Black and white photographer...need advice on color films : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I know that I could spend a lifetime experimenting with color photography, but I need a crash course! A local company wants some large format work done so that they can produce poster-sized prints in the 5-6 foot range. Looks like mostly studio work, but daylight photographs are a possibility. Subject will be mainly nuts and bolts type of hardware.

I have always worked in black and what, so now I need some help!!! What color films work well in this situation??? With what type of lights? What filters will I need? Does color close-up work differ from black and white? What million other things have I not considered?

I ain't skared, I'm jest bein careful... Thanks for the help, and the great forum. -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, August 06, 2000


The first question you need to ask the client is whether they want the colour on tranparency film or colour neg. This isn't admitting ignorance on your part but (in most cases) making the client ask their printer what the PRINTER wants!

Once you have that information (and I sort of expect colour transparency to be the answer, but you neve know) you can move on.

If you are using lights, as opposed to flashes, you might be running into long exposure times reciprocity failure. In black and white this would be an exposure adjustment; but with colour you probably need to use a bit of colour correction. Check the colour film instructions to see what (if any) filtration is necessary.

When you light the product try to make sure that your highlights and shadows aren't too far apart in exposure. The people that will be making the colour separtions will want to kill you if you've used a 7:1 (1:7?) lighting ratio. Their media will just not handle this kind of lighting. There was an excellent article about this in a View Camera magazine a few years ago, and was rewritten by the same autor and published in Professional Photographer magazine last year.

If you are doing location work you may have to figure out a way of dealing with mixed lighting. Daylight, streaming in through windows, with flourescent lighting providing another light source, and then theres your strobes lighting the product! In this case one of the modern colour negative films might be the choice. The Portra and Fuji colour films have that fourth emulsion which helps a lot in mixed lighting and may be the only way to work things out. But take a polaroid before you do much else to see what the place looks like before you start "fixing" it.

-- David Grandy (, August 06, 2000.

In transparency film, Kodak EPN has the most accurate color balance. Fuji Astia (and Provia), are excellent films, but with less color accuracy than EPN. If long exposures are required, tungsten balanced films (Kodak EPY, or Fuji RTP) are good to about 100 sec. exposures without compensation. Again, the Kodak product has the most accurate color. Personally, I shoot more Fuji film than Kodak, but if absolute color fidelity is needed, EPN and EPY deliver consistant results. In negative film, I will let others recommend a LF solution, as I have never used negative film in LF sizes.

-- Ron Shaw (, August 07, 2000.

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