notes on 4x5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I want to be able to keep a record of my exposure and other notes on each of my photographs. I currently use Quickloads, write the notes on the jacket, and instruct the lab to keep the film together with the jacket so I can keep the notes straight. This technique won't work with cut-sheet film in holders. How does anyone else solve this problem? I keep a notebook with me in the field, but it isn't convenient to make notes and a description for each photograph. Is there a better way?

-- Ray Dunn (, September 18, 1999


I have thought to number the film holders on a piece of tape and then use a pocket sized tape recorder to tape comments about the photos. These are small and can be had at discount stores for less than $30. I've yet to develop the discipline for this, but it has seemed like a good idea.

-- roger rouch (, September 18, 1999.

You could file small marks on your film holders. These marks would show up on the transparency or negative the way the little "v" marks show up on Hasselblads. Then if you number the cut film holders you can match them up after processing. So for Holder 1, side A you have your notes, and here is tranny 1A.

-- David Grandy (, September 18, 1999.

Here's a technique I've been using for quite a while now, that seems to work for me anyway. After I load each holder, I package it in a zip lock bag on which I apply a label that I've designed in my computer. The label has spaces for all the pertinent info: location, time of day, lens, aperture, shutter speed, filter, development, etc. I number each film holder and put the same number on the label. After exposure, the holder goes back in the bag and all the info is later transcribed to my notebook. I don't shoot much color, so I'm the lab that does most of the processing. When I do shoot chromes, I can generally tell from descriptions what's what. I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can devise your own workable system. Good luck.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, September 18, 1999.

I number my holders (e.g. 1A/1B etc.), and then write all sorts of info on the Polaroid test shot(s) I usually take where I reference the holder number. When multiple shots of the same scene are taken, I will usually only get one transparency developed at a time, so keeping the info straight isn't that difficult (I'll sometimes attach a small label with the holder # on the corner of the developed transparency so I can reference back to my notes).

For a short while I tried the tape recorder routine, but found my verbal notes sometimes lacking in full detail. It was also bothersome to transcribe the information.

-- Larry Huppert (, September 18, 1999.

Long ago I bought a little set of different-shaped files. I filed notches on the flaps of each holder using a modified Roman-numeral system. A small half-round notch is a 1, up to four of these numbers 1 through 4. A "V" shaped notch stands for 5. This in combination with the half-round notches gets me up to 9. A square notch represents 10 and takes me up through 49. An inverted "L" shaped notch represents 50, a large half-round notch, 100. Be sure to clean your holders thoroughly after filing to remove any debris. These notches show up at the edge of the negative picture area (unless there is no density there in the first place) and make identifying a snap. Each exposure gets its own sheet in a small notebook I carry with me always. The tape recorder idea is not bad either. The key, however, is to file exposure records together with the negatives for future reference. Hope this helps. ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, September 19, 1999.

Someone somewhere makes a set of numbers which are clear plastic and have black numbers on them. You attach these numbers to the film holder and it imprints the number on the film. But I don't know who or where to get them. But I have 6 holders that came with them. James

-- james (, September 19, 1999.

I also had several older holders which the previous owner had attached small pieces of clear film, with numbers on them, to the end flaps. They extended into edge of the film. When exposed the numbers appeared in white. I never got around to doing this with my other holders, but I think I will sometime. I believe a fine point marking pen would work for writing the numbers. Most film holders have an area under the flap which is designed for attaching markers of this kind. The ones that I had were just attached with scotch tape.

-- Bill Moore (, September 19, 1999.

Excellent suggestions, gentlemen. James and Bill have the same idea, and that inspired something in my mind. I experimented with using my word processing program to print small tags that will slip into the slots in the flap of my film holders. I just created a box the size of the slot plus a bit for the height of the lettering (Arial 5pt). I was able to get my name and a holder ID within the box. I then printed the document out to my laser printer on transparency acetate, cut the tag out neatly, and there I have it, instant ID that will be imprinted onto each photograph. With a bit more experimentation, I'm sure there is a way to get information imprinted across the entire witdh of the flap. The only problem that I foresee is if the tag curls upward, the darkslide could catch on it. I'm not sure what adhesive that I will use, but as the math majors say, 'a solution is possible.' Thank you one and all for your wonderful suggestions. I hope be able to return the favor to you in the future.

-- Ray Dunn (, September 19, 1999.

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