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Size Portraits

and Description

Smaller Sizes of
Portrait -
in the UK

Smaller Sizes of
Portrait -
Rest of the World

Smaller Sizes of
Portrait -
Mystery Photos

Smaller Sizes of
Portrait -
by name

Spiridione Grossi
and origin of
the stickyback

Smaller Sizes of
Portrait -
and artefacts



Related later genres

Stamp Photographs

Photo Booths


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Related Formats and Products which came after the Midget, Stamp and Stickyback

Walking Pictures or Walkies

Following on from these tiny early 20th century portraits we can discern a number of other photographic products and trends. Walking Pictures is a generic name for the candid unposed images taken of visitors and holidaymakers walking in the street, usually at holiday resorts. They were snapped then accosted by the photographer who would give them a ticket to collect their prints later from a nearby studio, prints on offer included postcards which could be sent to those left at home. This is an excellent site on walking pictures a couple of example walking pictures are shown below.

Two examples of Walking Pictures 1920s/30s

Photo Booths

Tiny photos were also produced by photo booths. (automatic or semi automatic machines used to produce multiple portraits in minutes). We have material on photo booths here.


A product often mistaken for the photo booth photo is the Polyfoto - more on which is here.

Passport Photographs

Another similar product is the passport photograph. British Passports included a photograph from 1914. From 1926 the passport photo had to be full face with no hat and a size was specified. In 1932 Cambridge Photographers Ramsey and Muspratt were charging 3/6d for three passport photos, probably a typical studio price at that time. This link will take you to an article about UK passport photos: Below is an uncut block of four passport photographs of an unknown bearded man - individual images are 1.6 x 2.2 inches, printed on thin photographic paper. These were probably tasken with a multi-lens camera.

Uncut block of four passport photographs, unknown photographer, printed on thin photographic paper.

Miscellaneous cheap work products by scholastic photographers.

A number of photographers specialised in taking photographs of children and classes in schools. Some of them also produced smaller sized novelty prints of individual children, Some examples are shown below. The first example is a Christmas greeting postcard with a portrait of an unknown boy, by Doran of Brandon Hill Croydon. Our sister site has an entry for the Doran family at Next is a far smaller Chrismas greeting with a portrait of a girl, dated 1931, measuring 1.7 x 3.2 inches. The photographer is XPDO Ltd of Didcot. The third example is a dated portrait of an unknown girl from 1932 by an unknown photographer, 1.8 x 3.5 inches.

Xmas Greeting Postcard with school photo by Doran

Xmas greeting by XPDO Didcot    1932 school portrait, unknown studio

Ping Pong photos or Penny Portraits produced in the USA

This is a superb article by about "Ping Pong Photos" or "Penny Portraits" in the USA . In the United States “Ping Pong” or “Penny Portraits” were names applied to those studios producing portraits in the format of small, very inexpensive, photos or postcards for the masses. (i.e. similar in many respects to UK Stickybacks) Such studios could be found at US seaside or other holiday resorts. The name “Ping Pong” was derived from the photographer clicking the back of the camera back and forth into predetermined positions to expose a small part of the plate in each shot. Neither phrase has been found in the British Newspaper Archive. Photo historian Orla Fitzpatrick in her brilliant “Jacolette” blog for Sept 2011 has a post highlighting a postcard portrait of a young lady by the “American Ping Pong Studios” at 33 Upper O’Connell St , Dublin. Ping Pong portraits were printed in strips, but, as with photo booth portraits, each image was different, unlike strips of stickybacks, which were usually multiple prints of the same image.

Top of page is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, exploring smaller sized portrait photographs and those who worked in this trade.
This page was last modified: 25 January 2021, 19:26

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