What makes these photos so good?


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Nov 11, 2018
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I found some old slide photographs my father took back in the late 1970s to early 1980s. I love the rich color in them and I am trying to figure out why they look so good. He used Kodachrome slide film, I believe, so that is part of why the color is so good. Is there something else? Did he perhaps use filters? Or was Kodachrome just that good when it comes to rich colors?View attachment 165769 View attachment 165770 View attachment 165771
Kodachrome, both 25 and 64 were a bit warm; the idea was to capture good skin tones. Ektachrome had a decidedly blue cast, and it usually took a 5600K flash to correct the skin tones. No one really likes cool skin looks. I've boatloads of both Kodachrome and Ektachrome, and people seeing my slides always commented that the skin tones were so good using K25.

I used both quite a lot, but settled more for K25 since it wasn't quite as warm as K64. You'd have to be careful, though. K64 could cause skin tones to really go ruddy if a person had a decent skin tan.

Kodachrome wasn't the only film, though, that had warm skin tones. I used Kodak Vericolor for a number of years, and it was a bit warm. Brides like the warmth, without the chalkiness you sometimes got when light sources weren't consistent.
I have about 300 old slides from the 60s that I will be photographing, as some were taken by me when my father tried to teach me and others that he took when I was a baby growing up in Australia so memories for me to keep.
There's a lot of old government photos on Kodachrome from WW2 online. Most are done 4X5.

A high percentage of my personal color photos from the 1980's were shot on either Kodachrome 64, or Kodachrome 64 Professional, or Ektachrome 100, or Ektachrome 100 Professional. All good color slide films. I liked the look of the 64-speed Kodachromes. The "professional" film stocks were released AT their point of perfect color perfection, and were designed to be refrigerated, then shot, then processed. The amateur films often were shipped "green", and had a slightly-changed color rendering after around 13 months, as I recall reading in Modern Photography magazine. The idea was that, on "amateur" color slide film, that the best color rendering would come after just over a year from the date of manufacturing. I think that, despite the minor differences between "green", "maturing", and "optimal" color on amateur-oriented color slide film, that Kodachrome II, or K-25, or K-64, have always been very amazing films; not color-accurate, but color-amazing!

Kodachrome has amazing dark-storage life. Kodachromes that have been kept in dark storage look AWESOME, even 50 years or more after they were shot and processed. I have hundreds and hundreds of my grandfather's early 1950's to mid-1970's Kodachromes. Amazing colors!
I buy a lot of slides and 8mm/16mm movies from estates for resale. I always prefer to buy Kodachromes because they are the best at keeping their colors over time. I have bought them from as far back as the early 1940s and the colors are still beautiful and vibrant. The same goes for Kodachrome movies. I've never noticed any appreciable color shift in any Kodachrome image no matter the age. Most other color films show at least some color shifts and some go completely red after a few decades.

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