The subject contents of groupings by photographic format within the Tinder collection vary, depending in part upon how each format was historically used, and the date range of that format's popularity. For example, cartes de visite and cased images are most often formal portraits, while stereographs are likely to be outdoor views. Cabinet photographs are frequently portraits, but with less formality than the cartes de visite and cased images. The postcards and the mounted prints contain very diverse subjects. The photographers' file contains many important and rare images of photographers, their galleries, promotional images, and the activities of photographers in the field. See individual series finding aids for additional detail.
Included throughout are images by both professional and amateur photographers, although those by professionals are extant in far greater numbers.