Frequently Asked Questions



WEDNESDAY - SUNDAY 11-4:30 (walk-ins welcome, appointments preferred)

Please read thoroughly before your session.

What is a tintype?

A tintype is a photograph created with the wet-plate collodion process which dates back to 1851. Historically made on tin, which has been black japanned, most tintypes that are made in present day are actually aluminum. Collodion, which is often referred to as an emulsion, is actually a colloidal suspension, is flowed on the plate’s surface. The plate is then placed in a tank with a silver nitrate solution to become sensitive to light. Once it has become sensitized, and while the plate is still wet, it is exposed to light, either natural or artificial.  Then the plate is brought back into the red light safe dark room to be developed and processed immediately. The plate’s development process is stopped by rinsing the image with water. After development has been stopped the plate can be brought out into the light. It is placed in a solution that fixes the image and makes the image appear as a direct positive. After each plate is washed and dried, it is coated with a protective layer of varnish and ready to send off to its new home. While the process is fairly lengthy in comparison to modern photography, each image taking 15-20 minutes to create, and a one-shot deal, the results are awe inspiring and well worth the wait.

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 4/5 people on the 8x10 plate, 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 is very similar to black & white film, essentially it is sensitive to all visible light except red. So colors translate 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. Try to avoid solid white or black as those will cause your image to be a bit too high contrast. 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. (Maximum of two reshoots).

Can I buy a gift certificate? Definitely! There are several gift certificate/portrait session options on the Gift Certificates page. If you don’t see what you’re looking for 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.  Please also keep in mind that the tintype studio is not the most child friendly place.  Wet plate photography is a chemical process.  There are chemicals stored in my studio and used during each session.  The lighting I use may make children & animals upset or uncomfortable. These lights are extremely fragile, expensive and heavy. Any mishaps or broken equipment will result in a break you buy fee. It's important that children (and adults!) in the studio are able to sit still and follow direction.

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.

What about digital copies? Definitely, just let us know and we can get it to your inbox after your session. All scans are an additional $20.

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.


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 at least a 20 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.


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!


Please provide 48 hours advance notice of cancelation or rescheduling appointments. We understand emergencies & life happen, however, Revelry Tintype reserves the right to charge 100% of the appointment cost if not notified, especially in the event of no call/no shows. This also applies to event/pop-up cancelations. If you have any questions or would like to reschedule please email revelrytintype@gmail.com. Thank you!


Gift cards are valid for one year after purchase date, they are non-refundable. Gift cards are mailed out to the address you provide after purchasing through website. In order to schedule your portrait session and redeem your gift card please email revelrytintype@gmail.com. You must bring your gift card with you to your session in order to redeem, thank you for understanding.