Did you know that where you live can affect your film? We are lucky enough to have film shooters send us film from all around the world! We thought it would be helpful to talk about shooting film in humid or wet environments.

You can see in the image below that there is faint writing and numbers imprinted onto the film. This happens when the ink from the backing paper rubs off onto the film when it gets wet or damp. You don’t see this very often with 220 film since it has little backing paper, and you don’t see it at all with 35mm. It is most common with 120 film.

So, how can you prevent this from happening? It helps to keep your film in the wrapper until you are about to shoot. If you live in a humid climate, we recommend using a dehumidifier wherever you store film. The image below sat in a humid environment for a week before being shot.

Be sure to keep your film in a cool, dark place. Remember film needs to acclimate to your environment before shooting – take it out of your storage and let it adjust to room temperature out of the wrapper before putting it in your camera. Keeping it out for about an hour should do the trick if your film is stored in the fridge. If your film is stored in the freezer, it is beneficial to leave it out for at least 24 hours before putting it in your camera.

In the end, just remember these tips and don’t “sweat” the small stuff! We love to see your beach photos, so keep them coming!

Jonathan Canlas | Ektar 100 | Rollei

   

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to share the love! We thought we would do that by sharing some of our favorite images to come through the lab in the past month. While we receive many beautiful images daily, these are some that resonated with us. We want to wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day spent with those who matter most to you.

Wedding | Kristin La Voie | Portra 400 | Contax 645

Brittany Mahood

Food | Brittany Mahood | Fuji400H | Contax 645

Landscape | Luke & Cat Neumayr | Fuji400H | Canon1V

Black & White | Ariel Lafontaine | 400TX | Canon FT QL

Travel | Daniel Lauer-Schumacher | Kodak Gold 400 | Nikon N65

Family | Erin Hughes | Portra 400 | Contax 645

   

Because of the increased latitude of Portra 400, we’ve received many requests to scan and edit Portra 400 to look like Fuji 400H. Because of this, we want to let you in on a little secret! Our lab can make them look similar to save you a few extra bucks. We understand most people won’t be shooting these two film stocks back to back for comparison, but we wanted to show you how similar they can be.

The most important thing is to make sure we start in good, clean light.  It is really difficult to adjust the tones in film when they are underexposed. Underexposure with these two film stocks leads to muddy shadows and an overall yellow image. While shooting for this blog post, we made sure all images were created in clean light and overexposed a stop and a half.

The second thing to understand is the base color of each film stock.  A good way to think of this is like painting an image on a canvas. With film, our ‘canvas’ doesn’t start with a true white.  When using Portra 400 its canvas has a yellow and slightly red base color.  Fuji 400H has a cyan and green  base color. One of the reasons people gravitate toward the aesthetic of Fuji 400H is for its neutral skin tones and unique coloring of foliage.  Fuji 400H is best known for its cool greens while Portra 400 will typically have warm greens.

To achieve the Fuji 400H look, we recommend having film scanned on the Noritsu rather than the Frontier. The Noritsu primarily works in the magenta and green channel, so there is less yellow. Portra 400 naturally has a warmer base than 400H, so the tones in the image need to be cooled down overall in scanning. As you can see in the comparison images below, the Noritsu provided more control without going too cool.

Frontier Portra vs 400H

Noritsu Portra vs Fuji

Here are a few more comparison images from the Noritsu.

Comparison2

Comparison1

If you want to recreate this look, please make sure you include this in the notes section of your order form or feel free to give us a call!

photos by theFINDlab Team Members | Portra 400 and Fuji 400H | Mamiya 645

   

Film is a beautiful medium but it does come with a small set of tradeoffs. One of the biggest things that makes film different than digital is it is especially sensitive to color reflections. These reflections can be caused by walls, grass, stone, neighboring objects, or even the clothing you’re wearing as the photographer! In the image below, you can see how having the subject right up against the colored surface her face picks up the reflection of the bright yellow wall.  The closer you are to your reflector, the more intense the color will be.

CJK_BoKaap-40

How do you shoot fun colored scenes on film?  The best trick is to reposition your subjects so the color reflection is behind them just like in this example.

CJK_BoKaap-35

Shooting on green grass can be a little trickier. If you find yourself shooting in a grassy area in bright sunlight, try to place your subjects on or near a patch of shade. As you choose where to place your subjects, think of the ground beneath them as a large reflector.

Handling reflections from colored clothing can also be difficult, especially when the choice of wardrobe is out of your control. Try to keep subject’s heads tilted up, and avoid leaning or positioning them close to the bright color.

It may seem daunting, but just remember that most of the time, you can see the color reflections with your naked eye! Just slow down and look closely.

photos by Caitlin Kellagher | Fuji 400H | Contax 645

   

There seems to be a lot of debates in the photo community about what is ‘the best’. One hot topic film photographers will talk about is which scanner is better: Frontier or Noritsu. We feel like there are no hard and fast rules about which scanner is better.  It is about knowing which one best fits your aesthetic. In order to help you understand the differences between the scanners, we will be doing an on-going series to compare the Frontier and Noritsu.  We will be showing how they react to pushed film, different lighting scenarios, and various film stocks.  Today, we’ll look at the subtle color differences, and specifically contrast, between the two. To start, there are a few things to note about the two scanners.

FRONTIER:

  • Strong emphasis in the yellow/blue channel
  • Richer black point
  • Punchier color
  • Skin tones typically more golden

NORITSU:

  • Strong emphasis in the magenta/green channel
  • Light and airy (but can do dark and moody as well)
  • Unparalleled highlight retention
  • Skin tones typically more pink/peach

Keep in mind that neutral skin tones can be achieved on either scanner!

The Frontier has very limited options that a scanning technician can change.  Overall, they can focus on changing the intensity of the shadows or highlights, but the Frontier doesn’t have as wide of a range as the Noritsu.  The Noritsu has naturally lower contrast, but allows for much more customization in-scanner.

These images were shot on Portra 400 on an overcast day. Images shot when it is overcast tend to be higher in contrast. The light is really diffused, mainly affecting your highlights.  Additionally, shadows in your scene can be muddy or darker. You can see in the example below how the Noritsu was able to produce varying contrast results.  Because this image was high in contrast, the Frontier embraced that.

*Please note none of these examples have been modified in post production but your aesthetic can be further refined in post.

Frontier

Noritsu

As you can see by these comparisons, the Noritsu has a lot more flexibility when it comes to providing both low and high contrast. Ultimately, there is not an easy answer to which scanner is ‘best’. It just depends on your preferred aesthetic, and which scanner will help you receive the best product in the end!

If you would like to see a comparison on your own work, feel free to write that in the notes section of the order form! There is no added turnaround time for this comparison, just a small charge for the scanning portion only.

photo by Marla Cyree | Portra 400 | Pentax 645