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06-23-2009, 07:54 AM   #1
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Outdoor Black and White Portraiture Suggestions

Hey Guys,

Coming up on the July 4th I'm going to be doing a portrait shoot outdoors with black and white film in 35mm and 6x7. I'm looking for some suggestions as to getting the results I'm looking for. I'm trying to get mid to high contrast, so nice bright whites and pretty dark blacks, but nothing too extreme. I'm most concerned with highlight separation because there is going to be plenty of light clothing and I don't want to lose details in the outfits. Since it's going to be portraiture I want the skin tones to be as pleasing as possible as well.

It's going to be a mix of distance shooting and close ups with some group shots as well as individual stuff. I was planning on using 400 tri-x and was wondering if you could recommend and tips for exposure and developing to get good results along the lines of what I'm aiming for. I'm also open to any advice or tips you can offer for other films to use.

Haha, I know that long paragraph probably doesn't offer much help, I'm still trying to formulate what I'm going for in my head but this is what I've got so far. If you all can give me some advice that would be great. This is my first semi-formal shoot like this and I'm excited but still looking for as much guidance as I can find before hand.

Oh yeah, and the camera's will be my KX with the M 50mm f1.4 and M 135mm f3.5 as well as my 6x7 with the 55mm f4 and the 90mm f2.8. I'll also have my K20d there but I'm more concerned with the film stuff.

Thanks guys!

- Morgan

06-23-2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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Off the top of my head I'd suggest a slower, finer-grained film. In group shots where the faces are smaller in the frame you may find the grain of the Tri-X intrusive (especially in 35mm), and the fast film will make it harder to open up the lens outdoors for shallow DOF, especially in summer.

I'll leave it to others better qualified than me to make alternative film suggestions, if any.
06-23-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion. Hopefully others out there can share some experience in this area.
06-23-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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I'd say the same thing. Try Ilford Pan F +. It's a 50 ISO film. Shoot it at 50iso and stand develop it in rodinal 1+100 for 1 hour. That will preserve shadow and highlight detail. The slow film will give you more control in bright sun. Pan F is nice and contrasty too. My 0.02 anyway.

TMAX 100 would work well too. It's pretty contrasty film.


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