No, I’m not giving up on digital photography, the title is just referring to this particular shoot, where I did indeed go fully analog…kind of. My newly acquired light meter (I’ll have to do a post on that for the camera bag section) is digital and I don’t know if my radio triggers would count as analog either. However, no digital camera was used. It was an intentional decision to get a different experience than normal.
So that was one of the reasons for this shoot. The other reason was to try my new (old) 150mm lens (have to do a post on that as well) for my Hasselblad. Funny story about that one: I bought it on ebay from Russia and when it arrived it had a label from a Swedish photo studio on the lens cap. These old cameras and lenses certainly get around.
What do you do when you’re shooting portraits with flash, as opposed to continues lights, if you don’t have a nifty screen at the back of the camera where you can check your exposure and how the light falls? Well, to start with I used my light meter to check the exposure, which, by the way, I nailed on my first guess – I know, I’m awesome. Then I put a polaroid back (also something I have to add to the camera bag section), loaded with some lovely Fujifilm FP-100C on my Hasselblad. What you see above here is a shot of a polaroid frame, taken with my digital camera. I will scan these polaroids once I get my own scanner but for now they’re adorning our fridge.
One exposure test, one polaroid to check the light and I was ready to go. So I loaded both some Kodak Portra 400 (colour) and Kodak T-Max 100 (black and white) in different backs. I usually don’t shoot a lot and I’m even more conservative when it comes to film. I did two frames in colour and 3 in black and white. Surprisingly, all but one was in decent focus and useable.
I’ve mentioned before that I almost always prefer colour and that holds true for film as well. However, for my studio photos when I light everything with flash I’ve noticed that I’m never quite happy with the colours I get from the film. Some of that is probably from the fact that the film is balanced for daylight and some of it probably has to do with the settings used when scanning. It will be interesting to see if I can get better results when I’ve saved up for my own scanner (will still be a while). For now, I’ll keep shooting mostly black and white when doing studio stuff.
The light, I knew we were forgetting about something. I kept the light simple: two LP160s in an octabox to camera left, as close to the camera as it could get. On the floor in front of the subject is a white reflector for some passive fill. Not the most inspired light but it works. The background is a piece of white foam core and it’s just lit with whatever stray light reaches it from the flash.
As you can see from the photo above, my subject wasn’t completely focused at all times. I still think these turned out pretty decent though, especially the top one. It’s nice to have a lens that produces really flattering portraits, though I generally don’t have any trouble with shooting portraits with a wider lens either. It was also an interesting experience to do everything the old-school way and I’ll definitely do that again in the future as well.
I had three rolls developed this time, so I’ll probably have at least one more post about some of the photos there. Don’t worry though, I’m sure I’ll have some more digital stuff eventually as well, especially once the weather gets better so I can get back to some more environmental portraits again.