Wet Plate Collodion Passport Photos with a Polaroid Miniportrait Camera

Passport photos on wet plate collodion aren’t legally compliant, but you’re guaranteed to have fun making them. I shot wet plate collodion passport photos using a Polaroid Miniportrait camera.

The funny thing about this camera is that it has fixed-focus lenses. You have to sit 1.2 meters (3.94 feet) away. To be sure you are sitting at the right spot, there is a tape measure integrated into the Polaroid camera. You can see a little metal thingy underneath the lens without the lens cap on.

The f/8 lenses of the Polaroid Miniportrait camera combined with a photosensitivity of about ISO 0.5 of the wet plate were a bigger challenge than expected.

The full power of the Hensel Tria 6000 generator with the Grand Mini 85 was just enough to ensure a correct exposure. For lots of people, it sounds shocking since 6000 watts doesn’t seem to be nearly enough, but when you do the math it makes sense. ISO 0.5, f/8, and a softbox.

My Sekonic light meter showed aperture 18 at ISO 3 (unfortunately you can not set a smaller value). So that’s 2 1/3 fades more than f/8, which brings me to about 0.5.

To hold the wet plate better in position, I used the empty plastic box of the Fuji FP-100C film. A fellow wet plater, Jim Kost, told me he did it a similar way. I used the original plastic box and used the foam that is already in that box to hold the wet plate in position.

Then I put the Fuji plastic box with the wet plate inside into the film holder. It’s very easy to do, and the whole project was finished in 90 minutes.

Fortunately, in the closet is a Hensel Tria 3000, so the next passport photo should be more creative.

About the author: Markus Hofstaetter is a photographer who enjoys life and meeting people around the world. You can connect with him and find more of his work on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.


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