HELP--which color print film for a wedding?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by ted_kaufman, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. This is not exactly a LF question, but I can't think of a more knowledgeable group to pose this question to, so please bear with me.

    <p>

    I have gotten roped into shooting a friend's wedding. Since I've always used transparency films for all commercial and personal work, I don't know much at all about color print films.

    <p>

    What film(s) do wedding guys use? I'll probably shoot this on 35mm. Enlargments are not likely to exceed 8x10. I'm most concerned with achieving soft and natural skin tones and holding detail in the white dress while not blocking up foliage.

    <p>

    The last time I shot a wedding--about 30 years ago!--a wedding photographer from my home town told me all the wedding guys send their film to labs that specialize in wedding prints. I used a lab he recommended and I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and particularly by the accurate skin tones. Do any of you know if such labs still exist and where I might find one?
     
  2. I use kodak portra nc 400 @ 200.

    <p>

    good luck
    eck
     
  3. I also use Portra NC 400. A very good lab is the Herff Jones Labs in
    Minnesota.(they used to be called Camera Arts)
     
  4. I have done a large number of weddings and bar-mitzvahs and do all my
    own colour printing. The best films in my opinion, for flesh tones,
    response to varied light conditions, and grain, are in Fuji's lineup:
    NPS 160, NPL 160 (tungsten) and NPH 400. I have tested NPH 400
    against Kodak's Portra 400 and NPH has finer grain and slightly lower
    contrast. For 35mm I have often used Fuji Superia Reala but now I feel
    that NPS is a slightly better film. Fuji Superia Reala has very
    accurate colour and very smooth grain especially in flesh tones, but I
    think NPS handles a wider range of lighting and produces eaasier to
    print flesh tones under flash lighting. So in summary, for flash
    shooting--NPS 160; for available light where adequate--Reala; for
    lower light levesl--NPH 400 (which has very fine grain for an EI 400
    film. You can also get NPH in an 800 EI version but it gets pretty
    grainy.
     
  5. Yes, I've shot plenty of weddings this year and usually shoot with
    fuji nph 400 for the 35mm shots and fuji nps 160 for the medium
    format formal shots. Once I shot with the npl when I lit the format
    shots with lowel tota lights, but I usually use strobes with a
    daylight film like nps. The kodak portra line of film is fine too.
    Either will work great. Oh, and if you need it, the fuji nghII 800
    speed and whatever the new model is that just replaced the nghII is
    good stuff for low light shooting. But shoot it at n-1/3 and develop
    normal to keep good density in the shadows...
     
  6. Fuji NPH 400 is great...Like you I only do weddings as favors to very
    good friends. NPH is very fine grained and will easily go to 8x10
    with no problem. You'd be surprised what some regular wedding
    photographers charge...lots of $$$$$'s

    <p>

    Good Luck
    FWB
     
  7. We use NPS in 120 for fomals and NPH in 35mm for candids.
    We service a diverse population and find that these two are
    much better than any of the Kodak line for accurately portraying a
    wide range of skin tones. Clients are delighted, many crediting
    us for being "better" photographers for the matchup in tones. By
    the way, more as a convenience than for better results on film,
    we expose the NPS at 100 ISO, the same as the Polaroids we
    use for proofing. Results with the NPS are still great, and it sure
    helps when proofing a setup.

    <p>

    We are really happy with ProLab, Inc. in Seattle. WA.
    (800-426-6770) or (www.digitalimaging.com). Their work has
    been consistently above par in the 10+ years we have used
    them, and their staff is especially alert for problems, either on
    our side or their side of the process.

    <p>

    Hank
     
  8. Mind you, I don't shoot weddings. But NPS and NPH are my favorite
    color print films. The kodak films people have suggested are great
    also. It all comes down to a matter of opinion.
     
  9. As a career wedding shooter,I'll offer my 2c.Many prefer the
    green boxes,but the Portra films still do a fine job.I shoot the 160
    VC out doors with fill flash,and the 400NC indoors with flash.All of
    these films (including the Fuji's)have amazing low grain,providing
    you dont underexpose them.This might be where the "shoot at 320 or
    200", stuff comes from.Follow the sage advice of exposing for the
    shadows with neg stocks,and you will do fine at the box speed.These
    modern pro films are made to allow high contrast subjects ,such as a
    bride in white & groom in black.Also have a high exposure
    latitude.Many foolishly over expose these films grossly.All this does
    is pushes caucasian skin onto the films shoulder,and blows out the
    details.Meter carefully shoot at box speed.Good luck & happy shooting.
     
  10. For the admittedly limited color work that I do, I've always
    preferred Portra 160 NC.
     
  11. I used Portra 400VC for one wedding season and then I switched to
    Agfa Optima 400 II after that. I just don't see any quality
    difference between the major league films except that the Agfa is
    2/3's the price.

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    About year ago Photo Techniques did a test on all of the pro ISO 400
    prints films and I fully expected the Agfa film to bring up the
    rear. Well in the vast majority of testing areas it actually won!
    the only thing that the Agfa doesn't do well is when you need to
    push it. I guess there's a significant colour shift when you try
    it, so I've promised myself that I won't!

    <p>

    I would strongly suggest that whatever brand you choose, that you
    use an ISO 400 film. Your flash will be a stop and a third more
    powerful and you won't be dropping down nearly as far for available
    light shots in the church. One year I bought a box of ISO 160 film
    and a few rolls of 400 for emergiencies. Then I found that I was
    using the 400 first while ignoring the 160. So bye bye 160!
     
  12. Thank you all for your responses. I was leaning toward Fuji NPS and
    NPH films, and since the predominance of your comments affirmed my
    inclination, that's what I'll go with.

    <p>

    One final concern. I'm meticulous about exposure, so I will not
    carelessly underexpose. However, I'm wondering if I should expose at
    the rated speed or overexpose a little. I assume with color negative
    films underexposure should be avoided. But I want maximum saturation
    and sharpness, so I don't want to overexpose if it's not necessary.
    What do you guys do? Incidentally, I'll be stuck shooting at
    virtually high noon--sigh!
     
  13. NPH @ 250 Problem solved, one film, one speed.
     
  14. Hi

    I work with Portra film 160, 400, and 800 ASA VC if it is bad weather and NC if it is a sunny day.
    I did till now over 100 weddings and portra is my first choice!

    Armin Seeholzer Switzerland
     
  15. I've used both the Fuji and the Kodak products mentioned in previous posts. I have been happy with both brands. With caucasian skin, I meter for the skin and open up one stop. If your shoot is all outdoors, I'd go with the slowest film so you can shoot wide open, yet have a slow enough shutter speed to sync up for fill flash. I shoot the 160 films at 100, fill flash at 1 to 1.5 stops less than the base exposure for shooting outdoors. I meter carefully, and have yet to have problems pushing the high values into the shoulder of the curve.

    Since you are used to shooting slide film, you will have no problems with the print film :)
     
  16. FWIW, you can now post these generic photography questions to the main photo.net board, and even better, search the archives there and read the HUNDREDS of threads on exactly this same subject. :)
     
  17. another - late - vote from austria: portra 160 or 400, vc or nc (depends on the light)

    rgds
    herwig prammer
     

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