Tintype, or wet plate collodion, is an organic photographic process that captures its subject onto a metal plate– making a tangible image that can endure hundreds of years. The process was invented in the 1850s, captured the entire US civil war, and remained to be used for portraiture until the latter part of the 19th century;  then arrived ambrotype, dry plate, gelatin film, digital cameras, smartphones and VR.

        Tintypes must be shot and developed when wet, therefore each plate has a life of about 15 minutes before it dries up. That’s why a tintype is always developed onsite, capacitively, catching its audience’s breath when the image appears from the “blue”.

        Max Li and his tintype booth travel around, capturing events, individuals, communities, landscapes, and many other subjects. If you are interested in booking a tintype portrait session at Max’s studio, collaboration or having a tintype booth at one of your occasions, please email:


last updated 01/2023 
©MaxLi 2023