Ask and you shall receive a multitude of answers.... All of them valid... That said, for a beginner, I vouch for aluminum or rather gloss black anodized trophy aluminum. Its consistent (especially from Main Trophy supply), easy to use. Just peel the protective cover, and pour your plate. No copious amounts of cleaning needed, no issues with lifting collodion, minimal weight, not breakable like glass. Get used to the workflow with aluminum plates and when comfortable, then move down the path of trying glass.... YMMV of course! Personally, I love the look of black glass ambrotypes, but still find glass way too labor intensive. I always get emulsion lifts, although I have not tried subbing the plates to alleviate that.