Shot my first ever roll of film. Feedback would be very welcome


TPF Noob!
Aug 5, 2022
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I shot my first ever roll of film on Ilford HP5 film, since there wasn't any color film available near me. It was shot on a Canon EOS 500N in manual mode with a Exakta lens that has broken Autofocus, which is the reason some of my shots are out of focus.
I'm pretty satisfied with some of the shots, but most seem lacking to me, so I would really appreciate feedback.


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Very nice shots - I particularly like 3 and 14.

I don't consider myself experienced enough for a critique though!
Yes, I agree with Dennis - tell us what you believe is lacking and we can chat about that. :) Welcome to TPF, and congrats on your first roll!

You will find that there are rolls of film where you only walk away with ONE really good shot - getting several that interest you is a great roll! It's more about shooting a lot, figuring out what subjects interest you, what worked for you with composition and exposure, etc. It's helpful to keep an exposure log, so you can look at what your settings were when you look at your negatives - especially since you shot this in manual.

You'll also find that shots you really like at first, you may find lacking later...and, shots that you don't care for right off the bat might suddenly really look good to you later! You don't have to decide anything right away, just shoot to the best of your ability and review them all periodically. It's a journey! Enjoy the process!
I think these are fine. Thoughtful compositions. These are high contrast with less shadow detail and midtones. But that could be what you like and a lot of that can be adjusted after the scan, so it's very personal. Without seeing the negatives, it's hard to tell if developing them created this look or what scanning and editing did.
The only thing I have to say about B&W is it is a mood. You can have the most technically perfect photo and it won’t work, where one not so good does. I can’t explain it i just know it when I see it. Some of yours hit the mark for me and some didn’t. 05-6 and 06-7 did it and 20-21 was super close. This is just me and no way saying any are great or poor. I wish I could explain it. But keep shooting. I just shot my first roll of Ilford HP-5 myself and waiting for it to return. If any are any good I’ll post them.
Composition/exposure looks good. The only thing lacking IMO is dodge/burn. In the darkroom is where I do that but with scans bust out the mouse and your fav edit program.
In addition to what everyone else said, I will add that the thing to remember is that black and white often relies on patterns, shading, geometry. Sometimes what looks good through the viewfinder doesn't work when color is removed. Images like the two of the amphitheater and the second to last of the tree-lined road are good examples of these patterns and geometry. Monochrome can really bring out these kinds of leading lines.

Other shots, like the second one, might have those kinds of geometry that you're looking for, but when you're shooting with very high, bright sun and then deep shadows under the trees forces you to choose if you're going to expose for highlights or shadows and so you end up losing detail on one or the other, which could also kill that geometry. In the second shot, you end up blowing out the highlights and losing detail on the ground, but also losing all detail in the shadows around the trees. You need to make a decision in those cases and it will often come down to which exposure will give you the more interesting patterns or geometry. It is also sometimes a question of finding a better angle that will give you more interesting patterns.

For example, this was taken in a very high-contrast situation as well. I knew my exposure would make the top part of the wall very dark and I would lose all detail in the shadows, but I didn't care. The whole point was the pattern that was made by the shadows, and making them darker with no detail would just make that pattern even stronger, so I exposed for the highlights and let the shadows go dark.

Chairv2 by limrodrigues, on Flickr

And in this one, I figured I'd be blowing out the highlights in that oval window and at the bottom of the stairs, so I'm losing most of the detail you might have seen of water or the texture of the floor, but I knew I wanted enough detail in the shadows to be able to focus on the lines of the walls, cut by the diagonals of the railings.

Day 203 - Stairs by limrodrigues, on Flickr

That's what I mean about having to make a decision about what you want from a high-contrast situation. Some films don't force the issue too much - HP5 is a fairly tolerant film. But a good picture isn't always about capturing every detail. Someone mentioned the mood of the shot - black and white can be excellent at creating a mood. But it also needs more of a vision *before* you take the shot so you can make those exposure decisions.
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