Event photography with LF

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mats_A, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    In my hometown there is a summer festival that includes an "Old Times Market". You are supposed to only sell stuff that belongs in "the old days" (40-50 years +) and be dressed appropiatly. It is very popular and thousands of people visit it.
    What about event photography on such an occassion. A wooden field camera, hood, "look at the birdie", sepia prints to show, dressed like an old-timer. The whole enchilada. You could take portraits against a back-drop, change negatives in a tent and save them in a dark cooler. Afterwards you develope, print and maybe sepia tone them. And post them to the happy owners.
    I was thinking 20€/each + 5 for toning. Would not make any money but could be fun.
    Has anyone tried anything like this? Any experiences? Stupid idea?

    r

    Mats
     
  2. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Its a very good idea in my opinion!

    Cheers Armin
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Gear up for it and make ready for work. Sounds like you might have some fun and get paid to do it, not to mention putting some experience under your cap.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Great idea.

    How about "Polaroid" 4x5s?
     
  5. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    What I'm wondering is wheter you would get any customers? Or just stand there the whole day while everybody is taking pictures of you and your antique equipment with their shiny new digitals. And then it starts raining......

    r

    Mats
     
  6. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    I am reposting this from another forum as I hope to get some more feedback and/or info on this. Has anyone tried it?

    -----------------
    Repost:

    In my hometown there is a summer festival that includes an "Old Times Market". You are supposed to only sell stuff that belongs in "the old days" (40-50 years +) and be dressed appropriately. It is very popular and thousands of people visit it.
    What about event photography on such an occassion. A wooden field camera, hood, "look at the birdie", sepia prints to show, dressed like an old-timer. The whole enchilada. You could take portraits against a back-drop, change negatives in a tent and save them in a dark cooler. Afterwards you develope, print and maybe sepia tone them. And post them to the happy owners.
    I was thinking 20€/each + 5 for toning. Would not make any money but could be fun.
    Has anyone tried anything like this? Any experiences? Stupid idea?

    r

    Mats
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2010
  7. Peter de Groot

    Peter de Groot Member

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    I think it is a wonderful idea. Perhaps you can do it with somebody that does the darkroom bit while the customers are doing their shopping. I think you can do within an hour developing negative and a contct print. If you test it before hand you can decide wht the epxosure times would etc. Would it be 8x10?
    I know of a photographer that does something like that as well. All dressed up and using an old view camera. Let us know how it went afterwards.
     
  8. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    Hmm.. an 8x10 would of course be simpler as you can sell contact prints. I was thinking 4x5 and enlarging and posting the prints. But a 1 hour Old Time photo boot would be very hard on logistics. IF you get many customers you have to have a setup running to and from the darkroom. And I was thinking of FB papers so there is the matter of drying.

    The funny thing is I don't even own an LF camera yet. What would be a good set for this? Must look right but also function. What lense size?
    So much I don't know.

    r

    Mats
     
  9. Peter de Groot

    Peter de Groot Member

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    Logistics would be hard. But I do think that contact printing on 8x10 would be quickest. With a jobo processor you would be able to devolop the negatives. Then contact print and develop. The drying you can do with a press so you can get a glossy finish. I would give it a dry run first so you can finetune the process. Also you if it gets really busy you can stop an hour before closing time to get everything done.

    Anyway if you do 4x5 you would need a 4x5 enlarger as well. I can't recommend a wooden field camera but there are lots of people who can. Good luck with your choices.
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    great idea but, I think you could & should charge more.
     
  11. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't bother with either an 8x10, or FB paper. Just to cumbersome for the event.

    This is a one time occasion for all those people visiting the festival. People will be thrilled even if you come up with "just" a wooden 4x5. They have never seen it, and will accept the smaller format readily (as they don't know anything else anyway).

    And they will likely be just as happy getting a simple and easy to make small 4x5 RC contact print (possibly sepia toned, that is easy to do), than they will a FB enlargement on 8x10 paper or whatever you envisioned.

    And likely still easily pay you the full 25,- bucks IF you manage to deliver it the same day by having an improvised darkroom on site!!

    Nothing beats "instant satisfaction"... look at the "d******l" thing!

    Other even simpler option would be to use 4x5 Fuji instant film, for even more "instant satisfaction"...

    Marco
     
  12. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    I don't think I have ever seen a Fuji instant B&W film. How do they look? Is the result "good enough", presuming I am "good enough". It would be very fast and convenient. Need to investigate this a bit more. Does any LF camera accept an instant film back?

    r

    Mats
     
  13. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Personally, I find the picture quality of Fuji instant film higher than from Polaroid. Especially in terms of the ease with which to get an even development / pull. I always had some streaks or specks on Polaroid. Much less so with Fuji instant film.

    There is one thing to be aware of though with instant film (it doesn't matter whether it is Polaroid or Fuji): they are much more fragile than an RC print, especially so when still wet just after development and opening the package. They easily attract dust or are scratched.

    You should at least give the photos some time to dry properly, and have some good rugged envelope with you to give them to the festival visitors.

    You might even consider sealing them in plastic after drying. Haven't done that ever, but it might be an idea...

    To use Fuji 4x5 instant film in a 4x5 view- or technical camera you need the "Fuji PA-45 instant holder". Both this holder, and the film, can be bought straight from Japan at Japan Exposures, but there are also shops in other countries that sell it (here in the Netherlands, I can get 4x5 Fuji instant color film and one BW variant, but not all the other types available on Japan Exposures):

    http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/

    PA-45 Holder:

    http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=192

    Film you could use:

    http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=78
    http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=77

    Note there is also a value pack of 20x10 sheets for some film types, might be an option in your case of the festival...

    Be careful when choosing the film type! The true 4x5 films of Fuji have "45" in the film type name. So "FP-50045B" is truly 4x5, while "FP-400B" is the slightly smaller format with an image size of 85x108 mm (about 3.5x4 inch).

    The smaller format also needs another holder!!

    Marco
     
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  15. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Most do, my Tachihara readily accepts the Fuji PA-45 holder, even though it is considerably thicker than a normal film holder. If in doubt, ask about your specific camera here on APUG.
     
  16. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    Interesting site. They had film up to 3200 ASA. Is that normal speed for instant film? Or can you use 100 ASA in daylight like "normal" film?

    r

    Mats
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    It's a pity that Polaroid positive/negative film Type 55 isn't made any more as you could have shown (or even better, sold) the customer the 4x5 print and if they wanted it, you could make an enlargement from the negative.


    Steve.
     
  18. AmsterdamMartin

    AmsterdamMartin Member

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    I saw a guy in Kenya 10 years ago, using a homemade 8x10 and photopaper as film. Underneath the camera he did a quick develop and fix in a wooden "dark box". He then got the "negative" photopaper sandwiched with a new photopaper, and held it in broad daylight while counting out loud. After that the sandwich returned to the box and some minutes later he presented a photograph. Quite nice !
    Of course for permanence it should be washed adequately, and I think you can't give an unwashed picture to people in the streets, according to todays health standards.
    And maybe you should be careful taking these chemicals to places where a lot of people and especially children are.

    But the idea is great !
    In your case I would mail the photo later, and I hope you need all your extra time in the field to reload your cassettes in a changing bag.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2010
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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  20. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    This is the problem in a nutshell. Will people wait for a few days to get a "proper" picture? Could be printed on FB, maybe sepia toned. Or will they only bite if they can get the instant gratification of instant film?
    Of course, you could have 2 backs and sell both.
    Hmmm... maybe I need to start looking for a nice 4x5.

    r

    Mats
     
  21. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Have two guys running the show: One guy behind the camera and the other in the darkroom.
    Shoot in 4x5 and make contact prints. Make sure your name and contact information is on the back. Be sure to keep records so that all negatives can be matched with a name and address/phone number.

    Charge €20 for the 4x5. Put them in little paper folders with a flier tucked inside which contains a price list for enlargements.
    If the customer orders an enlargement on the spot, offer a discount on the sitting fee.

    Many years ago, I did a similar thing during an event at the museum where my wife works.
    Unfortunately, I only have a 35mm camera so everything was done on roll film.

    Customers paid $5.00 for a sitting. My wife took the customer's name, address and phone number and wrote them in a notebook. Each sitter was also assigned an ID number. (Roll#1-Exp#1, etc. etc.) The ID number was also written in the notebook. This number was used to keep names and faces in sync. The film was developed and prints were made then sent to the customer. (We did not make prints on the spot because it was 35mm film.) In the envelope with their prints, the customers received a little slip of paper telling them who to call if they wanted more prints or enlargements. (In our case, all profits from the sale of prints were donated back to the museum.)

    This event was for the City Centennial celebration so we shot black and white film and had it processed for archival stability. Then the film, one set of prints and the original notes were sealed in our city's Centennial Time Capsule.

    This brings me to one final point. You can tell your customers that their photos are being taken on real film and that, if they take care of that print it will be around for their children and grandchildren to see. No so with digital images!

    Yes, I know that digital images can potentially last for a very long time. Technology is getting better and better all the time. However, that technology is untested from an archival longevity point of view. We know, from experience, how long film photos can last if they are taken care of. Digital images COULD last 100 years or more but, since digital imagery has only been commercially available for less than 20 years, we have no experience in keeping them for the long term.

    So, given that you're having an "Old Time" event, those photos you take will really be "old time" in 20 or even 50 years when people's children and grandchildren look at them in the future.

    Use that as a selling point:
    1) To attract customers to your event, overall.
    2) To attract customers to your business, specifically.
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Polaroid was around 40-50 years ago, so why not use some Fuji b/w 4x5 film?

    You need Fuji's dedicated holder to use the film, however, and they are expensive.

    Alternately, you can pick up a Polaroid 405 back for cheap, and use 3x4 instant prints in the view camera. You'd make a greater profit this way too.

    It is such a tragedy that Type 665 is kaput! It would be perfect! It was the 3x4 pack version of Type 55. You could give them an instant 3x4 proof, and would have the option of charging them for reprints and/or blowups from the negative (which you would, of course, keep)!

    You could test with Fujiroid, sell it to them, and if they want more prints or enlarged prints, shoot another one on film.
     
  23. theseasideartist

    theseasideartist Member

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    sounds like fun- can you do a small test market at a smaller event on the weekend-?

    I would try to get the money up front -
    bring someone to help you-if nothing else to watch your equipment so you can take a bathroom break-

    I have seen a guy do this at civil war reenactments-

    he had a wagon/darkroom set up - to process on site
    another time he had set up a civil war era tent-

    I don't know if he made any money at it-

    and yes- I photographed him doing this-I shot film and toned them-to sepia-

    it was probably 10 years ago-

    D
     
  24. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Mats,

    I am pretty sure that whatever you will offer, they will bite for that 20-25 euro price. Instant gratification using instant film will probably give you a few more customers, and provided you can deliver it to them in a way they can properly take it home (the envelopes), it should be OK. Maybe you could even have a set of mini-mats the size of common small photo frames, and mat them directly.

    But I really think you shouldn't bother with FB paper. Again, way to cumbersome for the event, and people won't even expect it! They expect a glossy RC print, much like they used to get when they still had all their analog photos printed before making those new online albums...

    If you go the FB enlarged prints route, only do it because you like to print FB yourself and want to keep some of the prints for yourself, not for the customer... It is a boatload of unnecessary work otherwise, I think you may not even know how much...

    About the instant film. The 3200 ISO is not a normal one, it is just something Fuji offers. Probably not necessary in a summer time situation, so yes, you could easily go with 100 ISO too, which is actually the only speed I can get here in the Netherlands.
     
  25. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    Marco:
    If I don't go for instant film then the prints would be delivered by mail after the event. A setup with a mobile darkroom or one guy running to and fro would be too hectic for me. I would constantly worry that the other guy (in the darkroom or at the site) was messing up the pictures.

    IF I try this out. A big if since I don't even own a LF camera yet, it would most likely be such that they can choose a cheaper instant b&w copy OR wait a few days and get a proper RC/FB print (sepia optional) in the mail. All prepaid of course.

    This forum is amazing! I have gotten so many good tips just on this thread it's embarrassing.

    r

    Mats
     
  26. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Mats, I think the option of having both instant film and normal film holders and sending RC/FB pictures after the event, is a perfectly reasonable option.

    Go for it!

    In case of an enlargement send later though, I would charge a different (higher) price than for instant. (Maybe 15 instant, 25 RC, or 20 instant, 30 RC?). Tell them its handwork, so they understand the price...