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“A Visit To Gettysburg Would Not Be Complete Without A Rob Gibson Portrait” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gibson's Photographic Gallery

Gibson's Photographic Gallery
65 Steinwehr Ave, Gettysburg, PA
717-337-9393
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Ranked #8 of 30 Attractions in Gettysburg
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Attraction details
orlandoflorida
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“A Visit To Gettysburg Would Not Be Complete Without A Rob Gibson Portrait”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

On our recent visit to Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary of the battle, we had our 1863 style portrait done at Rob Gibson’s Photographic Studio.

We arrived for our July 3rd appointment and as they dressed my wife in her period clothes, I was outfitted in Union Officer attire. We had chosen an authentic wet plate photograph format used for photographs in the 1860’s. Even though I had done black and white photography, development, and printing for twenty-five years, I wasn’t familiar with the wet plate format.

I thought a photographic plate would have been commercially produced to take the photograph. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I watched as Mr. Gibson poured a solution onto a black metal plate and let it spread around to form a uniform covering on the plate. After asking what it was, he informed me it was collodion, a form of nitrocellulose; the type of film used for years in early motion pictures.

After starting the film coating process, the plate must have silver reacted with the collodion, exposed for the photograph, developed, and made into a positive image within ten minutes while the plate remains moist, hence the name “wet plate”.

Mr. Gibson posed us in the skylight lit studio, and framed and focused the period plate camera. He retrieved the wet plate from the small darkroom bench in the corner of the studio, and placed it in the camera. While we were holding perfectly still, he removed the lens cap from the lens for a fifteen second exposure and then placed the lens cap back on the lens. He removed the wet plate from the camera and developed the plate. In a few minutes we were looking at the negative image on the plate. He then developed the plate into the finished positive image as we watched it change before our eyes.

It was fascinating to see the whole production of the wet plate from start to finish, with our photograph as the result.

With all of the sights of visiting Gettysburg, this was one the highlights of the trip for me to have the wet plate photograph produced and see how it was done through every step of the process.

I would think a trip to Gettysburg would not be complete without having a wet plate photograph portrait produced by Rob Gibson as the ultimate way to remember one’s visit to this historic city.

Visited July 2013
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  • English first
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English first
York, Pennsylvania
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Dont Waste Your Money”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

I will never be returning to Gibsons and if I wasnt so sure that I would get chewed out/ hung up on by the owners I would be calling back demanding to get a refund. I have gotten over 10 tin types done, so I am not new to this. Not only was Mr. Gibson extremely rude but the quality of our tin type is the worst I have seen. We had to pose ourselves, no head stand was set up so I am blurry and you can see the top of the backdrops and props. He was flustered,cold, disrespectful and rushed. It was given to us in a giant envelope allowing it to slide around and get scrapped up a bit. We dropped $120 on just one tin type and thats not a cheap price. The least they could have done was treat our experience with care and take their time. If you cant handle the tourist rush then dont be open. I am livid that I am out $120 for something that was supposed to be and enjoyable experience and not irritating and vastly disappointing one. I am in Gettysburg a lot and I will tell people to save their money as it is just not worth it for that quality. I thought I would get a high quality tin type as he is supposedly "the best" in the business, but I think I could have done better. Save your money and go get a digital old time picture done elsewhere. As for me, it was a wasted hour and a wasted $120 that I could have spent doing something way more enjoyable.

Visited July 2013
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RJGibson, Owner at Gibson's Photographic Gallery, responded to this review, August 7, 2013
My policy has always been 100% satisfaction for the past 20 years. I do not know who this reviewer is, nor have we had any complaint about my work. I never allow clients to pose themselves, I have 3 headrest that are used when needed, and EVERY photograph is carefully inspected by magnification by myself and the client before ANY money is taken. If he's had 10 tintypes, and this is the worst he has had, I'd like to see the other nine.
I go out of my way to please every client and have a stellar reputation. I've reviewed every photo taken during reenactment week and cannot imagine who this could be.
I've never hung up on anybody. My tintypes cost $85 not $125, I think this is someone who has a personal agenda that has everything to do with me, and nothing about the quality of my work.
Its easy these days for someone to hide behind a keyboard and anonymously bash someone. I invite A.K. back to the studio with his original photograph, to reshoot or refund his money, but I'm not holding my breath, because I don't think I ever took his picture.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somersworth, New Hampshire
2 reviews
“An Actual Tin Type- just like my ancestor”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

It is one thing to put on period clothing from the Civil War and have your photo taken; it is another thing to have an actual tin type made for. Gibson is known through out the country and has been featured in many magazines. The walls of his business is filled with actors/actresses that were in the movies "Gods and Generals", "Gettysburg" and television (Mike from American Pickers and Ken Burns from Public Television documentaries). The staff certainly has had much experience with these photos and they have clothing jewelry, weapons, etc. to make you feel the part. They certainly were busy during the 15th anniversary of the battle. I couldn't make a reservation for the same day. My appointment was the next day at 4:30 PM and I left at 6:15 PM. It sounds like a long time, but it went fast as I spoke with other people in the room and then Mr. Gibson gave me a wonderful education on the process. They have photo packages as well. If you want a fun, historical experience, this is the place to visit!

Visited July 2013
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buxton maine
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“wonderfully professional, very fun time, happy with our tintype photograph.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

robert was wonderful with us and showed us the process of capturing the photograph. Dee was very sweet and her mother who was helping for the weekend was delightful.

Visited July 2013
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London, Kentucky
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Top notch place for period pics”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

Very pleased with the experience we had at Gibson photography! You could really why Mr. Gibson's work is so popular in his field.

Visited June 2013
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