Weddings and 4x5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello one and all, I am wondering if any one of you out there are intergrating the LF in wedding photography at all. I have done a few using LF for grouping and alter type shots. It seem to work good but I am wondering if it is really worth while. Its pretty much a open ended guestion, sure would like some response. I know I march to my own drummer, LOL.

-- James Philips (, October 15, 2000


I hear many photographers talk about using 4x5 for group shots, but in my business the group shots never go beyond 8x10, the largest photo I put in an album. For other shots, I can't see any advantage, at 20x24, between 4x5 and 6x7. I rarely have the time to consider working in a larger format. I would like to shoot some 4x5 or even 8x10 Polaroid for transfers, but I have never gotten things together enough to do it.

-- Ed Farmer (, October 16, 2000.

I used to offer one 4X5 B&W shot to brides and grooms but it really became too much of a hassle. I couldn't use it if the weather was off - too windy or raining, for example; and it meant that I had to drag all my LF stuff along.

I also agree with the email above that I'd never use LF for groups. As he writes, they never get used bigger than 8X10 and I'd be very concerned about "Uncle George" moving once I've stopped focusing and was in the process of inserting the film holder.

-- David Grandy (, October 16, 2000.

You might look at the website . The Gran View takes alot of hassel out of large format work like weddings ! Mark Cieslikowski

-- Mark Cieslikowski (, October 27, 2000.

Of course you can do this - many people use 4x5 to shoot portraits and even fashion. However, as much as I like view cameras, I find them absolutely maddening to use with people. There are two main problems:

It is very hard to get a good expression on everyone in a group. And I mostly shoot models, who are used to holding a position and timing their blinks. If you were to get a group of average people together, I think it would be very hard to get a pleasing image of them on sheet film. Sometimes there is just no substitute to taking extra shots - you can't control expressions, blinking, etc. It is one thing if you can create a controlled environment and repeatedly try to get the shot, but if you have people swapping in and out and want to get different combinations of people, I think you would often have disappointing results. Most people would vastly, vastly prefer to have a pleasing expression on a 35mm shot than a less attractive one on 8x10 emulsion. The background will look fabulous in the latter, but that isn't most people's primary concern :-).

The second problem is that the pace of shooting is so slow. Swapping holders, closing down the lens, pulling darkslides .. it takes a long time to shoot a couple of images. I'm sure you experienced LF shooters are faster than me, but I'm just as sure that I can go much more quickly with my all-manual Hasselblad (never mind 35mm AF gear with autowinder). It really breaks up the pace of the shoot for me, making it more difficult to establish good rapport with the model. And I like to get very, very close; it's almost impossible to do that with LF because the focus is so critical and the model finds it very difficult not to move a fraction of an inch while I pop in the holder. This is obviously less relevant to wedding shooting, but still an issue.

Anyway, it can certainly be done, but I wouldn't choose to do it. You get a bit of quality that most subjects wouldn't care about in the least and you give up many opportunities to get the shot that they want.

Just one opinion ...

-- Oliver Sharp (, October 29, 2000.

From what I remember reading, wedding photography really started after the end of WWII, with the military discharging its photographers onto an unsuspeciting civilian populace. Photographers, being interested in things like buying food and paying rent, set up shop and started photographing weddings free-lance. Several photographers would show up with their press cameras at a wedding, photograph it, and then sell the photographs to the interested parties.

I think that weddings aren't that bad for LF, providing a press camera is used. I have a Graphlex Super Graphic with two of the six sheet holder backs, and it's not that slow. (not in the speed range of my Pentax 645, but what the hey) So that's twelve shots, in two strings of six. I think the fastest I can work the camera is 3/sec, but I've never timed myself, and that's just work the back and cock and fire the lens. I don't think my Vivitar 285 recharges for at least a couple of seconds, anyways.

-- Brian C. Miller (, October 31, 2000.

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