Black And White Film Flash Photography

January 8, 2019 1:39 am by columnblogger
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He took his mamiya c330 a honeywell strobonar flash and eight rolls of tri x 220 black and white film he shot every roll
Black And White Film Flash Photography

That’s also one of the advantages of the poor dynamic range. The contrast on neutral colours is boosted.

I’ve written about film photography and I’ve written about black and white photography. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about black and white film photography.

Had I shot the photo above on colour film, you’d be able to see the subject with no problem. When shooting on black and white film, it’s important to determine where the light illuminates the subject and work around that.

In my post on film photography, I talk in detail about how shooting on film helps to hone your skill. You think a lot more about what you’re doing before taking each photo, rather than wasting a piece of 35mm film.

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I have noticed over the past 2 years that development is getting more expensive.  It’s also taking longer to do and film is becoming harder to find. If we take that as a sign of things to come, it doesn’t look too good.

Take the photo below for example. I knew when I shot it that the left-hand side of the photo was going to be underexposed and that the right would be overexposed. This actually worked out really well.

You need to be really careful about this. You’ll find that even landscape shots don’t come out properly, let alone photos of people indoors.

The effects produced and the parameters you have to work within are very different from any other type of photography. This can produce some very interesting results – results that you may associate with a much older style of photography.

Black and white film photography is all of this and more. Normally, when I take black and white photos, I shoot in colour first and convert it afterwards. This gives me more options in post production.

You rely much more on composition, texture, shape and form to create a good photo, so you have to look for this before you shoot, not after.

That being said, there are still places around that do it at a reasonable price to a good standard. But black and white is a lot harder to get done.

Shooting with flash on film can be tricky because there isn’t the benefit of immediate feedback. However, with the help of a few basic pointers, the task becomes much less daunting. Here are theFINDlab’s top tips for those just starting out with film flash photography:

The light is harder to control but, when you expose a photo correctly with the light in the right places, the results can be much more dramatic.

You don’t have this option when shooting on film. So you really have to pay attention to what it is that you want to capture and how it’s going to look in black and white.

Want to know more? We cover all of these topics (and more) in-depth at Film School! Film School is a workshop for the intermediate film photographer who is ready to tackle difficult lighting situations, artificial light, high noon, color reflections…if it’s hard, we’ve got you covered! Our goal is for you to be ready to walk into any difficult situation and feel confident. Click here to learn more about the next session of Film School.

I particularly like how the light shining on the back of the subject’s head is emphasised by the dark figure behind him.

That is my favourite reason for shooting on black and white film. You’re forced to hone your skills much faster.

35mm film and development is becoming increasingly scarce. This is because some of the major developers are getting rid of their wet labs, only doing digital printing.

Mistakes can get pretty expensive if you’re not sure what you’re doing with your film camera. This forces you to quickly learn what you’re doing wrong.

A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief: Thank you for reading… CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera. It’s my training video that will walk you how to use your camera’s functions in just 10 minutes – for free! I also offer video courses and ebooks covering the following subjects: Beginner – Intermediate Photography eBook Beginner – Intermediate Photography Video Course Landscape Photography eBook Landscape Photography Video Course Photography Blogging (Service) You could be just a few days away from finally understanding how to use your camera to take great photos! Thanks again for reading our articles!

My nearest lab that will actually develop it in-house is about 25 miles away. This isn’t really a lot of use as the development process itself takes a while. Instead, I take mine to my nearest major lab, who send off for it.

One of my favourite things about shooting on film is how good skin looks.

Once you understand how the film reacts to the light, you can use it as a creative tool in your photography.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get a roll of black and white film developed (particularly with the brand of film that I use: Ilford HP5 Plus) is that the dynamic range is a lot worse than what you’re used to with digital and colour film.

If purchasing or renting a flash for the first time, we recommend getting a flash that outputs distances in manual mode like the Nikon SB80 or SB800. When going up and down in power, these models display how far away from the flash a subject should be in 1/3 stop increments.

It’s like having a cheat sheet with you wherever you go! Know your max sync speed and don’t go over it. Here are the sync speeds for the cameras most commonly used by our clients: Pentax 645/645n/645nii: 1/60  Contax 645: 1/90 Mamiya 645AFD: 1/125 Mamiya Pro TL: 1/60 Pentax 67: 1/30 Nikon F100 and Nikon F5: 1/250 Canon 1V and Canon EOS3: 1/250 Consider using a leaf shutter camera which allows you to sync your flash at all shutter speeds.

Depending on the strength of your flash, it will also allow you to overpower the ambient background. Set the ISO on your flash to 1/2 the box speed of your film stock. Remember, the angle of coverage on speedlights is made for 35mm cameras, so you will need to do a little mental math when you’re shooting medium format.

Here’s an example: You are using a Contax with an 80mm lens. Instead of setting your angle of coverage to 80, set it to 50, which is the closest equivalent to an 80mm focal length on a 35mm camera. Remember that your shutter speed ONLY controls the exposure of the BACKGROUND and your f-stop ONLY controls the exposure of the SUBJECT being lit by the flash.

Want to make the background darker? Shoot at a higher shutter speed. Want to make your subject brighter? Increase the power in your flash.

This really bothered me the first time I got my film back because I didn’t know about it before I shot. I hadn’t adjusted my shooting style to match it.

The answer is simple – there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

We have a great post on how to digitize film photos you should check out. Or how about trying our black and photography challenge to keep improving your work!

This added pressure of wasting money on the film and development means that you become a much more careful photographer. You consider how else each photo could be taken before actually taking it.

This still takes about 2 weeks or longer. I’m there regularly for printing anyway so it’s not too much of a problem.

I urge everyone to start shooting on film as soon as possible. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to experience it in the future.

Black and white film in particular makes the skin look great. The natural grain adds texture and detail, while the lack of colour emphasises the tone of the skin.

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