Vintage vibes, a classic car, and an adventurous couple – what more could a photographer ask for? When Sara and Ian reached out about scheduling a tintype engagement photo session, I was thrilled. Little did I know they’d be bringing so much style and edge with them!
Enjoy my tintype engagement photo session with Sara and Ian, and if you want to schedule your own, I’d love to chat!
What Are Tintype Photos?
Tintypes (also known as melainotypes or ferrotypes) are a style of photograph that originated in the mid-1800s. It involves developing an image on a thin sheet of metal instead of paper. Unlike with the other popular methods of the time, a photographer could take, process, and deliver a tintype to their client in a matter of minutes. It really changes the game for early photographers!
Tintypes were also the most common form of photography during the Civil War. You’re probably already familiar with the look: super contrasted, dark black-and-white images with lots of noise and scratches, printed on a slate grey background.
Today, modern photographers are bringing the tintype back. Some mimic the look with digital editing, but I prefer to do the real thing. It takes time, tons of practice, and a patient subject, but the results are so worth it!
How to Get Tintype Engagement Photos
In addition to being quicker to process, tintypes were also one of the first portable modes of photography in the 1800s. Photographers could easily travel with their camera and materials, meaning they were no longer limited to their studios.
That also means I’m not limited to my studio, either! I met Sara and Ian at their home for their engagement photo session, and it was easy to set up my equipment in their yard.
I also offer tintype photography at my shared studio, The Goat Farm. It’s an industrial space steeped in historic charm, and it makes a great location for engagement photos.
Sara & Ian’s Vintage Engagement Photos
Sara and Ian found me online, but I actually know Ian through some of my mutual friends. He’s a fellow motorcycle enthusiast, so we’ve ridden together a few times before. (Fun fact: I’ll also be driving the backup van during his upcoming dirtbike trip through 1000 miles of Utah wilderness. How cool is that?!)
Sara is an insanely talented hairstylist and colorist at Van Michael Salon, and I knew as soon as I met her that she had style. She planned their vintage engagement photos with a 70s western feel, and they specifically wanted to highlight Ian’s ’68 El Camino. Since they planned to sell the car shortly after their session, they wanted to capture its beauty and charm forever. What better occasion than an engagement session?
For their photos, Sara donned a simple black outfit an a buffalo coat (a gift from Ian’s mom), and Ian chose a western shirt with subtle embroidery and a denim jacket. Their style felt laid back but still intentional, rugged but still refined.
70s Inspired Engagement Photos at Home
For my tintype engagement photo sessions, I create four tintype images and then spend the next half an hour on digital portraits. It might not seem like a lot, but that’s plenty of time for a wide variety of shots. And since we were shooting at Sara and Ian’s home, we had even more options for poses, locations, and fun moments.
Towards the end of the session, we even got to bring out Sara and Ian’s cat for a couple photos. I love including pets in engagement photos, and it’s not every day I get to photograph a cat. Lucky for us, she was more than happy to snuggle into her mom’s coat and pose for a few shots.
Sara & Ian’s Tintype Engagement Photos
While I wanted to be sure to capture the car, I also made a point to get a couple portraits of just Sara and Ian.
With a digital camera, you can take a photo in a split second. With a tintype, the exposure takes a bit longer. That’s why all those old Civil War generals were stone-faced in their photos: it’s easier to hold still with a straight face than it is with a smile.
For Sara and Ian’s photos, we went with a similar look. The results were these edgy, dark images that I absolutely love. Sara was serving Kissin’ Kate Barlow vibes for sure. I couldn’t be happier with the way these shots turned out!
Want your own tintype engagement photos?
You’re in luck! I’m booking tintype engagement photo sessions (and regular portrait sessions) both on-location and at my studio. Shoot me a message, tell me about yourselves, and let’s plan you an edgy, vintage-style engagement shoot.
For wedding and engagement inspiration, head over to my Instagram.