FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

HOURS OF OPERATION:

MONDAY + TUESDAY: BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

WEDNESDAY - SUNDAY 9-4:30 (walk-ins welcome, appointments preferred)

LOCATION:

109 ROBERTS ST, ASHEVILLE, NC 28806

Located in the Phil Mechanic Studios Building, suite 4E. Parking is available for customers across the street.

Please read thoroughly before your session.

Do I need an appointment?  For a session in studio, yes, you will need to schedule an appointment. If there is an event, yes & no, depending on the event, some events have appointment slots available for pre-booking, others do not. If you have any questions regarding an event please shoot an email our way!

How long will a portrait session take?  It usually takes 15-30 minutes to shoot a single plate. Once your image is made, we must wait for your plate to dry & then varnish it to insure it is protected. The last step of varnishing is not completed at events, however, once your plate is varnished it will be sent to you. --- If you are local, you may pick your plate up once it is ready. For those of you from out of town, your plate will be in the mail on its way to you shortly. You may also order a digital copy of your image that will be emailed to you.  

What should I expect if I am having my portrait made? Each plate must be prepared prior to shooting, which will take a few minutes. First a chemical emulsion is poured onto glass or metal. Second, the plate is made light sensitive. Once light sensitive it must lastly be exposed, developed & fixed in order for an image to appear. Below are the two lighting options used to expose plates:

  • Daylight portraits - wet plate "film" is very slow and needs a lot of light to expose correctly. Making images with sunlight means subjects have to stay still anywhere from five seconds up to twenty seconds (sometimes even more), any movement, even slight will make your image blurry.

  • Portraits taken using strobes - wet plate "film" is very slow compared to normal film speed, so to make an image without as much sunlight & much quicker, strobe lighting can be used. This will be a bright, very intense burst of light all at once. This gives us a quicker exposure time, meaning you won't have to sit for quite as long. If you have any history or seizures this option is not for you, please notify us and we can use natural lighting for your portrait.

How many people can be photographed at once?  On account of size restrictions in the studio, we can easily shoot 3 people on the 5x7 plate and 2 people on the 4x5 plate. Due to a very shallow depth of field, the more people in the frame, the more difficult it becomes to achieve perfect focus. We are always willing to try a group shot out and see what we get.

What should I wear?  Anything you'd like! Feel free to dress up or dress as casually as you please. The Wet Plate Process is 'Orthochromatic' which means color translates very differently to what you would expect. Reds/oranges/yellows are rendered black, while blue is rendered white, so keep this in mind when you bring along clothes, accessories & props for your shoot. Patterns and textures also look great, however, due to the historical camera used, we don't recommend that you wear text, as it will appear backwards on your photograph. 

What is included in a portrait session?  A session includes one tintype, unless additional plates are purchased. We develop the plate in front of you. If you would like to make changes, let the photographer know and we will re shoot at no cost.

Can I buy a gift certificate? Definitely, shoot us an email and we can set everything up for you!

Can I bring my child or pet to the studio? Yes! We ask that you just let us know prior to your appointment. All pets must be well trained and capable of holding a 'stay' command. Bring treats! ***Please also be aware that this process requires the subject to be completely still. In our experience, capturing portraits of young children and pets with this antique method is quite difficult. We always like a challenge but just keep this in mind when booking an appointment. 

Are marks on my image normal ? For the most part, yes. Tintypes/Ambrotypes are imperfect, thats what makes them so special. This style of photography is over 150 years old and a chemical process. Minor flaws due to chemistry and evidence of handling are normal. If any of these detract from the image, let us know before we finish the photograph, and we can re shoot at no cost. 

Can I use the photograph commercially? Sure. Like any photographer, usage fees apply when the work is used in a commercial or editorial fashion. The price will vary depending on how the image is used. You may contact us anytime for a quote.

Are you available for events? Yes! Shoot us an email and we can always chat more in depth. Traveling fee (within a 30 mile radius of Asheville) and pop-up/event fee baseline - $200. Traveling fee is subject to increase if beyond 30 miles of Asheville.

EVENT / POP-UP INFO

Set up time takes about a little under two hours. Tear down time is around 45 minutes. Additionally, access to power and water is needed, please keep this in mind when booking. In our experience there will need to be a 30 amp breaker or more to allow our strobe lighting to be fully functional. If you have any questions or concerns with this please let us know.

SHIPPING POLICIES

All mailed Tintypes/Ambrotypes are shipped with tracking included, however, once they leave my hands I am not responsible for lost mail or mail sent to the wrong address. If you would like to insure your package or request signature confirmation please let me know. Please be aware there will be an added fee.

I am not responsible for mail lost or stolen once it leaves my care, please use secure/safe shipping addresses and request signature confirmation/extra insurance if you need to. Thanks!