Daguerreotype portrait service.

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by marciofs, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Daguerreotype photo is slow and unreproducible, but it has this unique effect which make we feel the presence of the person.
    I was searching and I didn't find in the internet anywhere who provide Daguerreotype portrait service. And I wonder why.
    Photographers became lazy or the public doesn't have interest on alternative blowing mind quality?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are very few. But there are. To my knowledge there is only one busy commercially in Europe.
     
  3. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    But is there demand but most photographers doesn't know how to do, or don't want to have hard work?
    Or there is so few because there is no demand?
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Well you just gave an answer to that in another related thread:

     
  5. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Traditional Daguerreotype processing involves mercury vapor with safety and environmental problems. Years ago I met a Daguerrotypist who attributed his failing health to mercury poisoning. He died as a fairly young man, as did others when the Daguerreotype was popular. Quality Daguerreotypes are difficult to make. Some of the required materials aren't as available as when they were in demand. On the other hand, some people like the challenge of a difficult and dangerous process, or are masochists.
     
  6. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    Dags are mostly a labor of love -- given how much work goes into one, I suspect that someone doing them commercially would have to charge quite a bit -- a full day for a commercial photographer can charge $1,000 a day, easily, to shoot weddings or other events using digital or film photography, and Dags might cost more because of the extensive preparation, the unique expertise, and the cost of materials.

    That's a chunk of change for an image that can't be reproduced. Would you pay it?
     
  7. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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  8. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    If there is nobody to market so it is not possible to market.
     
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  9. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    I think most people wouldn't appreciate the difference between a daguerreotype and your standard collodion wet plate, making the former a bit excessive. Heck, I'd be thrilled just to have a wet plate done.

    You don't need to be a great photographer to market photography, but you would need to be a skilled photographer and/or chemist to pull off daguerreotypes while still hoping to make a profit.
     
  10. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    And how is the market on Wet Plate portrait?

    Yes I agree. But this quote is from an other thread and is completely contextualized because the other thread talk is about 35mm film negative to use as professional service. And what I said is that between 35mm film negative and digital to people it doesn't make difference. As far you delivery sharp images in a couple of days they will be happy.

    I know because I used to shoot with digital and went completely to film negatives and it did't make any difference for those who I photographed. All they wanted is to look like magazine page photograph. And the quality of magazines photographs, even fashion magazines, is not as good as they used to be so it is easy to satisfy this public. Family portrait even easier: White back ground and plain light to everybody look shine. If you try do make something more creative and rich they complain.
     
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  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    By the way, I have had a daguerreotype portrait done, drove 5h for that and paid for it.
    But I'm rare breed anyway...

    But better marketing would help.
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I would be tempted to do the same. But most people don't even know how to spell dagereotype (or film, it seems) so I can't imagine a mass market. I don't think there has been a mass market for dags since 1858 or so... so why should there be one now? :laugh:
     
  13. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    It doesn't have to be a "mass" market.
    I guess it will never be a mass market.
     
  14. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    I don't get it. Who is asking you to make Dag images?
     
  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've learned the process. It's amazing and beautiful, and I'd probably pay someone to get a really good Dag portrait done. But the market I don't think is there to sustain more than a handful of people practicing the medium because as others have already pointed out, A: there is a lot of ignorance of the process, and B: to make money at it you'd have to charge a LOT (we're talking sitting fees of $500+ depending on plate size). Realistically speaking, unless you have assistants to process the plate, you're talking about making no more than four or five plates a day. You'd spend a good hour to two hours each day polishing plates to get ready for sensitization. Then once your plates are polished, you have to fume them with the iodine and bromine to make them light-sensitive. That process takes say 10 minutes per plate (the fuming itself doesn't take that long, but the process of loading the plate, fuming, checking the sensitization, and loading the plate in the camera could easily take that long). Your exposure will be measured in minutes, not seconds. Then development, fixing, and gilding the plate will add another hour. Granted, you can sensitize a batch of plates in the morning and use them later, but it is still best to sensitize, expose and process them immediately. They keep longer than wet plate, but they're not dry plates or film. The sensitized silver layer will begin to oxidize and lose sensitivity and contrast very quickly.
     
  16. jcc

    jcc Member

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    There is a niche for these older processes. I shoot wet plate, but not commercially. Why not Daguerreotypes? Like Jim Jones said, mercury doesn't play nice inside the human body.
     
  17. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Thank you very much for the infos.
    I thought it may be a nice idea to explore alternative process comercially. Since there are much less people offering the service and the result may impress most people.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    just as a less toxic/dangerous version of wet plates was invented ( dry plate, dry plate ferrotypes )
    from what i understand, there is a mercury free version of daguerreotypes also, it's called the bequerel process,
    it takes more time to develop, but the process does exist.

    another apug user, jason greenberg motamedi is a daguerrotypist ...
    he's been making them for a long long time, and gives workshops on making them from what i remember.
    his website has some stunning dags on it too ... http://motamedi.info/
     
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  19. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    The Becquerel process daguerreotype lets you remove two of the more toxic chemicals from the process, bromine and mercury. However, you still need vapors of iodine (do NOT breathe this stuff). Becquerel plates are not as light sensitive as mercury developed plates because the bromine is an accelerant. Exposure time for a Becquerel plate is going to be multiple minutes. They also lack the contrast and sharpness of mercury developed plates. Becquerel plates are developed by re-exposure of the plate to sunlight, through a rubylith filter. The development can be done by inspection, but it will require say an hour or more in sunlight, and can take overnight using a uv-rich artifical light source.
     
  20. nawagi

    nawagi Member

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    Jerry Spagnoli (NYC) and Mike Robinson (Toronto) both shoot commercial dag portraits. While the Beq. process is "safer", the extra slow speed makes it problematic for portraits (3 mins f 8 in bright sunlight). I know Jerry uses a thermonuclear power strobe bank for his head shots, and also uses the faster Br-Hg method. His dags are second to none. Mike's work uses natural light and consequently has a very different look.

    Regarding production speed- figure 3 hours to polish, buff and sensitize 6-8 plates. I prep my plates in the morning and run a bromine test in my driveway before heading out to shoot. Back in the afternoon, I develop over the Hg pot and fix - 8 plates take a little over an hour, not including gilding time.

    I've thought about offering a portrait service, but at an hourly rate plus plate costs I feel it would only be viable in a major city -- not here in the boonies of Connecticut.

    NWG