I am finally posting photographs from one of my favorite photo shoots from this past summer. I had just bought a used film camera, a Mamiya 645AF, and I wanted to try it out. So I found a Facebook friend who had some time and had the looks that worked for a promotional photo shoot.
I picked downtown Salt Lake City for our location. I absolutely love downtown for photography and portraits. This photo shoot centered on about 2 blocks and we just took a walk around the block to find different textures, graffiti, and backgrounds. Because this is film and one of my first portrait sessions entirely on film, I went all natural light. Natural light is “what you see is what you get.” There is less of a chance of screwing things up, especially with brand new gear (brand new to me, it was used).
The camera has multiple film backs, meaning I can switch from color film to black and white film pretty easily. I am a fan of color anyway and I can always turn color into black and white. But this whole shoot was an experiment. I think in future photo shoots, I will shoot a 2 to 1 ratio. I will shoot 2 rolls of color for every 1 roll of black and white film. That will change if a client wants more color or more b&w. I can see some clients shunning black and white entirely.
Natural light looks best early in the morning or later in the evenings. In the valley, I usually will push for an evening shoot because the mountains on the east don’t give us much golden morning light in the morning.
Once we shot the rolls of film, I sent them off to Richard Photo Lab in California. To this point they have done the best job a developing, processing, and scanning the film. They do all the color correction for me and they photographs look great. I have been testing a few different labs and RPH has given me the best results and clients have loved the results.
One thing I will do in the future is limit how much gear I am carrying with me. I will try and keep it to one camera and then 2-3 lenses and a reflector. Keeping gear simple means I can focus more on my subject and less on everything else. Don’t worry, I always have a backup camera and gear ready. That is why cars have trunks, for the backup gear.
And last shoot of the night is a Polaroid. Technically the film is not Polaroid. The film is made by a new company called Impossible Project. They make film that will work in old Polaroid cameras. This is some black and white film. The photo is a bit out of focus but it is similar to gambling, you don’t know what you are going to get. And it is one of a kind.