Would you enlarge and sell an image to 16x20 from a 35mm neg?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by hoffy, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Howdy,

    Out of the blue on the weekend, I got an enquiry about an image that I took a few years ago, which has been on my website for quite a while. Its an action shot from a classic rally and was shot on 35mm hp5+. The person wanted to know if they could get a 16x20 enlargement of the image.

    While it is an action shot and the grain most certainly adds to the charm, I am a bit apprehensive about enlarging it that big (I'm also apprehensive, as this is the first time anyone has shown any interest with on of my film images! How much do I charge, what if they are not happy, ect, ect).

    I'm curious. Would I be pushing the boundaries going to that size? I have it as an 8x10 and its OK, but as a 16x20, I'm not so sure. My preference is to sell it as an optical print, but at a pinch would go the dreaded hybrid work flow if needed.

    Any advice would be welcome.
     
  2. Michael W

    Michael W Member

    Messages:
    1,435
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could set the enlarger to the height for a 16x20 print & expose onto an 8x10 sheet under one of the important parts of the neg. That should give you a sense of how it would look as a large print. Make a decision based on that.
     
  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, I was actually thinking that would probably be a very good idea!

    I really want the person to say yes, simply because I have never done anything bigger then an 8x10 in the past. My biggest fear is that I will screw up 9 of the 10 sheets in a box just getting it right!
     
  4. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not plenty of photographers sell 16x20 pictures made from 35mm negative. Grain in an action shot usually adds something especially in rallye shots were a bit grittyness is to be expected.

    Good luck
    Dominik
     
  5. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

    Messages:
    699
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A friend recently wanted a 35mm low-key image of mine enlarged to 11x14. I started optically printing it but ended up scanning it at 2400 dpi and having it lab printed onto real photographic paper. When I got it back, I compared it to my last optical workprint. There wasn't much difference, and my workprint actually held more detail in the highlights.
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,891
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Give it a go... I've seen some excellent prints at that size made from 35mm. That said... you'll need the supporting infrastructure, easel, trays, large enough washer, drying rack, etc. Not sure if there are any labs near you, but I tend to get help from a local custom lab for bigger prints. 16x20's and 20x24's, though I could do the 16x20, I tend to make an 8x10 or 11x14 guide print, then have a professional printer make the bigger prints for me.
     
  7. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    983
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    If the subject is sharp, then you'll be fine. If you haven't printed that size before it might be fun, but if you don't consider yourself a good printer, just send it to a custom black and white lab.

    As for cost, I sell my 16x20's (which are really more like 12x20's if full frame 35mm) on fibrebase paper, matted and framed for $600. It's hard to ask money for a picture that isn't matted and mounted since they don't lie flat on their own.

    And yes, it might take the whole 10 sheets to make the good print. More likely six sheets, but then what do you do with the other four. LOL

    -Rob
     
  8. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I usually find that quoting anything like a realistic price to an internet inquiry makes this dilemma go away very quickly, but it is worth pursuing to find out.

    Well printed, a 16x20 can look quite good from 35mm, but as Suzanne mentioned, making them is a challenge. Enlarger alignment becomes very critical (especially negative stage to lens); film flatness; lens quality. I've had good results with the 50mm 2.8 El-Nikkor N (the illuminated f/stop model - the older ones weren't as good), but you also have to be careful not to stop down too far since diffraction loss takes a toll sooner at this magnification (to the lens, it is like shooting a closeup of the negative). A glass carrier is a big help (to me a necessity at that magnification).

    If you print yourself and have any interest in making big enlargements, it's a great chance to give it a go on someone else's dime. If farming it out, I'd want to know that the printer is good, but I suppose the few who are left probably are. A non-darkroom solution isn't open to discuss here, but might also be worth pursuing.

    Of course most picture buyers really aren't all that fussy about the minutiae that we photographers obsess about.
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have seen plenty of images printed larger than 16x20 from 35mm negatives. Recently, I was at a local museum and it was showing images from 70s. It was obviously from 35mm because some of the images showed film rebates. None of them were grainless images as should NOT be but wonderful images nevertheless. They were subject appropriate, mood appropriate, and image appropriate.

    If your buyer is used to plastic smooth images, he/she might have some objections. Recently, I've been finding out that technical quality of images are largely for photographers, not buyers. Why not make an 8x10 print of an important part of the print at the 16x20 magnification, NOT pointing out the grain-ness but send it to the buyer and see what the buyer says?
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I saw a Galen Rowell print that had to be 2 feet by 3 feet. It was made from a 35mm negative. I have to admit, it did not appeal to me but, the man made a decent living shooting 35mm and enlarging to sizes that most would consider "not doable form 35mm".

    I say try it and see...but if you are not comfortable with the result, do not show it to the potential customer. Only show work that you feel good about. Only show your best. I'd also try 11x14 as a possible compromise (it is also closer to full frame for 35mm).
     
  11. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey Chann
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    In the past I have printed and sold 16/20 prints from 35mm, HP5+ negatives, also Tri x negatives, while there is a certain amount of grain it only adds to the charm of the print and in no way detracts from it,
    Richard
     
  12. ROL

    ROL Member

    Messages:
    792
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do.

    I have only 2 for sale (11x14 & 16X20, both TechPan negs),

    Exposed Roots, Lodgepole Pine
    El Capitan Reflection,

    out of a couple hundred MF and LF mixed that I actually consider for sale as fine prints – because a good print is a good print, no matter the format.

    Regarding Rowell, those large 35mm prints, though fantastic images, are mostly hybrid digital prints. In the few optically enlarged still on display, you can see individual dye clouds (i.e., color "grain") from across the room. They are not fine art prints, and I don't believe Galen ever claimed that they were. I've never talked with anyone who didn't think this degree of digital enlargement was over the top.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,011
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are concerned about "the supporting infrastructure, easel, trays, large enough washer, drying rack, etc." as mentioned by Suzanne, and are willing to print RC, a magnetic board and some magnets (for the easel) and a Cibachrome or Unicolour or Beseler 16x20 developing tube (for the rest) makes a lot of sense.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks guys,

    I sent them a response last night and I think the price for a FB print scared them off a bit. I was going to do it for $120 + delivery unmounted - I know, probably under selling, but I wanted to try and get the sale/experience. I also don't think that they necessarily wanted a 'fine art' print, more a poster to go on the wall.

    I actually hadn't considered printing it on RC optically (I did offer to have it machine printed from a scan, which they were more keen on), which I might actually do now for the same price as the machine print.

    Anyhow, for your reference, this is the picture in question, which is a scan of the 8x10 I did:

    http://ashhoffimages.com.au/ashoim_gallery/albums/Film_prints/Merc2_Classic.jpg
     
  16. Danielle

    Danielle Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Have to admit that just about the only 35mm negs I've enlarged to 16x20 were from really slow film (on RC from memory - 10 years on, the prints are fine). However I'd be game to give it a go with a grainier image and see, why not try? Looks like a decent shot too, and if they like it, then it doesn't matter. I'm all for pushing some boundaries if you see it that way. If thats any dose of encouragement. :smile:
     
  17. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pity, it seems that anything more then $20.00 would of scared them off. Everybody sees the online photoprinters prices and thinks that all a photo is worth.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,267
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A 16x20 print is the same as my 40x50cm prints I had made from 35mm Velvia transparencies to Ilfochrome for years. I don't see how visible grain would put people off, but likewise, I also don't see what your concern is about the size of the enlargement. A TMAX P3200 print I had made in 1990 was enlarged to 20x24 to exaggerate grain in an image that features old world wrought iron, lace and a Ford Zephyr V. It was recently reprinted again.
     
  19. ROL

    ROL Member

    Messages:
    792
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh, in that case, you must give it a go. There's nothing about the image itself at 8x10 that suggests you can't do it. Just make certain the client is rational about the final result.

    Only 9 or 10?!? :laugh:. Trial and error is often the best (and only) way to learn. My normal scale–up from 8X10 to 11X14 is 50%, with a 100% increase from 11X14 to 16x20. Going straight to 16X20 that means starting with 150% more light during enlarging for basic exposure and burns (dodges can be less predictable), depending on your light source and negative. Then figure it out from there. Of course, making an 11x14 first will be extremely helpful (and less costly) in fine-tuning the direction of your print. Hope you kept printing notes from the finished 8x10.
     
  20. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To be honest, its cheap technology and to beat a dead horse, digital photography that have created this rock bottom market for sports prints.

    I am not sure if people know this or not, but I run a forum for Motor sport photographers (www.catchfencephotos.net), which has quite a few mid level pro’s involved. There is one guy who has been doing it since the late 80’s. Back then, to make the cover of a magazine such as Auto Action in Australia was worth good money. Now, you would struggle to make $100. I’m also not talking some guy who owns a entry level DSLR with a kit zoom, but people who have invested heavily in things like 1D’s and long primes.

    Granted, though, there is one member on my forum (who was co-incidentally a specator at the time!), who did make a lot of money out of 1 sequence of pictures that featured heavily in mainstream media….but that is the exception, not the rule.

    Getting back to the subject at hand, I was looking at my setup last night and think I could just do 16x20’s. I have 3 16x20 trays, which covers off the processing (I love ‘I have some old darkroom stuff – do you want it’ deals). I’d just need somewhere to hold the print while I clean a tray for washing, or I would need to get a bigger sized tank for the jobo. As for easels, I had considered making a fixed size one out of MDF, so it wouldn’t take me much to kit up. The only other thing I haven’t checked is whether the enlarger would actually go that high!, but there are ways and means to get this done as well.

    Cheers
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,011
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might consider a modified version of single tray processing - a tray for developer than water rinse, a tray for fix, and then a water holding tray.

    When you are finished, re-fix in fresh fix, and then tray wash.
     
  22. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, I do keep notes from all my print sessions. The good thing about this one is as you see it, that is a straight up print. There was a second print that had a slight pre-flash to tone down the whites a bit, but it turned it muddy and lost the impact.

    If I do print this optically, I had considered using 8x10 test prints to map it out before going full scale (I.E., set the enlarger to the final print size, but then print a handful of 8x10’s of a few key spots).

    Cheers and thanks for everyones comments!
     
  23. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,438
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I once sold a 20x24 from a 35mm neg. The quality depends entirely on how good the neg was to begin with. Tripod, cable release, hold breath, hope no breeze picks up. Actually it was a hand held shot where everything hit just right. I've never done it since(1979).
     
  24. Ryan Montgomery

    Ryan Montgomery Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Location:
    Portadown, N
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I regularly sell 20x16 & 20x24 prints from a 35mm neg, both colour and black and white. When it's matted and framed, the first thing people do is hang it and step back. It's very important to think about the final viewing distance. Admitedly I scan all my negs and send them off to print at this size, I only offer 8x10 or 12x16 hand prints because I find bigger to be a pain in the ass.
     
  25. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,324
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As Ryan mentions you must also consider viewing distance. If you have your nose a foot from a 16x20 print you will see grain. But in reality who is going to do this. The size of a print should be proportional to the viewing distance. Books on printing often have this information.
     
  26. clayne

    clayne Member

    Messages:
    2,837
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Viewing distance is proportional to print size. Format does not matter once it's past a certain threshold resolution. 35mm is past that threshold.