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  1. #1
    singram's Avatar
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    35mm B&W proofs- how do you do it?

    I am adding traditional black and white film to my portrait business. There is something about the grain, the film, the dof, and everything else I enjoyed that is bringing me back.

    I have been very spoiled with digital, as you can shoot and upload a gallery in a matter of minutes for a client to see. Even in the days of film, most was color and sent to a lab where the film was processed, carded, and numbered proofs were returned for each roll.

    I will be shooting 35mm film for now (trad. B&W not C-41 B&W), and would eventually like to add medium format as I go along. I want to do my own processing, but if there is a good lab for this I would be glad to hear about it.

    I don't think most people would be happy with a contact sheet. I think some sort of on line gallery or print solution needs to be figured out.

    What is a good work flow for shooting B&W film, and getting proofs for a client to see? I may do some hybrid-darkroom work and scan negs instead of print, so I could scan each frame (or the ones that I like) for the client to see. I just hate to waste a bunch of time, or add time to a process, when someone out there has a better solution.

    Thanks in advance,
    Steve

  2. #2

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    No reason you can't scan the negatives for proofs. Print the files, with minimal corrections which can be done in batch, out to a good inkjet printer at 4x5 or 4x6 as proofs.

  3. #3
    David William White's Avatar
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    I started doing 'traditional' black and white portraiture, but both mf (6x6) and 4x5. Contact sheets are fine because they are large enough to show the client and go from there. In many cases, it is easier for me to directly scan the negatives (filtering the junk) and making a web page for them to review. Don't need a second face-to-face. From there they can select one or two for 8x10 printing with all the adjustments/improvements.

    If I was doing 35mm, I'd probably scan the lot, then show them a web page with just the best.

    P.S. Scanning does help you do your printing. Cropping and contrast adjustment on the computer gives you a running start for when you get to the darkroom to make the prints. I presume it will be safe to say that here as long as a real darkroom print from a negative is the deliverable.

  4. #4

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    First, let me say that I'm not a professional photographer, just a hobbyist, so my suggestion may be way off base. That caveat out of the way, another option would be to take the film to a lab that'll do "1-hour" prints from negatives. This could be a pro lab that can still do B&W processing (for development and printing) or a drug store 1-hour lab (you'd develop and then order prints). This would be a lot quicker than scanning them yourself, but you wouldn't get the benefits David mentions with respect to using the scan to judge cropping, contrast, exposure, and other adjustments you might need to make when printing. Some labs will do a fairly decent job with B&W, but others will return prints with a hideous color cast. My local Walgreens, which uses a Fuji Frontier, returns reasonably neutral-toned prints from C-41 B&W film. I've heard that Frontier processors have a B&W setting, so they should be able to do reasonably well with traditional B&W film, if operated half-competently.

  5. #5

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    the problem with the 1 hour lab thing, is that
    black and white is a 'send out' option, and often times
    takes a long time to get back into your hands, or it is a boutique item
    and the labs will charge a small fortune to essentially sc@n and print.

    i have done quite a bit of black and white proofing ... with 35mm, 4x5 and 5x7
    film for clients. the 4x5 and 5x7 was the easiest, just contact prints - quick and dirty
    on rc paper ...
    35mm i have done 2 different ways ... since they were all the same lighting/shutter speed
    and all the negatives "looked the same" i rc printed them all myself 4x6 ( or something small ),
    not too much burning/dodging ... "good enough" ... and showed them to clients ...
    the other way .. was quick and dirty sc@ns from the film, and and a contact sheet
    compiled using PS .. either web-posted or printed out my a lab i use.

    35mm is great to use, but the small negatives are a time-pit and pita to proof ..
    give me a 4x5 with a split back or full framed lf negative anyday ...

    good luck!

    john

  6. #6
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    This is one of those things, I'm always trying to find better ways to do. I offer only b/w film portraits, and fiber prints. Lately, I have been scanning the negatives (6x7), and clients have a choice. I can upload a slideshow to my website, or they can meet me at my studio to see the selections as scans on my computer screen.

    That said... scanning is tedious and time consuming. If you have a lab that you can take uncut film to make machine prints, that it another option. You could sell those, too if you like... but I have found people think these are just great, and don't end up ordering larger prints. I'd rather they view scans and order my gorgeous prints.

    I have to say, I prefer when clients come in to see the scans to viewing them on the web. The scans look better, and I have several finished examples of work so they can see what they are really buying.

    Good luck...

  7. #7
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    I process my B&W myself, then take the uncut negs to a nearby lab where they print 4x6 proofs. I proof only in person, with the obvious exception of sessions in other states and countries. I have the negs scanned at the same time, since I do a heck of a lot of coffee table books for my clients and that's a digital process by necessity.

    It's a very simple process, and works very well for me.

    Congrats on adding film to your arsenal. I think you'll find that it's actually a much easier and less time consuming way to work.

    - CJ

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    the problem with the 1 hour lab thing, is that
    black and white is a 'send out' option, and often times
    takes a long time to get back into your hands, or it is a boutique item
    and the labs will charge a small fortune to essentially sc@n and print.
    Certainly most 1-hour labs will send it out if you bring them unprocessed film; however, if you process to negatives first, they ought to be able to scan the negatives and print 4x6 proofs, with the caveat that the quality will vary a lot from one lab to another.

  9. #9
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Be real traditional => Print on POP. Traditional reddish color that will fade when exposed to light for a long time. that will get them to come back to you with orders.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.



 

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