Film Lab Advice
10 Things your Film lab wishes you knew
When I first started shooting film, I was pretty lost. I learned how to load my film from a YouTube video, and I had a light meter app on my iPhone. Not too smart. My first roll of film was out of focus, underexposed to the max, and not at all the look I thought I would get switching over from digital. But over time, with practice and lots of back and forth with my awesome film lab, I am finally at a point where I love the scans I get back!
The truth is, I’m still not perfect, and I still have questions for my lab, Photovision, from time to time. And sometimes, I’m not even sure of the right question to ask. So last week, I reached out to the wonderful people at Photovision and asked them to give me a list of 10 things that they wish us photographers knew to give photographers a little insight into the wonderful world of film. Thanks to Stephen and Ashley who gave me some pretty good tips, and I’ve listed them here!
PS: I actually learned something new reading this list as well! You never stop learning!!
1. Team work makes the dream work! Don’t wait till you’re frustrated. it’s okay and recommended to communicate with your lab, let us know what you like and what adjustments may be needed for future orders
2. Submit consistent reference images. We want to match your style the best we can! Submit reference images with skin tones, density and contrast in mind. Skin tones are always scanned as priority, so you want your subject to be filling most of the frame.
3. Consistent and proper exposures is key! Use your Exposure Reference sheets to study your exposures. Use this handy-dandy guide as reference! ( http://photovisionprints.com/exposure-reference-sheet)
4. Meter and meter often. Consistent exposures come from consistent metering. (we are hoping to create a blog post soon to go over proper metering techniques)
5. Lighting, lighting, lighting! Study your light in a scene and adjust accordingly. Contrasty lighting can lead to contrasty scans. Flat light can lead to flat scans. Read your light and break out that handy reflector when needed.
6. Don’t be scared to stop down! Though F2.8 is BEAUTIFUL you can also achieve similar looks when shooting at F4.0, or F5.6. AND you’ll have better odds of getting your full subject in focus. 😉
7. Keep your tripod close by for those darker shooting environments.
8. Number your rolls. When film is scanned chronologically it leads to more consistent scans and moves through the lab at a quicker pace. The best part—your film will be uploaded in numerical order so the organizing is done for you! 🙌
9. Experiment by changing one variable at a time. When starting out with film, experimenting is so important to find what works best for you! But be careful to only change one variable at a time so you can easily identify which changes yield which results.
10. Don't spend too much time trying to be like other photographers. It's okay to appreciate others’ work, but constant comparison will hinder your ability to grow as your own creative. "
Looking to learn more about film photography and ready to make an educational investment in your business?