Pre-Exposure technique : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been working on using pre-exposure for about the last four months. I'm starting to get to the point where I can use it pretty effectively in certain situations. This isn't so much a post looking for help with the technique. Rather, I'm just wondering how many of the other people on this forum use pre-exposure. In the right situations, pre-exposure can be a big help, it seems, but you don't tend to hear a lot about it. So- any other users out there?

-- David Munson (, July 12, 2001


Dave, I use pre-exposure alot with MF and landscape. I used it quite a bit when photographing the rain-forests on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It helped control some of the HUGE range of contrast experianced from within the forest. As you say, some shots would have been impossible without it.

-- Dave Anton (, July 12, 2001.

Dave, Go to: There is alot of info in chapter eight! Hope this helps. I do alot of pre exposure myself and it does do ALOT of good in some instances!

-- Scott Walton (, July 13, 2001.

I occassionally use it to help control those contrasty situations, but I use it sparingly just as I use paper flashing sparingly. If you aren't careful you can lose the "snap" in your final product. Also , keep in mind that you don't need to do a pre-exposure. It works the same when you get home and do it afterwards. That way you don't need to carry your pre-exposure devise with you and you can take your time and do it carefully. After a recent month long trip I put all of the negatives needing post-exposure in a pile and did them all at once.

-- Paul Mongillo (, July 13, 2001.

Paul...I am interested in your idea of pre-exposure after you have taken the shot. Would you be able to go into a bit of detail such as the process you go through to perform the pre-exposure? Also I would appreciate hearing what film(s) you are using this technique with and aproximately how much time and/or light exposure you are using. I understand that the amount will vary depending on the shot taken and the film used, but it would be interesting to me to be able to read about your actual experiences.

Thanks for the idea. GreyWolf

-- GreyWolf Phillips (, July 13, 2001.

Note to Paul: Does the post-exposure work as well as pre-exposure? Just a question and not an argument. You may have a great method here. What is puzzling is that I thought pre-exposure was used to break the threshold on the neg to allow more sensitivity to the low light areas, as is done with paper. I would like to know more about the post-exposure method. It could salvage some negs where we unexpectdly encounter very high contrast situations.


-- Doug Paramore (, July 15, 2001.

I've never used pre-exposure, personally. I've heard there is less need for this with modern films. A student of mine recently "achieved" an "N-8" through very high dilution, long development, and spare agitation.

-- Chris (, July 16, 2001.

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