View Full Version : Wet plate "starter kits" question

9-Jun-2016, 06:48
One of my goals is to try wet plate, and so I've started researching what I would need. I see there are "starter kits" available on ebay, which include beakers, stoppers, chemicals, etc., but I have no idea if they are a fair price or not. Can any wet plate photographers recommend a place to go to get set up with what I would need? It would be nice if it were in "kit form" kind of like what I buy from Artcraft for vandyke browns, cyanos and kallitypes, but not essential if I can get everything I need in one place. Thanks for any suggestions.

9-Jun-2016, 06:52
Bostick and Sullivan offer a very good starter kit, everything needed is in there.
You can be up and running quickly, and the quality is very good for a starter kit.
As you learn, you'll choose different chemicals according to taste, but the B&S kit helps you get a firm grasp of the whole process at the start.

9-Jun-2016, 09:25
Definately talk to Dana at Bostick and Sullivan, the first and best photography supply house to offer a kit. Others may have jumped in, but they don't have the background and experience of B&S.

I reviewed their kit and wrote this article here (http://home.earthlink.net/~garrettoallen/B-S_collodion_kit_18feb2011.pdf). "In all respects the B&S collodion, developer, and varnish from the kit worked extremely well. I had no image or processing problems or aberrations, leading me to believe that if a wetplater follows proper procedures, the B&S kit will do its part."


But you should know the rest of the story. Many wetplaters have bought kits, then tried to create wetplates with no other knowledge. This won't work, and leads to many problems and failures. Learning to wetplate is like learning to scuba dive. It's 50% equipment, but 50% technique and knowledge. You cannot just buy a kit, surf the internet a few days, then try to make excellent, clean, flaw free plates. You probably won't even get an image. Back when I wrote this newbies were blaming the kit. The kit is perfect. You have to be perfect in your technique and knowledge. You get that by taking a workshop, or buying a guidebook from a known practitioner that shoots how you want your plates to look.

9-Jun-2016, 14:27
Excellent advice, thank you. Garrett, I really enjoyed your article. I'm a certified scuba diver, so I get what you're saying. I'm in upstate NY near Saratoga, and John Coffer is about 3 hours away from me. I'm contemplating trying to come up with the cash to take a workshop. It ain't cheap, that's for sure. I noticed he also has DVDs available, although I haven't read any reviews of the set yet.