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  1. #1
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Tips for photographing tattoo with B&W films

    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

    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. #2

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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. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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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.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    dpurdy's Avatar
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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. #5
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noacronym View Post
    I can't wait till the tattooing insanity ends, and the pretty girls will quit destroying themselves. What a horrible fad.
    That would be a lot like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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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.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryl Jacobs View Post
    That would be a lot like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
    Good to hear from you Cheryl.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Tips for photographing tattoo with B&W films

    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


    Click image for larger version. 

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    ~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
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  9. #9
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Tips for photographing tattoo with B&W films

    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
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  10. #10
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Thank you all for a nice tips . Models will be pale German caucasians . 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 .

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