portrait shots - what else do I need?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by elliotjnewman, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. elliotjnewman

    elliotjnewman TPF Noob!

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    I own a Bronica etr-c 645 with a 75mm lens a handheld meter and a tripod.

    I want to take some shots of my family outside next weekend, do I have ok equipment for this? I am thinking about getting a waist level viewfinder prism, and a cable for my exposure release...

    Maybe I should get a reflector too? Oh and what film would you recommend? I was thinking velvia 100...

    Also I have a problem with my handheld meter - it seems to have a drastically different reading when I use spot or average - almost all the time the spot meter will give a faster reading than average...
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From what I have heard, Velvia's supper saturation does not render skin tones very well. You might want to reconsider your film choice.
     
  3. elliotjnewman

    elliotjnewman TPF Noob!

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    ok, so what film would you recommend?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The films that I see recommended most for portrait photography are Kodak Porta NC and Fuji NPH.
     
  5. elliotjnewman

    elliotjnewman TPF Noob!

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    can anyone help with this question?

    Also I have a problem with my handheld meter - it seems to have a drastically different reading when I use spot or average - almost all the time the spot meter will give a faster reading than average... which I would understand if I was spot metering something much brighter than the average scene, but even when the scene is really evenly lit the spot meter will give me a faster shutter than the average meter... Any help?
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I would recommend negative film over positive (slide) film for portraits; less contrast and greater latitude if your exposure is off a bit.

    Averaging is a function of the meter; it takes multiple readings and gives you the median between them. Do you mean an incident meter? It looks like a white ball.

    If you are using negative film, you could meter several different ways. Spot meter off a gray card that is in the same light as your subjects, and use the recommended settings. Spot meter the darkest shadows where you still want full detail, and under expose 2 stops from that recommendation. If your subjects have light skin, meter off their skin and over expose 1 stop from that recommendation.
     
  7. kimbie05

    kimbie05 TPF Noob!

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    it seems that most photographers i work with use positive film. and i think it looks great. but then again, i'm so amazed at everything i learn, that i pretty much take what they say as law.

    oh, and i'm not a fan of the kodak nc. colors arent vibrant enough for me. i always think of the nc as wedding photography stuff. (all that white and muted colors, it doesnt make much a difference!)
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If you want higher contrast and vibrant colors then slide film is the way to go (although some slide films, such as Fuji Astia are supposed to be lower contrast and less saturation). Vibrant color film is great for high energy portraits with subjects who have good skin ; add some acne, age, or someone with a ruddy complexion, and the extra saturation doesn't do them any favors. :)

    Also with slide film you'll need to be right on with the exposure; 1/3rd of a stop off, and it'll probably show. With neg film the exposure can be off a whole stop, and you'll probably never know by looking at the print. Up to 2 stops off, and it'll still probably be printable. If you are not confident in your ability to nail the exposure neg film is the way to go.

    I like to use Fuji NPS (160) and Fuji NPH (400). It's always been really reliable for me. Recently I tried Fuji NPC (160), which is their high saturation color neg film, because I was out of NPS. It was to much for the folks I was shooting, but I could see how it might work for a different subject. I think Fuji has just renamed these films, but I can't remember what they are called now.
     
  9. elliotjnewman

    elliotjnewman TPF Noob!

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    Ok, thanks for the input. I didnt already state that I will be doing digital post processing on these photos, so I think I would prefer more lattitude to control, so I think that colour negs are the way to go for me...

    What do you think about the 75mm lens? Its the only one that I have at the moment, I would like to get a 150mm.

    With a 75 mm lens I need to keep the shutter at 1/125th when handheld? I recently took some shots at 1/60th and there is some camera shake on the image...

    ksmattfish - yes I mean an incident meter, silly me! But it sounds like I will be using spot from now on. Thanks for the advice on film, I will have a look at Fuji NPS (160), do they offer a 200 and a 100?
     
  10. elliotjnewman

    elliotjnewman TPF Noob!

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    Oh, and a quick question on scanning and printing - Do you think I should get an inkjet print done or a chemical print? Im thinking of getting them enlarged to A3 size... Also, there are quite a few photo labs near me, I have taken a negative to get scanned today, its cost me £15 for an A3 @300dpi, its not a drum, and Im not confident in the person who is scanning as I went in to collect and had a look at the image and it was really blown out (I know the exposure is fine as I had a contact made before) - he said he would rescan for me to get some detail back in the highlights, but it doesnt fill me with confidence... and he looked at me strange when I asked him what dynamic range his scanner was :(

    Does anybody know a good place to go for scans and prints? Im based in Soho London...

    Thanks.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Or you can use the incident meter by measuring the light at your subject. The incident meter is measuring the light falling on the meter (or your subject). The spot meter is measuring the light reflecting off the part of the scene you are pointing it at. If you took an incident reading, and then a spot reading off of a gray card (in the same light as you took the incident reading) they should be the same.

    If you take a spot reading off something dark it will give you a recommendation that will overexpose (it is trying to make black come out middle gray). If you take a spot reading off something light it will underexpose (it's trying to make white come out middle gray).
     

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