Quote Originally Posted by Ian Leake View Post
The second problem is that choosing from the negatives pushes you towards selecting the obvious pictures - the ones you know will work. More subtle compositions, especially those which don't work back to front and with inverted tones, can easily be missed.

The third problem is more of a question: how can I learn unless I see the print? Suppose a model blinked as the shutter fired. Should I discard the negative because her eyes are closed or print it to look at the rest of the composition? How about if the lighting is a bit off? Again, looking at the print will tell me where I went wrong. Or what if the composition just sucks? Obviously I saw something that appealed to me because I made the picture, but to understand what appeals and what I need to avoid in the future requires a print.

Lastly, I'm still trying to find a way to engage with models in the post-polaroid world. In the past I used a lot of Polaroids in the studio. Seeing the printed picture enabled the model to understand where I was trying to go - and this enabled her to work with me to achieve that goal. I'm hoping that by developing and proofing immediately after the sitting then this collaborative engagement will be possible again. OK, the discussion will have to be spread over several sittings, but I prefer to work that way anyway.

Thanks again for all your comments and suggestions. There's plenty of food for thought here.
Composition should be readable by the negative most of the time. Some abstraction that the negative provides lets you see the composition separated from the details. For example an s-curve in the composition works flipped just as well as when you saw it.

As far as lighting, either get it right when you take the photo, or use quick contact prints to verify; detail isn't important. When using artificial lighting, I use my DSLR to verify lighting. You could use this with your model too. It's not a preference, just another tool. I do have a Fuji instant back on the way, so the polaroid method isn't dead presently. This would reduce the need for multiple sittings. While some might consider it trolling, and it's not directed to you, nothing says crackpot like telling someone to come back for another sitting another time because I'm too proud of analog photography to use a DSLR to check the lighting and practice a pose.