Favorite Portrait Recipes: Camera/Film/Dev Etc,

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by John Bragg, May 30, 2008.

  1. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

    Messages:
    634
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Penwithick,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    What is your ideal recipe for a portrait ? Choose your camera, lighting, film stock, development and any other variable in the equation... I like "simple" and tend to use Leica M6 and available light with 400 iso film (Tri-X or Neopan) @ Ei 200 in HC-110 1:63 or Rodinal 1:50. My brain is hard wired for black and white and this combination does it for me. How about you ???

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,134
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I shot portraits commercially back in the early 70's I always used FP4 in ID-11, using natural light and a Pentax Spotmatic F or Mamiya C33. The ID-11 was replenished which gives results more like using it at 1+2 or 1+3. In low light I used HP5 but only if I really needed to.

    Shooting rock bands, on the odd occasion where I shoot film I generally use Tmax100, sometimes 400 and process in Xtol, again replenished, although more recently I've started processing nearly all my films in Pyrocat HD.

    Ian
     
  3. Michael W

    Michael W Member

    Messages:
    1,443
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This week my favourite combination was

    Penatx 67
    Tri-X 400
    skylight & open shade
    Xtol 1:2
    Leitz IIC
    vintage Oriental warm tone grade 2
    Dektol
     
  4. Kvistgaard

    Kvistgaard Member

    Messages:
    283
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Svendborg, D
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Camera: The best I can afford :smile:
    Lens: 85 mm (that's 85 mm on a 35 mm camera, not MF)
    Consumables: I've had great results with Tri-x rated at 320, developed in xtol.
    Natural light, preferably. Otherwise a single 500w flash unit with a 60x80 (i think it is) softbox
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What is your ideal recipe for a portrait ?

    It is usually an intuitive choice,
    made at the last moment. not impulsive,
    mind you, but having to do with how I feel about the subjects,
    the conditions, all that.

    My normal lunch is an apple and a bit of cheddar.
    I suppose the photo corollary would be a Nikon F & 85/1.8,
    APX 100 or TMY depending on the moment, or the light.
    Xtol/Rodinal/Edwal12, depending on the .... feel.

    It's ALWAYS an intuitive choice.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,555
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If we're not restricting this thread to 35mm, my favorite combination is Fomapan 200 (aka Arista.EDU Ultra 200), shot at 100, in 5x7 sheet film. Process in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100. I shoot an old Century Master studio camera with a 14" Seneca Whole Plate Portrait (aka Wollensak Vesta). Print in platinum/palladium.
     
  7. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In 35mm I've been practicing with an 85mm Jupiter-9 M42-mount lens (it's a Sonnar clone from the former Soviet Union), mounted to either a Bessaflex M42-mount camera, or more recently a k-mount ME Super with an adapter (the aperture-priority of the latter makes balancing fill flash, if required, a bit easier for me).

    I normally use Kodak BW400CN for this - I've found it holds detail very well - very hard to blow out highlights even if fairly close up with a flash. Also the B&W "creaminess" works quite well for many people, especially female subjects and children.

    Recently I acquired a Mamiya C330 with 80mm and 180mm lenses. Last weekend I was experimenting with performance portraits using the 180mm lens and XP2 (locally BW400CN in 120 isn't a big seller, I'm told, so it's not readily available). The film is out for processing - I'm very curious to see the results.

    Overall, I'm still in what I would consider an experimentation stage - I had a local part-time pro look at what I've done, and his main criticism was that often I don't get the subject's eyes perfectly in focus, which can be distracting in a portrait - while I prefer shallow DOF he suggested a minimum of f/8 is usually "safe". I've been trying to perfect that, I guess practice makes perfect :smile:

    Also I've acquired a whole lot of Tri-X in 35mm and 120, so I'm probably going to try more portraits using that, as well...
     
  8. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    85mm Jupiter-9 M42

    A lovely, lovely lens.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    80, 85, 90, 100, or 105 at F.4.0 in 35mm
    FP-4 @ EI of 64, souped in replenished D-23
    Open shade or bright natural room light
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,806
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kowa 66 with 150mm 3.5 lens, northern exposure natual light, Trix professional developed in Polydal, I still have 5 or 6 cans, printed on Salvich Warm tone paper developed in Zonal Pro Warmtone developer.

    Alternative would be Mamyia Uinveral with 150mm 5.6 lens. Same film and paper.
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Paul

    You use Edwal 12 AND Polydol ?

    I thought I was the last..... !

    Time for a PM
     
  12. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Any of my cameras (120, 4x5, 5x7, 8x10) and a lens which fits on it
    400TMax
    Harvey's 777

    I get glow in the dark skin tones, no matter what the subject's race or complexion.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,239
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    my current favorite is making really long
    exposures on paper negatives,
    using a 11x14 camera and a wollensak triple convertible
    souped in exhausted ansco 130 ( 1:2 )
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,265
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ilford Delta 3200 in Ilfotec DD-X full strength for 120.
    Fuji Neopan 1600 in Xtol 1+1 for 35mm.
    For 4x5 I've used Tri-X and loved it in Pyrocat-HD or Pyrocat-MC.

    I like grain, can you tell?

    - Thomas
     
  16. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hmm. No more secrets here.
     
  17. MarcoGiardini

    MarcoGiardini Subscriber

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Milano - Ita
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i do not have a recipe for shooting a portrait. It depends on me and on the subject i shoot.

    marco
     
  18. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There never were any secrets here. I have no secrets and harbor little respect for photographers who keep them. They are usually harbingers of cheap gimmicks.

    The only secret involved in my photography is the formula for Harvey's 777, which nobody seems to be able to dislodge from Bluegrass.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,190
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ever the rebel....

    Portra NC 160 in a Mamiya C330 with 135mm lens.

    High overcast sky and indirect lighting please. Maybe a reflector too.

    Matt
     
  20. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just a jest, observing the variety of recipes folks have.

    You and Paul were rolling down my little black book !
     
  21. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Just curious, what kind of a dev. tank do you use? I keep reading about 777, but it seems to be designed for a large tank with replenishment, which doesn't work for me.
     
  22. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

    Messages:
    511
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Bronica SQA medium format camera
    150mm Bronica PS lens
    My office/studio with afternoon north light, using the mirrored closet doors as sliding reflectors
    A $5.00 scrap of upholstry liner material as backdrop
    TRI-X exposed at E.I. 200
    XTOL 1:2
    [​IMG]
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,239
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    c6h6o3

    sometimes a secret is just knowing what you are doing,
    when others don't.

    unless it is a secret forumla ( like the metal in zildjian cymbals )
    if there is a patent number on the packaging
    you might be able to look up the formula .... :wink:

    john
     
  24. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Since I can't edit my original post, just wanted to add my experiments with flash - since none of my cameras support TTL-flash, I'm just using the cheapest flash I could find that supports tilt and swivel - an Adorama Ultiblitz (I don't think it's a rebranded brand-name - it's Vivitar 283-ish, but has a 2nd front-only facing smaller flash unit, which I rarely use, and just says "made in China" on it, which isn't terribly helpful).

    As it has a non-standard-size head, none of the pre-made diffuser caps fit properly. I experimented with one of the Lumiquest 45-degree velcro-attached bounce units, but as the flash has a fairly high guide number and with bouncing it never triggers the thyristor settings, it seems to completely overpower average-sized rooms, even when stopped down (the BW400CN seems to handle all the light with detail retained, it just...looks funny...hard to describe).

    Instead, I've been using a Lumiquest Mini-Softbox, which velcros to the front of the flash head. Now, with the flash head pointing forward at the subject, the thyristor function does kick in, and with the Mini-Softbox the light is softened as well. With 35mm, the flash is high enough that I can use it on-camera without much issue, but I frequently use a folding Stroboframe flip bracket so I can get the same flash orientation if I change the camera orientation.

    With this setup, and if I'm close enough to the subject, I end up with a higher-key portrait than I would otherwise, but it usually works pretty well, especially for females and children.

    I'd post an example, but as I mentioned earlier I'm not quite happy with my focussing results yet...


    And, yes, I do prefer natural light, but I find myself taking a lot of these informal shots inside when it's already dark outside, so if I want to do this at all I have to figure out how to do it with flash :smile:
     
  25. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,695
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    M/F Mamiya C330 F mostly with 135mm lens, or 180mm for tight head shots and either Fuji Pro 160S or 160C depending if it's a male or female portrait,For slides I use Fuji Astia or Provia, although I love Velvia for a lot of my outdoor landscape or street work I find it too strong in colour saturation for portraiture.
    35 MM 85mm 1.8 Canon FD ( I love this lens so much I recently bought a second one in case the existing one breaks down) I also use the the FD 100mm 2.8 and the FD70-150 4.5 zoom. My film choice is the same as for M/F.
     
  26. alex_cave

    alex_cave Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    New features and top of the line cameras are great and all but the best results have consistlently came from a Yashica A, with Kodak Tri-X developed in d76. Rodenal was rad, but it is no more. The Yashica has a 80mm lens, at f/3.5. I love the simplicity of it, shutter speeds of only 25, 50, 100, and 300. If you cant get a good photo with this camera, its clearly the user, nothing can be blammed on the camera.