The Wet Plate Process

Getting Started in Wet Plate Collodion Photography

Step by Step Guide

  1. Pour Collodion onto a glass or tin plate. Cover the whole plate and drain excess into a separate bottle.
  2. After Collodion has set, place into the silver bath for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove plate from silver bath and dry the back of the plate. Do this under safelighting (usually red). The plate is now light sensitive.
  4. Place the plate into the film holder and expose in a large format camera.
  5. Return to the darkroom and develop the plate for appr. 15 sec. The plate is not sensitive to light anymore.
  6. Pour water onto the plate to wash off the developer as quickly as possible to stop the developing process. The developer is washed off when the greasy/oily look disappears when you stop pouring water.
  7. Place the plate into fixer bath until all white spots disappeared.
  8. Wash the plate intensively in running water.
  9. Dry overnight.
  10. Next day collodion side covered with asphaltum.