Problem print - help please

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by Akki14, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm having problems liking this photograph and I don't know why. I can't retake it because the baby in the picture is now about 5 or 6 years old (it's my niece/niece-in-law - I'm a bad auntie for not remembering exactly how old she is now :rolleyes: )
    So I have a scan of a print i did of this image about 5 years ago. I probably wasn't so good at printing then. However I do like the lighter baby head in the older print because then you don't get the icky baby rash showing up on her head.
    So basically what I did for this recent print is print a grade darker (grade 3 on ilford multigrade VC RC) and burn in that top left corner because I thought it was too distractingly bright (and I'm kind of surprised there's that much information in the film from the burning in too, I thought that was what's known as a blown highlight).
    I keep flipping between them and trying to decide if I like the darker print I did today or not.

    PS yes I know there's a white dot on the arm i don't know what it is, I'm just going to use my spotone to carefully spot it out. I'm more concentrating on the printing bit at the moment.
     

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  2. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    You could try completely removing the distracting highlight in the top corner by using a snoot on the end of a pen torch. This would allow you to play the torchlight on this area to take it completely black.
    The lighter version seems better to me, but have you tried to print it a little lighter but use a G2 or 2.5? But ensure you keep a full black somewhere.
    Regards,
    John.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I prefer the darker version, and the rash doesn't bother me (but then again, I don't have the rash.

    If you wanted to keep the baby light, you print it lighter and go up half a grade to keep the blacks where they are.

    I'm not a big fan of diffusion under the enlarging lens, but if the rash really bothers you (not that I'm implying that you have the rash), you could try a slight amount of diffusion to smooth that out.

    About that top corner, you could also crop it out. I think it would look good with a tighter crop, maybe as a square, as long as the image can tolerate it at whatever enlargement factor you have planned.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's a suggestion you would only find on Apug. It may work pretty well with this negative, so if you are up for a bit of an adventure, read on.

    Print a full sheet striped by 1/2 stop increment test exposure using your Grade 5 filter, and a piece of opaque mat board. Never mind the lack of highlights, just find the exposure that puts your blackest blacks where you want them..

    Expose a full sheet at that exposure. Then without moving the paper make another striped test print using your 00. Somewhere in this print the baby will be perfect.

    Make a print, exposing the paper with the exposures you have determined using both filter grades.
    (you will be exposing the paper twice, once with the 5 and once with the 00). Burn in the corner when you print the soft exposure. Dry it down, check it out, and alter future exposures to taste.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2007
  5. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I love APUG, one reply says they like the lighter one, the other the dark and the third says something I don't understand :confused: :wink:

    I was considering cropping or *gasp* vignetting (black) (oh no! babies and vignetting! I'll be doing Sears portrait studio photography next!) but then someone's hand is in the left bottom corner which makes cropping a little difficult without having a strange, mysterious finger in shot :rolleyes: I might play with cropping a bit more before I go the coward's route of vignetting. I think the babyheadrash is more visible in the actual print but I guess that's probably something parents would go Aw cute at (and the kid would go EW!).
    I might try fresher developer too, I think my working solution might be finally going off after umpteen prints and a few sheet films :tongue:

    Thanks for the ideas. Back to the darkroom...
     
  6. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Lots of good suggestions already. I think you do need crop out most of the area above the head. About 3/4ths of that area cropped out makes for a much stonger composition IMHO.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Why not crop the left side, removing both the hand and the white light. That would improve the composition and make printing easier. :wink:

    Steve
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the composition, the coochie coochie hand says allot. I think it would be a shame to crop it.

    Nothing wrong with a good vignette. It is B&W after all, I don't think it will scream portrait mill.
     
  9. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    New crop, took longer to wait for it to dry than to make it. Fresh chemicals, just raised the enlarger head a bit and got husband to give opinion and shifted it around until it was more "rule of thirds" and all. And still kept the hand.
     

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  10. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    Well done !
    I think we all assumed, probably wrongly, that you were using fresh materials.
    Keep at it.
    Regards,
    John.
     
  11. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    Don't bother.
     
  12. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    ?????????????????????????????????????????

    Would you like to elaborate on this comment?

    John.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2007
  13. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    Good job, I like it and my first thought was crop. I'm never opposed to cropping if you can.
     
  14. jgcull

    jgcull Subscriber

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    As far as the rash, what do you think about using a different paper? I have some Ilford warm-tone fiber and it makes any skin I've ever printed on it look really smooth and beautiful.
     
  15. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Bit a moot point at this stage, I already printed it, got it framed and gave it to the intended recipient who seemed quite impressed by it and didn't recognise her own baby :D