Sinar Create LF Series Book: People Photography : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anyone read the Sinar book on large format people photography? Is it worthwhile?

Can anyone recommend any other books that are dedicated to the subject of LF portrait work or have a good section on it?

Thanks, Peter Shier

-- Peter Shier (, May 15, 2001


Dear Peter

I presume you already own a LF system and want to expand your horizons into people or portrait photography. You are undoubtedly competent with the various means of swings, tilts, focusing, depth of field, but may not have used them with people.

I have the Sinar People Photography book-not to mention all the others in the series. Also, I have tons of other photography books. My guess is that you would enjoy the book, but it might not satisfy you for what I sense you might be seeking. The sections of the book are as follow:

People and their images People and the camera The tools From the lens to the image Image composition Portfolios Appendix

I happen to use this book and all my other books like I use cookbooks. I try not to exactly follow recipies, but rather, I look at how the end dish looks, what ingredients might be used and the general difficulty of a particular meal. I have more fun when I 'wing it'. The analogy holds true for people photography with LF. I am sure you are not want to merely replicate someone's photo, but rather bring your own ideas and vision. So, I would recommend using any photo book that gives you lighting set ups, sketches of the scene and other hints. Also, you might want to check other web sites that focus on shooting people and models. Many give info on shoots and seminars in your area where you might see how they approach a scene. Whether it is 35mm, Medium Format or LF, the principals hold true, it is merely the time to focus and snap the images.

I have been using my camera for people and often shoot Polaroid transfers. That way, the model and I see the images quickly and they are fun ways to be creative (and the focusing is forgiving) That way the subject can also take an image home with them-not a possibility when you are shooting regular film. Often that gesture helps overcome the longer time it takes me to set a scene.

Hope this is in some small way helpful. Please advise if I missed your point.


John Bailey

-- John Bailey (, May 15, 2001.

Yes I am already doing a lot of LF portraits with strobes in a home studio setting and having some nice success. I am always learning and just wanted to find out if there are any worthwhile books on the subject. Of course, the most worthwhile books are those of the greats like Karsh etc. and I do spend a lot of time studying them.

I do a lot of Polaroids (mostly T54 and T79) and that is very effective. I even did a party a few months ago where I had my set up in a corner of the room with a simple blue portable seamless and people were lined up all night! Everyone took home a Polaroid and I shot Astia readyloads as well. I used flat lighting (3 umbrellas: one on each side and one above camera) as there was no time to adjust anything but focus and some front rise/fall but it worked out very well.

I have a very patient model who works for a few dollars an hour (our teenage babysitter) and that has helped my technique a lot as I have some relaxed time to experiment. I find the biggest challenge is getting the subject to stay very still while I load the film and then produce some fairly candid expression for the shutter. This is the big difference from 35mm and MF where you can move around and capture that perfect moment but the quality of LF and those beautiful 4x5 Polaroids are definitely worth it.

Thanks, Peter

-- Peter Shier (, May 16, 2001.

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