1970s/1980s portrait photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JVo, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. JVo
    Offline

    JVo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Hi, I'm not sure where to post this, so sorry if this isn't the right place!

    Anyway, I'm not a photographer, but I have a photography question. My boyfriend and I want to dress up and take a family portrait that looks like it came straight out of the 1970s or earlier 1980s. We thought it would be critical for the quality of the picture to look like it's from this era. I'm not sure if that means you would need an actual old camera or what. I thought we should go to a studio or a professional photographer, but I'm not sure if any of them can provide this. What do you think?

    Thanks!
    Julie
  2. PatrickHMS
    Offline

    PatrickHMS New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I don't know the answer to your question, but that is an interesting idea.

    Vintage film cameras from that era are plentiful, and affordable.

    Kinda reminds me of when people would go to some touristy area, and get dressed up in "Old West" stuff to look like Billy the Kid with a bar girl and photo being taken in Sepia.
  3. rufus5150
    Offline

    rufus5150 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,658
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0
    Any photographer worth his salt should be able to age a photo appropriately, however the convincing bit isn't going to be the age of the film, it's going to be the clothing, hairstyles, eye glass styles, etc. All of the shooting with aged film cameras, or film, or heavily posted images shot with newer technologies, won't change the fact that the styles have changed so dramatically.
  4. JustForSneaks07
    Offline

    JustForSneaks07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    use a Polaroid and scan your prints. Oh and make sure you have an old school Datsun and lots of hair on both of you
  5. JVo
    Offline

    JVo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Thanks for all the responses. Maybe we will try asking a photographer to age the picture then.

    Yes, we're definitely taking care of the costume end too. I'm thinking something like big hair, shoulder pads, maybe lace? - in any case, tacky. ;o) And I want to hang it on the wall, too.
  6. JustForSneaks07
    Offline

    JustForSneaks07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I would shoot for you guys but San Jose is a long drive from LA.
  7. Dwig
    Offline

    Dwig New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Key West FL
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    What type of "family portrait":
    1. family snapshot as it looked then?
    2. family snapshot looking like one that has aged for 30 years?
    3. professional studio portrait as it looked then?
    4. professional studio portrait with 30 years of aging?

    For #1 & #2, any modern PS film or digital camera would work fine if you keep the room lights very low. Modern cameras try to do "fill flash" with the ambient light to lighten the distant backgrounds. This is something that 30 year old cameras didn't do. A film camera would make replicating the "film look" easier.

    For #3 & #4 you need the proper studio lighting setup and background. Also a larger DSLR with a very fast prime lens would be desirable to help get fairly shallow depth of field.

    With #1 & #3, only a very slight reduction in color saturation would be necessary to replicate the proper look. If you shoot digital, you may also want to adjust the curves to reduce the tonal separation in the highlights and shadows, particularly for #1.

    With #2 & #4, if you are wanting to replice the aging of a typical color print, you'll want to add some slight warm yellow to the highlights only. You might also want to shift the shadows very slightly toward the cyan and reduce the maximum shadow to a very dark grey so there is nothing that is quite a true black. You would also want to reduce the color saturation slightly.

    You want to do very little of these shifts as real prints made around 1980 show very little aging. It is the older prints from the '60s and early '70s that show they typical "old color print" look. There has been very little improvement in film since the late '70s. The only significant improvement is that the faster films are now finer grain and slightly sharper. There has been no real improvement in equipment other than zooms now are as good as primes and automatic systems are more intelligent. In general, picture quality with film hasn't improved in the last 30 years.
  8. Sw1tchFX
    Offline

    Sw1tchFX New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    476
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +476 / 0
  9. KmH
    Online

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    34,010
    Likes Received:
    4,055
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +4,060 / 0
  10. Derrel
    Online

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    28,454
    Likes Received:
    9,789
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    USA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9,824 / 0
    BIG HAIR...feathered hair...plaids...bell-bottoms...polyester
  11. PatrickHMS
    Offline

    PatrickHMS New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Tie-dye and sandals...

    Roach clip on keychains.
  12. IgsEMT
    Offline

    IgsEMT New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,689
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NYC
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +48 / 0
    :thumbup:

Share This Page