray. 

One last thing that I came across, in my never ending search for a decent light source, is that the emulsion I am using is particularly sensitive to blue light. What kind of light bulbs emit this type of light? Lights used for aquariums as well as black lights are two good examples. A black light was the cheaper option, so I went out and picked one up from the local party supply store.


The next set of coated plates were left for about a week before I was able to expose them. I was little afraid that they would not print well, knowing that the emulsion ages fairly quickly.

With my new black light ready to go, I exposed a test plate of 5 – 1 sec exposures. The result? The black light allowed me a slightly longer exposure, which was exactly what I needed. The black light was also far less demanding on my eyes than the UV bulb I was using before. I also noticed that areas of detail became a little more developed, I am going to guess it is the emulsion responding better to the blue light.

Unfortunately, the plates did show signs of age, which lets me know that there should only be a few days in-between coating and exposure.

When comparing the portrait printed on the last set of plates to the one printed on this set, I noticed that the tone had changed. There are two possible answers for this, one being that the black light creates a cooler image or that as the emulsion ages the tone becomes cooler. The next set of plates should answer this question, as I will make sure to expose them as soon as possible.

Finally made it to that darkroom stage!

I finally managed to create a part-time darkroom in my main bathroom, just in time to start my new project – Dry Plate Ferrotypes (aka tintypes). It’s been slow going, collecting all the supplies I needed, but I am already seeing some amazing results. This processes will (hopefully) result in photographs that are printed onto metal, such as aluminium. The final images are very warm compared to silver gelatin prints that most people are used to seeing.
This process requires metal plates to be painted black, then coated with a light sensitive emulsion such as Ag Plus. The plates must then be given enough time to dry and exposed using the sun or another source of UV light. I have noticed that the exposure times are very short for contact printing, 1-2 seconds. The plates are then developed in a series of chemicals: reversal developer, water bath, fixer, and finally a 10 min water bath.
Instead of coating the plates and exposing them through the use of a camera, I intend to use digital negatives (or in this case positives) to print my images onto the plates. I have experience using digital negatives with alternative photography processes in the past and I enjoy the blend of the “now” with the “then”.

The first day proved to be problematic as my plates were still very tacky. I was not quite sure if this texture was to be expected, given that I couldn’t find a good source of detailed information on the processes. However, because of this tackiness my negatives stuck to the plates during exposure. This caused chunks of black paint and emulsion to be ripped from the plates.

I gave the rest of my plates another night to finish drying. Unfortunately, I had to result in using the cool setting on a hair dryer in order to get them ready for my new negatives. Finally, with fully dried plates and an exposure of about 2 seconds, I had my first fully formed tintype. Both examples below are the final products of day two. The first is the best one, coated more evenly while the emulsion was still warm. The second one (actually being one of the first plates that I coated) I allowed the emulsion to cool down too much before spreading, so there are obvious ripples in the image.

Darkroom Blog Coming Soon!

My plan for this blog is to document my experiences as I create a darkroom out of my bathroom in order to create traditional black and white prints as well as exploring other alternative routes to printing photographs.