View Full Version : Film for portraits

01-27-2013, 12:55 PM
Hi all,

A quick bit of advice required, I've been asked to do a few family portraits and I want to give it the best shot I can, what film and filter would any of you guys use, I'll be shooting on 35mm and have a few filters such as green, red and yellow, I'm told yellow is the best, I'm hoping to use 400iso film to if possible, all advice greatly appreciated and thanks everyone in advance.


01-27-2013, 01:09 PM
Assuming B&W (by the tone of your post) why not use Ilford products, which should be easy for you to find locally. I prefer FP4+ for portraits over HP5+. I also tend to shoot portraits without filtration... except soft-focus filtration when required.

01-27-2013, 01:14 PM
Hi Brian, yes it's B&W, sorry should of made that clear, thanks for advice.

Rafal Lukawiecki
01-27-2013, 01:36 PM
Hi Paul,

Your lighting and the choice of backdrop will have as much of an effect on the results, if not more than the choice of film and developer, in my experience. If you are looking for a happier, lighter mood, may I suggest a bright, even a white background and plenty of diffuse light, which will cause a little flare that will soften the look. If you want to use a 400 film, I have some experience of Tri-X in XTol for that look. For a sombre, grittier look, go with a black background and less diffuse light, or fewer light sources. Marry that with HP5+ in XTol or Tri-X in Rodinal and the portrait will have "character" but maybe not what a family one was calling for. :) Having said that, HP5+ in XTol, with a lighter backdrop, and a light yellow filter, #8, will give a neutral, pleasing look. FP4 is a good film too, but you asked for a 400.

There are many other combinations which others will no doubt prefer, these are the only ones that I have any reasonable experience of.

01-28-2013, 08:09 AM
Hi Rafal,

Thanks for all the info and tips, these will no doubt be household images, I do have a black background but I don't think I'll be using it, I like the sound of Tri-x and rodinal, FP4 may be too slow and I'd hate to fluff this one up by having a slow film.

Thanks again,