Film Candid Portraits

A couple weeks ago I posted a teaser of the film images I had developed. But because my DIY setup to “scan” the negs wasn’t really consistent, I had several frames that weren’t in focus. So I went back and redid them, and got better results this time. I now feel better about sharing them.

woman film portrait
Zombie Photography

One thing I noticed after my first scan attempt was many of the images were a bit flat – lots of gray midtones, very little black or white – which surprised me because I shot in strong daylight for most of this roll and I was expecting strong contrasts. That’s the other reason why I wanted to redo the “scan” of the negatives – to make sure it wasn’t that particular step. Eliminate the possibilities.

man film portrait
Zombie Photography

I’m now fairly sure that it’s either the film itself or the developer or the combination of – I read that Arista doesn’t do great with HC-110.  But no matter, with a little TLC and some massaging, that issue isn’t as bad. I feel no shame in doing so – in the darkroom days, we’d do the same thing to our prints. Burn, dodge, push the developer, etc.

woman film portrait
Zombie Photography
woman film portrait
Zombie Photography
woman film portrait
Zombie Photography

In several frames, my subjects were bullseye – smack in middle. Part of that is because the Canon AE-1 has a prism focus, which I love because it makes manual focusing so easy, and I sometimes would forget to move the camera to the side after focusing.

man film portrait
Zombie Photography

Dust!

woman film portrait
Zombie Photography
man film portrait
Zombie Photography
woman film portrait
Zombie Photography
man film portrait
Zombie Photography

It’s definitely a challenge to consciously remember all the techniques and tricks when you can’t see your results  instantly. There’s no peeking at your preview and going, “Ah, I need to recompose for this to be better!” “Oh shit, the light here is bad!” Without that crutch, you have to think and plan ahead and visualize it in your head how it will look.

Sometimes I succeeded at that, and sometimes (more often if I’m being honest, heh) I failed. But that’s okay – in my book, failures are more valuable than successes because I can learn from these mistakes and grow.

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