© 2014 Fourtoes OneShow

One Lump or Two?

A couple of my students have asked if one day tutorials are long enough to learn the wet plate collodion process. They had read on another workshop providers website that he didn’t recommend one day workshops, claiming it cannot be taught in a day.

It’s an interesting question.

What you can learn, with any good provider, is an excellent understanding and grounding for your start in learning wet plate collodion. It takes months if not years of constant practice to become proficient in wet plate. Granted you can shoot some great plates during your workshop but its not until you set up on your own and shoot your first plates that problems begin to arise. That’s where advice and information from others, whether that be from your tutor, the online community or published material really comes into play.

My one day tutorials are one to one, tailor made for your exact needs and skill level. Students who have attended my workshops all have a solid grounding in the theory, and practice of the process and are fast becoming highly proficient wet plate photographers.

My tutorials can now be opened out to include others, if you require it. So if you are a couple of friends, family or colleagues looking to learn wet plate then drop me a line for a tailor made tutorial. I can also add an extra day of shooting if you feel you need it, but bear in mind that if you live further afield you will have the added travel/accommodation expense involved with any extra days.

I think you need to ask yourself how you learn best? Do you work or learn better as an individual or as part of a group; do you want your tutors undivided attention and focus on what you can achieve, or do you want to work in a more collaborative way, and discuss your progress and problems with other students. Everyone is different and that’s why I offer tutorials suited to your needs. If you are struggling with one aspect of the process, we can focus on that; if you are a natural and have picked up the process quickly, then why not extend the tutorial with a location shoot or make some prints from your glass plates; so if you are more interested in one aspect of the process than another, then we can spend more time on that. Its your money your spending and I believe in you getting your moneys worth.

At the end of the day the tutorial is only ever as good as the tutor and is evidenced in the work of the student.

If you are still unsure which is best for you, then please just get in touch, I’m happy to discuss your requirements.




  1. Posted December 3, 2014 at 5:10 PM | #

    Hey Tony, Sam here. Back in 2012 you gave me a day tutorial. I’d already had some experience with wetplate but it hadn’t really met my expectations. This is why I sought you out.

    The workshop you ran for me (and my wife who you kindly let participate) gave me the solid groundings to build a real wet plate practise. From what I learnt that single day I was able to acquire the right tools and chemicals to create collodion photographs myself. I went on to create a large 15×12″ plate of the Oriel windows at Lacock abbey in a travelling darkroom I built myself. Neat!

    Of course not all went to plan at first and as you know I’ve been in touch many times with questions, to which you have always been generous with.

    Knowledge is a difficult thing to come by, Tony. You’re great at dispensing it and if the learner is eager then I can testify that a single day is enough to get started.


  2. Posted December 3, 2014 at 5:32 PM | #

    Hi Sam,
    Good to hear from you and I see you have a gallery space opening soon in Scotland. Nice one. Let me know the details of when you go live and I’ll do a little blog post about it. Looking forward to what you do with it.

    Keep in touch and thanks for the kind words,


  3. Mikey Boardman
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:20 PM | #

    During the summer I took the one to one, one day tutorial with Tony which provided me with the knowledge to build upon and shoot plates confidently by myself. After a quick coffee, we started to cut glass and shoot plates straight away, no messing around! I was offered the opportunity for a model at the studio if I wanted to shoot portraits, at no extra cost. I was able to shoot a range of sized plates, clear glass, tin and also black glass. I had asked whether It would be possible to make some van dyke brown prints, as this is something I was hopeful of getting to grips with, and we did this later into the evening. Tony helped me to acquire a bargain half plate camera off ebay as well as numerous other pieces of equipment. Ever since Tony has been of assistance answering any queries I may have, and ive had many of those. I would add that the one to one is a great choice as the studio/darkroom is all yours for the day! No waiting around! Thoroughly enjoyed the day, would recommend to anybody with an interest in this process.
    Thanks Tony!

  4. Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:05 PM | #

    Hi Mikey,

    Thanks for the comment. I hope your Degree course is going well. You still looking for a large format enlarger? I might have something for you. I’ll email you.

    Best wishes,


  5. Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM | #

    A wonderfully interesting day at the studios with Tony at the beginning of November. Friendly, patient and thorough tuition that was practical and hands-on from beginning to end, I am utterly charmed with my box of tintypes and glass plates.

    An intense, non-stop day that will push your abilities in a very positive direction from cutting and preparing the glass, setting up your own still lives and portraits and of course development, fixing, washing and finally varnishing the plates. Beautiful antique large-format cameras were a pleasure to work with and Tony’s enthusiasm for trying out less traditional equipment for use with wet plate collodion was refreshing, as I have a curious rebellion for experimentation. No question went unanswered, every chemical known to the world of collodion photography was available to be safely tried out with Tony’s seemingly unlimited knowledge.

    I look forward to collating a few of my own ideas based on this wonderful process and trying them out at this great studio space on a return visit.

    Tony is a very patient man, laid back and incredibly down-to-earth for a man of his expertise.

  6. Posted December 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM | #

    Glad you enjoyed it Lianne. I now have you to blame for a recent purchase of a Mamiya Press camera…. blog post to follow soon.


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