Jeff Howlett

Written by Ellen Gurley

Jeff Howlett Tintype Photography
By Ellen Gurley

You all know what a tintype photograph is.  Some people call it old-timey and many have gone to an amusement park and had a digital image taken and it was modified to look black and grey or brown and black.  Either way, you’ve seen the modern rip-off , even if you haven’t seen a real tintype yourself. 

Jeff Howlett Jeff Howlett Jeff Howlett

 If you google the term, you will see many images of people not smiling in tintype pictures.  It’s an interesting thing - not to smile- as we all remember growing up being urged to do so.  There are many reasons why they didn’t smile in said old-timey photographs.  Most of them were taken of people at war time or at times of poverty - no reason to smile there.  Some were taken of important people (writers, mathematicians, explorers) who didn’t want to go down in history with that one photograph - that one chance - as a clown.  Some people used to think that smiling wasn’t civil.  But I know when I heard we had someone in our area doing actual tintype photograph, that gave me reason to smile. 

Jeff Howlett Jeff Howlett Jeff Howlett

Rock Hill’s Jeff Howlett has a studio completely dedicated to capture tintypes and developing them in the old-timey technique of lacquer on metal.  It’s wonderful.  I had a family tintype done myself.  Having apprenticed under an Ellen Susan, Jeff has been doing tintypes for two years now.  He’s an IT professional as his 9 to 5 but still manages to book upwards of fifty shoots a week.

“Filmmaking and photography are my passionate core, however being a single father I have to balance finances with my art. I produce images when I am not spending time with my children. I have a wonderful relationship with my children’s mother, so we are able to balance family time fairly.”

In this wet tintype photograph process, Jeff uses a collodion emulsion with silver that literally ends up making your image.  The process is fascinating and Jeff is dedicated to helping his client obtain a timeless image of themselves or with their families.  The most popular size he shoots is a 4X5 and that runs you $40.00.  You can hire him for an event (who wouldn’t want to leave your wedding with their own tintype) or you can book an appointment to see him in the studio.  You’ll be glad that you did.



Contact Jeff and set something up today.
Email him at or call him at  803.265.5523.

See more of his work at /

instagram & twitter : @howlermano

ellen-75   Ellen Gurley
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