Suggestions on which film to use
I have been asked to photograph the annual company dinner. They want prints and I want digital scans of the negatives. I'll be doing some portrait shots and some of the entertainment and dining that evening. Some recommendations for the portrait film? The subjects are from various ethnic groups, so I need something good for all around skin tones. As far as the general photography of the evenings events I was thinking of using consumer print film but I'm open to suggestions for something more suitable. I haven't been to the location in person but, lighting seems to be pretty good from what I've seen of the pictures of the dining area. I'll be using two Nikons, N90s and an N70 also a Pentax K1000 for a backup. For flashes I have a Sunpak auto 144PC and a Nikon SB26 the N70 has a built in flash as well. Also have two tripods I'm bringing. The lenses I intend to use for the Nikons are a 35-80 and a 70-300 and for the Pentax a Kiron 28-85. I hope that's enough for a few suggestions.
"Panic not my child, the Great Yellow Father has your hand"--Larry Dressler
I see you're in Horsham, PA. I'm in the Lansdale area. Besides Cardinal, any other reputable camera shops with film around?
Originally Posted by nickrapak
i'd use a fuji color negative film,
i always had trouble with kodak color films ( pro films )
being ultra contrasty ... fuji never gave me problems
especially because it has the nth layer technology that
is supposed to help you get good color temperature
with a variety of light sources.
the last color films i used were press 800
200 and 400 and i had no troubles. if you are able
buy a roll of 400, shoot it with your flash in a similar situation
and see how you like it ( and how your lab handles it )
dry runs can save your skin.
The Kodak Portra 400 should suit you well. If you think you would really need it, the Portra 800 is a great film too.
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Second or third or whatever Portra 400. I get great scans and prints. Wonderful film. I shoot Ektar 100 when I want highly saturated color and Portra 400 for everything else.
Portra should do the trick!
Having read your post, I'm less concerned about the film you use, and more worried about things you may not have covered about the gathering e.g. fluoro, high intensity lighting and its impact on colour, auto flash illuminating only part of a sitting party, deep, distracting shadows... As a start, all the flashes should be diffused or bounced (not ever direct) and test runs should be done before the event to ascertain how the equipment delivers results (if you haven't done that previously). Having organised the unknowns, then deal with film. If the customer is not fussy about colour you can get away with anything in terms of film; ensure there are no casts when scanning (use neutral eyedropper to set white point as a start). If you are going to be working the floor from one end to the other, travel light, meaning just one camera and flash; you may otherwise fall victim to theft. I think it would be essential for you to visit the location before the event to make notes of lighting (natural and incidental), viewpoints etc. After thoroughly preparing the groundwork, film and cameras are then the considerations to actually exploring the venue thoroughly for opportunities and problems. Don't get too carried away with professional vs consumer emulsions. In the scan (where many problems come up) will not actually be 100% faithful to negative/positive colour.
Portra 800 is lower in contrast with more speed than Portra 400 if that helps you. Although for 35mm I might stick to Portra 400.
I would definately go there beforehand and meter the light, also take a digicam if possible with manual white balance or RAW capability to going beforehand (so you can examine what temp the light is), because lighting is often much dimmer than people think and also well below 3200K in temp, making it a pita to work with the available lighting.
In any case, flash is good, meter you flash, I'd be bouncing it off the ceiling.
Nothing wrong with direct flash if you confident with your lighting, I've used it all the time. IIRC the SB-26 has a optical slave mode. Therefore you can place it off camera, such as on one of your tripods for ceiling bounce elsewhere, with another on your camera also ceiling bounce to cover a wider area with more light, or ceiling bounce the SB-26 off camera, and weak direct flash to fill a little.
Take a meter with flash capability, borrow, rent, etc. Don't wanna shoot blind with flash.
Last edited by Athiril; 02-17-2012 at 05:43 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I really appreciate all the replies. I did stop at the local camera shop for Portra and they had none for 35mm. The person I spoke with there had suggested using Fiji superia 400. She went as far as bringing up images shot with Portra and Superia. The Superia is more saturated in its color rendition and that concerns me that lighter skin tones may look "bacony" due to the higher saturation. I really wanted to visit the location in person but unfortunately the event coordinator doesn't seem to understand the importance. So as much as I wouldn't want to go into this blind, I'm not left with much choice. Does anyone have suggestions as to an online source that can have the film shipped to me by the middle of the week so I can shoot a test roll to get the "feel" of it?
Quote" Nothing wrong with direct flash if you confident with your lighting, I've used it all the time. IIRC the SB-26 has a optical slave mode. Therefore you can place it off camera, such as on one of your tripods for ceiling bounce elsewhere, with another on your camera also ceiling bounce to cover a wider area with more light, or ceiling bounce the SB-26 off camera, and weak direct flash to fill a little." End quote
I generally never photograph anyone with flash directly if I can help it and if I have to because of circumstances compensate between -1 to -2 on the flash. That usually keeps the subject from looking burned out or like "a deer caught in the headlights" appearance. I just got the SB26 so I haven't had the chance to use it yet but I have read plenty on its use on various forums and in some books. The experience I have with other flash units and from what I have learned I feel confident on how to handle it.