How to Imitate the Tintype Photography Effect

OK. Let’s be honest. It is not tintype if it’s digital. But Levy Moroshan has developed a technique that makes your portraits look like tintypes:

Tintype Lighting

The main trick for getting the tintype look the lighting. Moroshan uses a clamshell funnel style lighting setup to create a dramatic fall off. He also shoots the images with a shallow depth of field, further adding to the effect. And finally, he converts the images to black and white.

digital tintype

Moroshan uses a 22″ beauty dish with a shower cap as the main light. It’s powered by an Einstein 640 w/s light and triggered by a PocketWizard.

use of reflector in tintype

A Profoto reflector set up directly below the beauty dish completes the lighting arrangement. Essentially, the way it has been set up, the lighting is just a funnel. This allows the subject to place their head in the middle for the shot.

technique to get the tintype look

Posing is very limited considering the setup. Moroshan suggests a harder look with a bit of a ‘brow pressure’ to give an intense look.

A perfectly black background helps achieve the final look.

Post Processing for Digital Tintype Portraits

Moroshan uses a very light post-processing technique that raises the contrast a little as well as some of the detail. That’s it. Since this is a ‘tintype’ not much post-processing is required. You show every detail and every blemish without making a conscious effort to hide anything.

how to shoot tintype digitally

Let us know if you try this out!

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