How to get higher contrast when shooting on film?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by cestlefun17, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    How do you get higher contrast when shooting on film? I got my first roll developed today (Kodak 200 Gold Color) but unfortunately the images came out gray and washed out. I don't have a scanner so I can't show you exactly what you look like, but from my experience with digital imaging, it appears that the colors could be more saturated (which would mean, I assume, getting a different kind of film?) and the contrast could be higher.

    I use an SLR Canon Rebel. I bought it gently used, and the seller included the film, so I don't know how old it is. Also, I did not get my photos developed at a professional lab, so perhaps these factors could also come into play?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Correct exposure ... this has the greatest impact on contrast.

    Film ... different characteristics. I was never crazy about Kodak Gold. I preferred Fuji Super(something) or Kodak Ektra (I think).

    Lens quality - poor quality lenses will have lower contrast

    Flare - internal lens flare will lower contrast

    The print will also be affected by the photofinisher who printed it.
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Grey, washed out colour on prints = negatives are underexposed ... and the print was overexposed to compensate.
     
  4. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I think I may have been too adventurous by playing with the manual controls. Perhaps I should have stuck to a pre-setting.

    The pictures in question were indoor portraits, shot during the day (it was cloudy). Because they were portraits I put the camera on the smallest f-stop (which is still pretty big I think -- 5.6) and used a shutter speed of 200. What should I have changed?

    EDIT: Smaller f-stop = larger arpeture which = narrower depth of field, correct?
     
  5. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Correct about the smaller f-stop number.

    Your internal meter will tell you if you are under/over exposed.

    I think the Rebel has a - | + gauge at the bottom (within the viewfinder). There would be an indicator there.
     
  6. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    Yes it does! And I'm pretty sure it was balanced...I'll have to try again sometime.
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Look at the negatives instead of the prints to check exposure.
     
  8. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    What should I look for on the negatives? They look alright to me...but then I don't really know what negatives are supposed to look like. There are a couple of exposures on the negative which I can tell are way too dark (which I assume on a positive means an overexposure)...these I know what I did wrong -- I was playing with the settings and tried a shutter speed of 30 full seconds. The ones I actually had printed don't look like they're too light on the negative though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  9. beala

    beala TPF Noob!

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    Get them put on CD when you develop them (don't even bother getting prints), and run them through photoshop. I think it's very rare to have a picture come straight out of the camera looking stunning. Even when correctly exposed, it will often look bland. If they are exposed correctly, then all they need are some PP. It's hard to say, though, without an example.

    And lenses, film, etc do affect the image quality, but I think even the best film and lenses can often benefit from some PP.
     
  10. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks...it's actually cheaper to get it on a photo CD. I didn't get one for this roll because most of the exposures were nonsense shots (to test the various settings and make sure the camera worked). I only had the negative developed and a couple of the good shots printed.

    Although...don't you then lose the benefit of shooting on film? If you just convert them to digital anyway...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  11. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Underexposed negatives look "thin" ... meaning the density is light.
    Overexposed negatives look "dense" ... meaning the density is very dark all over.

    If the negs look OK (compare them with other negatives you have that printed fine), then it could be poor print processing by the photofinisher.
     
  12. cestlefun17

    cestlefun17 TPF Noob!

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    In that case I definitely don't think they're overexposed. Should I go back to the photofinisher and ask them to reprint without adjusting the exposure?
     

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