Tag Archive for: film

Different looks for different moods

In the old times we choose the filmrol for the look we wanted, now a days everything is of course digital and although I still love to shoot with film my workflow is 99% digital. I do however always say that “In my workflow I’m a 99% digital photographer, however in my heart I’m a 100% analogue photographer”, now why do I tell you this today?


When I look at my digital files I always feel something’s missing.
They are not bad, or looking weird, but they are just a bit “too” perfect, I know it sounds weird from a guy teaching to use the color checker and light meter however do realize that these tools are just to get the basis right, from this basis I always build up to the final look.

ALL the images you see from me are in one or another form tinted.
The last few years I’ve been mainly using the awesome DxO filmpack for this but since the release of Alien Skin Exposure X I have to be honest I’m more and more switching “back” to Alien skin, the X release is just really nice. If you already have filmpack… don’t upgrade (unless you want to) but if you don’t have any tinting plugin yet make sure to check out Alien Skin Exposure X (follow this link for a cool discount).


But what does tinting do?
To show you this and also to let you see my thought process I included 4 images from a session we did with Nadine in 4 different looks, it’s the same image, the only thing I changed are the colors, judge for yourself which one you like the best 😀

Nadine Januari 6 2016 1352 BW

Nadine Januari 6 2016 1352 SC

Nadine Januari 6 2016 1352

As you can see 4 totally different looks with different “feelings”.
I would normally just go through some presets I created and sometimes it just fits, but there is more….


If you shoot a commercial series it’s very important to keep the look constant, in other words use the same preset for all your images, now you also understand why it’s important to keep that basis correct, because if the basis is the same/correct the preset will give you the same results.


To make sure you select the right preset I would advise to try out your favorite preset on a few images and if they look awesome that’s the preset to use, however very often a really cool preset can look awesome on Photo 1 but terrible on Photo 2, often you will quickly see what the “problem” is, it’s better to select a different preset than that fits great for all images.
For commercial shoots I will also normally show a few images in a black and white conversion I really like, this way the client can always choose and making sure the clients gets a lot to choose from means that they will order more prints, but you will actually have a bigger chance they will hire you again because you give them a lot to choose from.


So the next time you’re done with your image…. and you think it’s perfect….. run it through a tinting plugin and I’m sure you will be very surprised 😀

The power of composition PtII the crop

Yesterday we looked at some composition tips, let’s take it one step further today.
As explained yesterday cameras shoot in fixed aspect ratios, but….we are free of course to crop later in Photoshop.


To crop or not to crop, that’s the……
Let me start off by saying that I’m a strong advocate of shooting the images as they SHOULD be, so when I crop it’s never because I shot it wrong, when I crop it’s an artistic choice so to say. In other words I’ll never crop to the same ratio, because that’s something you should have done in camera. If you learn this you will actually cut down on your retouch time considerably.


So when do I crop?
I often crop for impact.
Now what is impact?


I love movies and one of the things you will very quickly notice when you see movies is that there are different aspect ratios in movies too.
It all started of course with the 4:3 ratio also known in movie land as 1.33:1 (actually the standard is 1.37:1) As soon as TV’s started to appear there was a problem for the cinemas and they changed to different aspect ratios, the most used are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 which are both much wider than the original academy standard of 1.37:1.


For the “freaks” there was also a 1.19:1 aspect ratio for a short while when film started to add sound tracks, but this was quickly changed.


So why do movies use a wider aspect ratio?
It’s not only to compete with the TV of course, there is more.


Story telling is seeing the scene
One of the things movie makers understand very well is the power of vision.
As soon as you see a western for example you see the wide open areas and the small cowboys on their horses in this vast landscape…. often the aspect ratio 2.35:1 is used for this meaning you will have a very wide area to use but not that much height, meaning the aspect ratio is awesome for wide open spaces. Now when you film something in tight spaces (think a horror movie in a cabin for example) it’s often more suiting to shoot it with a less wide aspect ratio so the filmmaker will probably choose the 1.85:1 ratio meaning he will have less width so he can “focus” in on the main character more and show just enough of the area to scare the living day lights out of you when something appears in the frame.


Now this is of course not a fixed rule, every film maker is free to use whatever aspect ratio he/she wants, but overall the choice will be highly depending on the material shot and what the film maker wants to show you. The limitation of the filmmaker is that he/she is forced into one format…. we as photographers are not.


By cropping your images into more wide areas you can really draw your viewers in.
Let’s for example take this shot from Manon.

Linda December 10 - 96 - December 10 2014

This was shot like the shot you see here, the front is however not really adding to the image. It does lead the eye of the viewer towards the model so it’s not WRONG, but if I want a bit more attention to the model and the artwork I could have also cropped it like this.

Linda December 10 - 96 - December 10 2014 v2Now this is a totally different look right?
Which one is better?
Well that’s hard to say, in the end it’s a matter of personal taste but that’s with everything photography related of course.
I personally like the uncropped version for the simple fact that it draws your eyes towards the model a bit more, the cropped version I love for the way the artwork wraps around the model.


With the next shot I choose the crop very intentional.
I love shooting this kind of shots with a wide angle and when cropping it to a wider aspect ratio you really get a sense of a movie still, the choice of red in the clothing (model/styling : Nadine) really helps to draw your attention to the model, by lowering the ambient light and using a vignette on the shot I made the shot a bit more moody.

Nadine Maart 21 2015  0175


But can I print?
This is one of the most heard remarks when you crop wide.
People often think that because the papers are a certain aspect ratio one has to stick to that aspect ratio, and in essence this is true. When you send your images to a printing lab used by consumers (or pros) that is forcing you into their standard sizes, it’s indeed a wise decision to keep your images to that aspect ratio. But in all honestly when you crop like this you will probably do it for 1-2 shots that are “dear” to you, the “artworks” of the series so to say, and when you print those you will probably not go for the small prints, and as soon as you start printing big there is (with most labs) no limitations to size and aspect ratio, to be absolutely sure make sure you always check with your lab of course.


The only thing that can be wise is if you want to frame the shot to make sure there are frames in that size, or choose a custom frame builder. Most prints now a days however on different materials that are hung without frames. So don’t let yourself be limited by that.


So try to crop a bit more like a filmmaker and really draw your viewers into the story you’re telling.


Want more in-depth information on model photography, lighting, retouching, coaching the model, reading the meter and much much more?
Check out my book “mastering the model shoot” or the instructional videos on this site and of course on www.kelbyone.com

Some film scans

As you all know I love shooting film, there is something special about it.
I won’t say it’s better than digital, just different.
I do have to add that we recently switched from the Epson V750 scanner to a Reflecta MF5000 and that difference is pretty huge, I dare to say that the scans from my Mamiya RZ67ProII actually out resolves my 36MP Sony A7r but then again you can’t really compare the two, where digital is razor sharp film is very detailed but not “razor” sharp, it’s just ….. well pretty sharp. But that is judged on screen, as soon as you print it does look razor sharp and in essence that’s where it counts.


For me shooting film is that “different look” it’s a bit more organic and I love the large frame from the RZ67ProII, I use that camera also with my Leaf Credo60 but on the RZ it results in a pretty severe crop (although the Credo is actually slightly bigger than a 6×4.5). With film all that is gone and you can enjoy the huge real estate the camera gives you.


These shots were done during a shoot with Nadine on location and were shot with the RZ67ProII with a 110mm f2.8 lens (closed down because we used strobes) on FujiFilm RPII positive film. Development of the film I did at home with the appropriate E6 chemicals.


One tip if you are into film, make sure you invest in good scanning software, this makes a HUGE difference.
I’ve been using Silverfast studio for quiet some time and when I switched from the Epson software to Silverfast the difference was very noticeable, now with the Reflecta MF5000 Silverfast really shines, it’s not the fastest to learn software but if you scan in basic mode you pretty much are good from the get go, if you dive into it there is however an enormous amount of extra detail to be extracted from the files.


These files were scanned with one pass (double pass gives you a bit more dynamic range), and are straight out of the scanner, only thing changed is a slight touch up of the skin.
Nadine arnhem 12-Edit

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A few analogue shots

Today just a few images I shot during the workshop we did for Servix in Belgium.
The images were shot with a Leica R4 and FujiFilm 400 ASA.
Scans are straight out of the camera.
Developed at home C41, scanned with an Epson V750.
With the portraits I played a bit with the scanners color balance, still in doubt which one I like most.

Servix workshops 2013 (4 of 6)

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