A few weeks ago I launched a new “ask anything” series and I began to answer an awesome question from Annika! I am so excited to be finishing up the answer of the question that was asked! Annika wrote: “I love the look of your pictures and have been wondering how you get that lovely soft look. Is it just with your camera settings or do you edit the pictures in photoshop or lightroom? And if yes, how do you edit them or what are your favorite camera settings for the shootings? Oh, and do you usually use a reflector to light up the faces? Can’t wait to read your next posts! ” I started to answer this question by diving in to camera settings. You can read that blog post here, in case you missed it.
Today I want to talk a bit about post processing as well as what mediums I choose to shoot in; as they play hand in hand. If you haven’t been reading for very long, then you may not know, but I recently began the journey of shooting film. I shoot this medium of imagery mostly for personal, but try to incorporate a few rolls at weddings or sessions (especially during Marriage Celebration Sessions). There are three main reasons I love film. The colors it produces, the way it handles light, and how it has, and always will, force me to become a better artist. Film produces amazing, creamy skin tones. And I just love the greens that come from shooting film! And oh boy, is it SO much better to shoot film in harsh light than with digital. Harsh light is still harsh light, but film just handles it so much better. (I will post an example below!) There’s no checking the back of the camera involved when shooting film. And when shooting a roll of medium format, each time I click the shutter costs me around 2.00; so there’s really no room for error.
Because I love the look and feel of film so much, I made the decision to edit my images to come as close as possible at matching film. I started with Replichrome, but personally felt as though I was missing something. I decided to invest in Mastin Labs and I’ve never looked back! Mastin Labs come SO close to matching film. It’s quite incredible.
I shoot in both Medium Format film and 35mm film. I feel like I could create a whole blog post about film, but I’m not sure if I’ve quite mastered the art of shooting with film to start educating on it 😉 But I will say, I shoot with a Pentax 645 for medium format and a Nikon N80 for 35mm. A Nikon N80 will cost you less than 100.00 and you’re able to use your lenses with it!! It’s truly an awesome way to get started with film and not break the bank!
I personally LOVE shooting with Portra 800 as my film stock. Another great choice is Fuji 400h! (again, I will post a couple examples below!)
So to answer Annika’s question: it is a combination of the way I shoot manually, AND edit; always trying to emulate film. And as for reflectors: it totally depends on the light situation!! If possible I try to find natural reflectors to light up faces when back lighting! (Think light cement, a sandy beach, etc.) If the lighting is poor and a reflector is needed, I always have one in my car, just in case!
Nikon N80 | Fuji 400h | Sunset, in shade