Shooting square - how to print?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jmooney, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. jmooney

    jmooney Member

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    Hi All,

    I have a question for all the folks that shoot square: How do you print your photographs? Do you print square? Do you crop in the darkroom and print in a "traditional" ratio? I'm intrigued by the square format but confused about printing them.

    Take care,

    Jim
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    I shoot square and print square. No cropping, full frame.

    I shoot rectangular and print rectangular.
     
  3. Jadedoto

    Jadedoto Member

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    When I print my squares, I'll usually print square. There are exceptions though!

    I usually cut the paper to a square size that I want to print, and use the remaining paper for test strips.
     
  4. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    I generally print square, unless the image just demands cropping. I'm finding that I like the square and that the elements of a lot of images just rest more naturally in a square border.

    Joe
     
  5. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    An advantage of having several cameras with different aspect ratios, is that you can choose the dimensions you prefer for a given subject by using the particular camera that has them. (I have ended up that way....I certainly didn't get started like that.) So...when I shoot square (which is the majority of the time now), I print that way as well. In my case, the prints are 9.5" square on 11x14" paper. The only downside is that you can't get pre-cut square mats any more, so you have to cut your own or pay for custom ones.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I usually print square when I shoot square, but occasionally I crop. If you crop a rectangle from the top of the frame, it's like shooting a horizontal shot with front rise on a view camera, so there are some attractions to cropping with 6x6 over shooting 645.
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    I never crop, except when I need to.
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I crop as needed to tweak the composition, which may still result in a square print.
     
  9. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    I print/crop to either an 8x8 or 10x10 square.

    Regards, Art.
     
  10. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    The square format was popularized by the Rolleflex camera in the late 1920s - at that time, the expectation was that people would use it for news and editorial work and that pictures would be cropped to the "normal" 4:5 ratio or otherwise as necessary. Then came photographers like Bill Brandt who took an art approach, filled the frame and presented editors with pictures that could not be cropped and had to be used square. Any photographer today shooting pictures for him/herself is of course not bound by any rules, but printing will inevitably be governed by the photographer's intentions at the time of shooting and the way he/she "saw" the picture in the first place. As someone who grew up in England at a time when the influence of Bill Brandt was very strong, I often like to shoot with square prints in mind.

    Regards,

    David
     
  11. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I let the subject matter dictate the cropping whether it is square or a narrow rectangle. I move in the easel bands until the composition works best. The downside is that I have to cut my own mats for each print.
     
  12. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    The way I see it, every camera implies a set of constraints. Rather than cropping to fit a vision, I tend to just try to fit the constraints of my camera. If it's the rolleiflex I look for square compositions. If it's 4x5, more rectangular. If 35mm - longer rectangles. If I ever get a pano back or format camera I'll start thinking of and looking for panoramic compositions.

    Sometimes I do have a specific shot in mind that requires a specific aspect ratio but usually I find my "vision" can be adapted to the format. If not I'll shoot with a crop in mind - but I mean, my lens is a constraint, my film availability is a constraint, etc, so I usually work within them.

    Maybe that makes me a crappy photographer - maybe not? Dunno.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2007
  13. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I make exposures that encompass all the viewing area, plus some margin, that I need in the final print. I then crop to what I think works best for the print. I don't let a camera's internal framing size dictate the final dimensions of my prints. For example, today I took numerous exposures in the field with a 6x6 camera. My final prints, I can almost guarantee, will not be square. I cannot predict the dimensions of the final prints while shooting in the field. I would make that determination after evaluating several test prints.
     
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  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Brett Weston used a Rollei 66 but the final photographs are not square. See the Art Wright video and you will see what I mean. Did he use Agfa Pan 25 and crop to suit? Wouldn't that be a 645 negative size?

    Curt
     
  16. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    When I shoot square, I almost always print square.

    On the odd occassion (when using one of my 6x6 cameras) I'll crop a shot, but I'll have already decided on the "print" format before taking the shot.
     
  17. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    to crop or not to crop

    I print square and never crop any thing. If I can't get it 'in camera', then I discard the image. Walker Evans cropped a lot, as shown in a book I have on his work.
     
  18. Leon

    Leon Member

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    full frame, crop, square, rectangle - whatever it takes.
     
  19. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I TRY to work to the margins of my format, whatever it is. 99% of the time this means my final print is the same proportions as the negative. On the odd occasion, I will crop, especially if shooting in the studio and the format's negative space ends up being too much. When shooting larger LF sizes, though, I don't crop, and I compose to the very margins of the frame, because I can't crop in the printing stage- I contact print all my 5x7 and larger negatives. I think in the end it makes for better discipline because you have to work harder and think more carefully about what you're shooting BEFORE you trip the shutter.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    for years i didnt' crop.
    i printed full frame (less rebate lines)
    and i still do in many cases.
    but after printing a portfolio cropped ...
    some 35mm, some 6x6, some 4x5, some 5x7 ...
    i broke out of a the habit.

    break whatever rules you have made for yourself, that is why they are there.
     
  21. eddym

    eddym Member

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    For me, the great thing about the square format is that it leads to this conversation. It gives the photographer the option of composing, shooting, and printing a square photograph... or not. Personally, I usually make that decision at the moment of shooting. I usually "think" in terms of filling a square format when I shoot my Rolleis but if, for example, I am shooting a building, and by composing the shot with the building in the upper area of the negative and cropping the foreground, then I can eliminate converging vertical lines, as if I were using a view camera with a rising front. It's a very practical, flexible format.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    About 50% square, 50% rectangle.



    Steve.
     
  23. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I'm probably a bit weird. I set up to print 8x10 and if the negative is square, I centre it in the rectangle and leave the spacing inbetween the neg to form black edges. With the Ilford Sporti I use, it very slightly vignettes so it gives a sort of soft edge anyway. It doesn't look weird if you're using slightly thin negs or where there's lots of black in the shot anyway (interior church photos of a wedding for example).
     
  24. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    let the negative tell me what to print. I try to fill the frame in the filed, but sometimes when I see it on the baseboard it needs a crop.

    Mike
     
  25. Ria

    Ria Member

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    By the way, a square is a rectangle.
     
  26. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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    Pretty cool using an Ilford Sporti for weddings. If I had known that I would have you booked you for mine!