1st Collodion Experiment @ Home: Failed

So, we went and had blast yesterday! 3 plates and all 3 of them were very bad. The first 2 had nothing concrete on them, the last one, performed by my boyfriend, contained at least a hint of an image. My younger brother who modeled was a bit disappointed I guess…but did like to see the process.

I forgot to measure the Silver Nitrate bath. I thought several times about still having to that but when I do so I usually forget about it. Have to check that tonight. I also think we got the exposure off terribly. It’s so hard to guestimate…It’s getting winter slowly and the amount uv-light must be pretty low now, also because of our polluted-maastricht-air. I really have to practice on that. I’ll post the last image although not much is left of it, didn’t fix long enough nor rinsed long enough so the image is already fading. I plan in re-using the plate anyway so that’s why I didn’t bother.

Failed first experiment
Failed first experiment

Anyway, I won’t give up and just try to figure out what went wrong and we’ll take it from there. Measuring the silver is something that definitely needs to be done.

See you soon!


  1. Hi there I just saw your post. I am starting wet plate and just had similar experience. Day 1 all plates looked like one above, day 2 they had images on them BUT all images had gray smudges on them. Could you suggest a solution to my problem. Do u think is the silver?

    1. Hi Ewa,

      Do you have some examples of these so I could see for myself? My email is indra [at] contrastique [dot] nl.

      Before you tamper with your silver bath make sure it’s okay by measuring the specific gravity. This should read between 1.05 and 1.07 approx. Then make sure the acidity is okay. You measure this using a pH-strip. The pH should be around 4-5 when making positives. For negatives this should be around 2-3.

      Make sure you measure this BEFORE adding anything to the silver bath. It’s the most expensive bath you have and normally when freshly mixed it really should be fine. If you start changing it and screw up the bath for real it’s going to be more painful. Just filter the silver bath before and after every use and it should be the least of your worries 😉

      You could start by pretending your making a plate so pour collodion on the plate, put in silver bath, prevent to expose and then develop, stop and fix. If the plate comes out black your chemistry is fine and the problem is something else.

      Make sure you clean the plates really well. In the beginning I think that’s where I screwed up mine.

      Good luck! If you have more question feel free to shoot!


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