Transparencies/Slides vs. negatives for art and sale

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MyOwnPath, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    How many professionals here use slides vs. negatives?

    I use photography for art and sell framed prints in various forms, and it seems that if I want to elevate myself to selling to magazines and such, it would be worth it to start using slides.

    I have never used slides and want to know the benefits against the drawbacks. What does it cost you to get a roll of slides developed, and how much do prints cost on average?

    Slides seem easier to store as well. Thanks!

    --Trav--
     
  2. Scurra

    Scurra TPF Noob!

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    I was speaking to my next door neighbour who is a professional photographer, he sells all of his images (mostly landscape shots) on large format transparency film. The drawback to using slide film is that it is much less forgiving when it comes to exposures than standard 35mm, it is very easy to under or over expose a slide film. If you are going to shoot slide film for sale purposes however you might want to consider getting a bigger format camera.

    As yet I am unable to tell you how much getting slides developed will cost as I haven't used my first roll of slide film yet, i'm saving it for my holiday next week.
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    Print film has a greater exposure latitude than slide film. You could be off a stop or two with print film, and the prints would hardly show it, but you'd notice a 1/2 stop difference with slide film.

    Print film is lower contrast than slide film. Depending on lighting conditions this can be good or bad. My photog buddy who also shoots LF tranparency film has problem shooting in the middle of the day when the contrast is high. On the other hand his early morning shots are nice and punchy.

    Where I live it's $7 to get a roll of E6 (slides) developed at a pro lab, and about $12 to get a roll of C41 (negs) developed and printed. It used to be very expensive to get prints from slides, but most labs (around here at least) have gone to digital printing and offer them at the same price as prints from negs (so a roll of E6 developed and printed would be about $15).

    One of the main reasons that people say pros use slides is because with a slide you have a color accurate original (this is actually BS, but generally accepted to be true, so I won't argue it here) for a publisher or printer to work from. They can look at the slide and see how the print is supposed to look. With neg film you are bringing a printer (unless you are printing your own) into the mix, and they may have different ideas about how the color in your image should look. They can't really look at the neg and see how it's supposed to be; they have to use their own judgement.

    Also, I think that slide quality goes down significantly at ISO 400 and faster when compared to high speed color neg films. Depending on what you are shooting this may be a consideration.

    While there are mags and other commercial buyers that are still only accepting slides and transparencies (mostly landscape and nature mags), these days many will accept digital files. Since my website has been up I've been selling usage rights to low res files of my images to advertisers for a lot more than I've been able to sell actual hand done prints for (I do BW, which is almost all neg film). I think that the days of slide only for publishing are on the way out.

    Talk to your local lab, and see what is most economical to get what you need. Then experiment with both pos and neg films, and see what you like, and what works best for you. There is no rule saying you can't shoot both. If my clients want slides, I shoot slides. If they want prints, I shoot neg film. If they want files, I choose the film based on what would be best for the job. Velvia (E6) looks fantastic in the right light, and crappy in other light. Kodak Gold 200 (C41) looks good in a wide variety of situations. BW pretty much only comes in neg film, although there are a few positive versions, or processes which can be used to turn BW neg film into pos film. Although with the incredible exposure latitude of BW neg film, I can't imagine many situations in which BW pos film would be better. But that's just my opinion...
     
  4. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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    There are advantages and disadvantages to using slides. With digital imaging now there are fewer disadvances. Slides have a much better archieval quality. Chrome tends to not shift in color after a long time like negative film. However exposure is much more critical not much margin for error. And with scanners and computer printers you can get very good prints at a inexpensive price. That is what use to be very hard to do years ago before digital imaging took over.
     
  5. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    As far as selling digital photos...
    It sounds like you take photos with negative film...how then do you put them on your website or computer? The photo-CDs that labs offer now? Scanners seem like they would take away from the quality. Do you sell the usage of the digital file itself or do you simply use it as a way to display your images?

    Thanks, I'm excited to finally branch off.

    --Trav--
     
  6. MyOwnPath

    MyOwnPath TPF Noob!

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    As far as selling digital photos...
    It sounds like you take photos with negative film...how then do you put them on your website or computer? The photo-CDs that labs offer now? Scanners seem like they would take away from the quality. Do you sell the usage of the digital file itself or do you simply use it as a way to display your images?

    Thanks, I'm excited to finally branch off.

    --Trav--
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    I have a Microtek i900 scanner which will scan negs. Yes, it does take away some of the quality, but the people that are buying them don't need high res files, so it's okay. I originally got the scanner just to put pics on my website and to post here, etc...
     

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