As a hybrid photographer, I'm always attempting to get my digital images to mimic that of classic film...this can be a challenge. However, this lovely film/digital experiment on the beach, really enabled me to explore. I think the interesting part is comparing the images, and seeing how the light and tones are interpreted differently from digital to film. I'm curious if you can tell a difference? I can in most of them, but a few even fooled me!
The following digital images were shot and processed with:
Nikon D600 | 50mm F/1.8 Lens | Fuji 400H Film Preset
The light and bright beach portraits below were some of my very first film images that came back from the lab looking exactly like I hoped they would. I had MANY failures in the beginning of my analog journey, so it felt so good to receive images I was pleased with, and was excited to share! The challenge of this shoot was full-sun, in the middle of the day. More thoughts on that in a moment...
The following medium format film images were shot and processed with:
Mamiya 645AF | 80mm F/2.8 Lens | Fuji 400H Film | Scans by PhotoVision
Did you know that if you have a really bright scenario, it's actually EASIER to shoot film? If you are a photographer and disagree, please don't egg my house. It's a fact though that film has a dynamic range that can handle highlights much better than digital data can. It's actually pretty hard to over-expose a film image to the point of destruction. Whereas digital, if you "blow out" your whites, they are gone. Never to return, and there is nothing you can really do to regain that photo or salvage it. Ever forgotten to adjust your exposure when shooting digital only to blow out a GORGEOUS composition you can't get back? I have. And it sucks. So on a bright day like it was at the coast, shooting film was my saving grace.
It was not my plan to shoot in the middle of the day. Like most photographers I LIVE for golden hour (summertime here in Oregon...7pm-ish). However, shooting that late did not work for our schedule. My next choice was morning, aiming to get the early morning clouds that the Oregon Coast is known for. However, we got a really late start leaving town. Before I knew it, it was 12:30pm when we arrived on location. That's right, full overhead sun, the kind that most photographers (or at least myself) are scared of.
Rather than despair, I took it as an opportunity to practice shooting in harsh light. After all, there are plenty of wedding scenarios where I'm forced to shoot in full-sun, why not embrace it. So we did. A few tips for shooting in full sun that will save you in a pinch!
- Put your subject's back to the sun, it's flattering for them and easier on you!
- If you are shooting digital, go ahead and blow out the sky and hot-spots by exposing for your subject. Better for your subject to be well lit than the sky. If you are shooting film, expose for the shadows and be amazed when you STILL have sky when your film comes back. There's that amazing range I'm talking about.
- Use scrims and/or reflectors to shade your subject, but beware of shadows in the frame that give away your assistant holding the reflector! Done well, nobody should know you used it (ideally).
Special thanks to Debbie Sue Young, our lovely model and endless supporter of my photographs. Also to Ken Kupelian, the most patient assistant who loves me no matter what. Even when I'm battling full-sun and wind and being a wee bit feisty! Final thanks to my gardening sun-hat, which really turned out to be the star of the show.
Thank you for reading folks, it means so much to me!
All images shot in Cannon Beach, Oregon.