Tips for photographing tattoo with B&W films

Discussion in 'Fashion/Glamour/Figure' started by darkosaric, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    Never done tattoo photographing before, and soon I am planning to do it. Since I use only B&W it is hard to find some discussion in that direction - so I am open for some tips and tricks :smile:

    Planing to use micro nikkor 55mm/3.5 lens for micro shots, and 105/2.5 nikkor, 50mm/f nikkor and 50mm summicron-M for normal shots; outdoors or next to windows (I don´t use flash).

    Film: probably HP5 plus in HC110 or TriX and Fomapan 400 in Rodinal (but I am open for other suggestions). Paper: Fotokemika emaks grade 2 fiber based paper in ilford multigrade or in Moersch eco developer.

    thanks,
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I've never done tattoographs but have thought about it also. Meter carefully, and consider using an incident light meter. Also, I wouldn't restrict muself to B&W for tats... there are too many interesting examples where color is a major feature.
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Think about colors. For example, if you want to accentuate something that is green, you can make that color brighter by using a green filter, or darker by using an orange or red filter. The red color would look different this way too, by becoming darker with the green filter and brighter with the red, so there's a lot to think about. You can use blue, yellow, orange, red, and green filters for almost entirely different looks with the same tattoo.
    This can be used to create or subdue contrast in your negative, based on what the colors of the tattoo itself is, as well as the subject's skin tone.

    That has a far bigger impact on your results than your film choice. In combination with color filters you can also illuminate the subject in different colors for similar effect.

    Of course, by altering exposure and film development time you change the negative contrast.
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    Red or Orange filters will also lighten skin.. assuming it is caucasian skin. Most tatoo work is done to have contrast with skin, dark outlines in blue. A red filter will definitely make it more distinct. Any red color in the tatoo will be lightened, which probably will be a good thing in most cases. The problem would be if there is yellow ink and red ink or orange ink together, then the red filter would cause them to look the same.
     
  5. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    I can't wait till the tattooing insanity ends, and the pretty girls will quit destroying themselves. What a horrible fad.
     
  6. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    That would be a lot like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Controlling the direction and character of the lighting will be critical.

    And you will need to decide whether you are interested in either emphasizing or de-emphasizing skin textures as well.

    You may want to experiment with a polarizing filter and, if you have the equipment, a polarized light source.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Good to hear from you Cheryl.
     
  9. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Also highly depends on skin tone.

    If you're shooting a pale person, versus a tan Caucasian vs a light skinned black skin, or dark skin black person. If the later two, I suggest PanF+ in Rodinal exposed at box and pushed one or Two stops.

    If the tan Caucasian shoot expose and develop at box and normal, and pale, I can't say for sure but I would expose normal and bracket,under one and develop normal.

    I would use PanF+ and Rodinal for everything skin, it is so nice looking...

    I'm having trouble uploading right now, but the reason for the push is on dark skin it pushes the mid tones (which are the only highlights) and retains the darker tattoo ink,

    Just my opinion I could be wrong

    [​IMG]
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1365835037.046361.jpg


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    This is all assuming your using soft lights...


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Ain't NOBODY with a tattoo going to coerce me into wasting a single grain of silver of MY film on you. Unless you're a sailor in the navy and have the sailor's hat and can of spinach to prove it. Then I'll take the finest picture of your boat anchor you ever saw. I refuse to use my photography to contribute to delinquency and trashy taste. Tattoo "artists" should be jailed for 200 years for defacing a female. Or beaten. Beaten would be better--saves the taxpayers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2013
  12. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Thank you all for a nice tips :smile:. Models will be pale German caucasians :smile:. I did not think about importance of filters - very nice tip, I always think about sky and clouds when thinking about red, orange or yellow filter :smile:.
     
  13. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    IR film might be interesting.
     
  14. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Why do you say red filter? Wouldn't that cause more contrast? These look less contrasty... Or am I confused, I've. Never shot people with any filters only landscapes.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Red (and other coloured filters used with black and white film) don't really affect contrast, they affect colours.

    Speaking in terms of the final, positive print, if you pick the right coloured filter, it will help you differentiate parts of your subject, by emphasizing (lightening) one colour and de-emphasizing (darkening) others.

    A red filter will lighten reds and darken blues and greens. So it will lighten dark brown skin and darken blue and green tatoo ink.

    In the example posted, most likely the tatoos have substantial amounts of blue and green in them, and the athletes photographed have dark skin.

    And the lighting is really good.

    You are probably thinking of using a red filter to darken (blue) skies. By doing that you aren't really increasing the contrast. All you are doing is helping differentiate the sky from the rest of the scene.

    There might be a small affect on the contrast due to the fact that the filter will reduce the affect of haze, but that affect isn't particularly intense.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I mean in terms of contrast with clouds and sea waves

    I now understand what you mean I just never thought of it that way, or rather, I know ORIGINALLY that that was the case but as I used the red and yellow filters I have, I simply thought of them as "slight contrast" and "more contrast" haha


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    They are called contrast filters, and people generally think of them that way. Esp when just shooting landscape since most of the colors tend to be the same. The sky is usually blue, trees are usually green etc. I work in the graphic arts field, and had the importance of color filters impressed on me in the days when we did color separations for CMYK press work. A red filter passes red wavelengths, but at the same time blocks green and blue. Therefore, it will give MORE exposure to red objects and less exposure to green and blue objects. Thats why a deep red filter darkens the sky in landscape photography. It does not allow as much blue light to pass, making anything that is blue appear darker.

    If you look up any list online or in a book, it will typically tell you what the uses for a filter are. Red is always listed as darkening skys in landscape. Going by what wavelengths we know a filter blocks and transmits, we can make use of filters in other ways. Caucasian skin has a reddish tone, so red, and orange filters will help lighten skin tones varying degrees depending which filter you choose (and subsequently which wavelengths of light you decide to block).
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Cool thanks, nice to get a refresh.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    Not traditional tattoo photography, but I've been playing with these - more abstract than portraiture:
    Adam_2.jpg
    Adam_1.jpg
    Adam_5.jpg
     
  21. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I was thinking about similar stuff as well - I will bring my micro nikkor with me when I will be making those tattoo photos :smile: