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Porkpie Photography




Porkpie Photography
Porkpie Photography

What to Expect in the Studio

If you're planning to visit the studio, we're glad you decided to give this 160+ year old photographic process a shot. If the only pictures you've ever been around are those you look at on a screen, you're in for a big treat. Not only will you get to see the process first hand from behind the camera, but you'll also see your picture come to life when the final chemicals are added.


Individual portraits are our speciality.  A soft focus closeup will be a picture that generations of your family will be able to view.


Here are a few things to expect once you're in the studio:

  1. No smoking allowed. As the primary ingredients of collodion are alcohol, ether and guncotton (BOOM!), no uncontrolled flames in the studio.
  2. Let there be light! A lot of light, in fact. We use close to 5000 watts of special fluorescent lighting and strobes to get a proper exposure. 
  3. Speaking of light - the collodion film is only sensitive to blue light. Colors that are bright blue show up as near white or gray. So blue eyes have a really neat look on collodion. Freckles on the other hand have no blue light, so they show up even darker.
  4. Time to keep still. Since the collodion film is not very light sensitive compared to modern films, we typically expose a plate for 3 to 10 seconds. Blinking is ok but any head movements will cause the final picture to look blurry. We use a head brace to give you something to steady yourself.
  5. You will be captured in ɘƨɿɘvɘЯ. Your final image will be flipped left to right, so any writing on clothes or hats will show up backwards. This also applies to birthmarks, piercings and tattoos that will appear on the other side of your body.
  6. Bring your phone to capture the magic. The fixing process where the photo turns from a negative to a positive image is a pretty cool video to record. This is a great way to show others about this pure chemical photographic process.
  7. ​FOR YOUR SAFETY: Please do not touch, consume, sample or otherwise mess with any of the chemicals used in this process.


Your photograph will be ready for you within a week.  It has to be dried, cleaned, scanned and varnished to fully protect the silver image from tarnishing.  After this protective process is complete, your image will last for generations. You will receive your photograph as well as a touched up digital scan for online use.



A comparison of wetplate collodion vs modern photography


First, notice that the image is flipped horizontally. This is due to the light crossing through the lens and being inverted.


Next notice the shallow depth of field. The bigger the camera aperature, the shorter the exposure time needed. This results in only a central spot being in focus. 


Finally, this picture shows how colors are captured in collodion. Only items that are blue or white show up as highlights.

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