Ok, well blogging is obviously something that doesn’t come naturally to me! It’s been a little while since my last post, but I’m going to do my best to stick with it!
It's been six months since I started this journey and I've loved every minute. So much so, that I’m now shooting film exclusively for my sessions! I originally told myself that I’d give it a year and then make the transition if it was working out, but to be honest I just couldn’t wait that long! And I think sometimes you just have to dive in with these things and go for it, rather than let all that self doubt creep in that tells you “you’re not ready for this”. I have a long way to go, and so much to learn but I've been consistently happy with my results and so have my clients. And besides, shooting film makes me so happy and that’s the only way I want to work from now on!
So, the website is getting an update and so is my branding, packages and products, and it's all very exciting and surreal. Last week I was featured on my favourite blog , The Fount Collective, and in the coming weeks/ months, my work will be featured on Magnolia Rouge (mind blown), and in The Fount Collective’s annual print publication! Dreams are being realised here, people!! And It’s all because I’ve embraced this medium which I’ve been dreaming about for years.
Some more exciting news for me is that I’ve switched labs and I am so happy! Not that I wasn’t happy with The Find Lab, but there have been so many positives with making the switch to Atkins in South Australia. Firstly, I am so happy to be supporting an Australian company, and supporting the growth of film photography in Australia! Secondly, I received scans back last week, less than a week from when I put the rolls in the post - Amazing!! That turn around time is a huge plus for me. Thirdly, I no longer feel like a number in a sea of thousands- I feel like a valued customer. From the beginning, I’ve known how important it would be for me to have a good relationship with my lab, and I feel like now that can happen. I’m really looking forward to working with the team at Atkins. I'm also so excited to start offering all of their beautiful print products to my clients.
So anyway, down to the nitty gritty… I thought I’d go through some of my shoots and share my process, settings etc and what I learned from each session. Maybe I am crazy doing this but I know that writing these things down after each session has really helped with consecutive sessions, and I hope this also helps some of you. Feel free to laugh at the stupidity of some of my mistakes! I’m still mastering metering and exposure and trying to bring that beautiful soft light to my images. Although I think the fact that it's the middle of winter has not been doing me any favours. I’ve had a lot of overcast days on shoots, which has been a little disappointing. I’m really looking forward to the return of summer and daylight savings!
Sari and Koko: Fuji 400h. Rated at 160 and metered for the shadows. Developed & Scanned by The Find Lab.
50% of this shoot was underexposed for my liking. Even though I rated my film at 160 and metered for the shadows, I failed to keep re-metering as I went. The light changed a lot on the day as well as my position and proximity to the subjects. I was still over the moon with the images but I did a bit of editing in Lightroom to get the look I wanted. Mainly I decreased the contrast and lifted shadows.
Mudgee: Fuji 400h rated at 200 and Kodak Portra 800 rated at 640. The Find Lab.
I was amazed with the scans from Mudgee! A lot of the images were taken under direct sun at midday on a 30 degree day and they are still so soft! I did next to no editing of these scans. I experimented with Portra 800 for the first time here (right hand image). I was happy with the images but not so in love with the colours. I could’ve probably gotten a nicer result if I’d over-exposed a bit more.
Trille Floral: Fuji 400h. Rated at 400 and pushed +1. Atkins Pro Lab.
The concept, lighting situation, lab, everything was new to me for this shoot! My first time doing a full session indoors, I thought there was plenty of light but when I started metering I was getting readings of 1/8 and 1/16 for shutter speed when rating the film at 200. So I bit the bullet and decided to rate at 400 and push one stop in development. This worked so well and Atkins did an incredible job. This was my first session using them so I was so nervous to have them push the film. It still gave a really natural and soft look so I was so happy, and I won't hesitate to push film if I need to in the future. I didn’t do much in Lightroom to these scans. I mainly added some warmth and lifted shadows here and there.
(sorry, I can't share the images from this session just yet).
Stitt Family: Fuji 400h rated at 100. Atkins Pro Lab.
This was a really overcast day and I wanted to make sure the images were nice and bright so I rated at 100 and metered for the shadows which turned out to be a good decision. I experimented with movement a lot in this session which was fun. I was really happy with these images and did hardly any editing in lightroom. You can see the full set of images on The Fount Collective’s blog here.
Fearn Family: Fuji 400h rated at 160. Atkins Pro Lab.
I was so excited on the day of this session as it was the first time I’d had a lot of sunlight for a family session. I loved the images although I thought I could have made better decisions about the direction I shot in. Most of the images have the headland directly behind which has prevented me from achieving that really soft, airy look. Despite that, I do love how they turned out. It was the first family session for which I’d given myself permission to just run with what happened in terms of their movement and interaction. I often find myself not pressing that shutter in fear of wasting film. But I know now that this is holding me back and preventing me from capturing really natural moments. I burned through my rolls really quickly because of it, but it was worth it to capture beautifully natural shots of this family.
I’m learning from each shoot, just how much my metering decisions, light, positioning, and location/ background all work together to create the overall look of the image. I know that this is really obvious! But coming from digital where I could easily fix a lighting mistake on the spot, it kind of took all of the guess work out of it for me and I suppose it prevented me from really understanding how and what I was shooting. I often didn’t stop to think about all the elements and how they worked together to create the look I was after. Just another reason I love shooting film!
I want to keep experimenting with metering, and rating film in the coming weeks and I'll report back soon! Please leave a comment or send me an email if you find these posts helpful, or if you have any questions.