Shooting on Monsoon 35mm Film

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This week I shot a roll of Monsoon 35mm film. The aim of this film is to create saturated blue tones replicating the feel of post-monsoon rain…

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Overall i’m not sure how I feel about this 35mm film, I really like the blue tones but the images look really soft which is not normally the effect I go for. But I think it’s only fair to try it out in a different environment so next week I’m going to head to the seven sisters to photograph landscapes.

Shooting £1 Film at Night

Earlier this week a fairground rolled into town. I already had a roll of Agfa film (£1!) in my Olympus so I set out to see what I could document. As the ISO of the film (hows sensitive it is too light) is just 200 I used the flash to give the film a chance to capture what was going on.

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The fairground was fairly small so afterwards we headed out to explore Brighton after dark..

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Snapshots of a Robot Camera

For me, having fun with photography is what it’s all about, and this robot camera provides it in bucket loads.

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It’s super light, fits in your pocket and has 3 lenses. The viewfinder is non-existent as is the ability to frame a shot. But this camera is more about capturing moments with the hope that one of the 3 images is usable.

I got given this camera as a birthday present a couple of years ago. As I’m often working on commercial or personal projects this camera isn’t a viable option. But after so long collecting dust on my camera shelf surrounded by my beloved Olympus MJU II and Pentax 1000 I decided to take it with me everywhere I went for a week…

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Mixing up Your Portraits

It’s bound to happen, no matter how much you love photography you’ll hit a creative wall, a stumbling block, a rut. Sometimes the best way is to get out of it is to take break from photography- this can feel counterintuitive but it can work. OR the alternative is to keep photographing but you’ve got to mix it up and experiment.

Here, using the same model, I’ll give you a few tips and tricks I like to use when shooting portraits on location:

1.Use Depth

You should give the same amount of thought to the subjects location as much as their pose. Adding depth is a great way to make an image more interesting. My favourite way to do this is either leaving a gap between the subject and the background or by using  varied depth of field.

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2.Take a Step Back

Close up portraits can be a great way of capturing your subjects expression, mood and persona. But sometimes taking a step back and letting your subject get consumed by the location can result in a less-staged, more natural feeling portrait.

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By getting the model to stand on the middle stone it meant I could capture his full reflection in the water.

3. A Portrait Doesn’t Need to Include a Face

The aim of a portrait is often to capture the personality of the subject. You can photograph all kinds of things that reflect a persons personality, job, interests. Here I chose to photograph the models tattoo’s as they contribute to his identity.

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4.Use the Light (natural or artificial) 

If you’re ever feeling uninspired look to your nearest light source. You don’t have to use it- block it out, cast shadows or shoot night photography. But it does act as a restriction which often triggers creative ideas and solutions.

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5.Embrace a Lack of Ideas!

It never lasts for ever and some of the best ideas come after stepping back and taking a break from photography. The portrait below came from me wanting to photograph what it feels like to have a creative block…

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Why You Need to Shoot Black and White

Shooting black and white has many advantages. Stripping away colour makes you concentrate on utilising the available light and how you want to frame your subject.

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And if you’re in a creative rut, although it feels counter intuitive, it can really help to place restrictions on your photography.  It makes you pre-empt the final outcome and what affect black and white will have on your image.

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It also provides a great opportunity to look over the work of some photography greats such as Elliot Erwitt, Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier who only had black and white to work with.  You should also check out the work of William Eggleston who was a pioneer and one of the first to make the switch from black and white to colour photography.

I shot all these images on my Olympus MJU II with Ilford 35mm film.

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Shooting Expired Kodak Film

Last year I won the Ginnel Foto Fest Analogue awards. Part of my prize was being sent a box full of film. Some I’ve used before such as portra and Agfa, but there was also a roll of Kodak Tri X medium format film estimated to be 50 years old.

I have always wanted to shoot it so last weekend when me and my cousin went to Peacehaven. A small suburban town on the English coast where my cousin, Harry, grew up.

I got some surprisingly good results..

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If you ever get your hands on some expired film be sure to double check if your local lab develops it. After walking 40 minutes to mine it turns out they don’t develop expired films. If you’re based in the UK I would strongly recommend AG Photolab who are super friendly and based in Birmingham. I sent the film off on Wednesday and got it back today!

Portraits: How to Utilise your Location!

To take a great portrait you don’t need the latest high-tech equipment or a studio- although this can help. All you need is a camera, a model and the time to experiment.

I took all these shots within 1km of my flat using my Pentax K1000 35mm camera (around £100/$139).

Light

When shooting outdoors always look for where the sun is in the sky- light is a vital factor in creating a striking portrait. Golden hour  is a great time to shoot photography outside but if the light is strong it creates lots of interesting options..

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With great light comes shadows, always be on the look out for unusual shadows to add some depth to the portrait

BUT if you live in England or somewhere similar, the chances are if you’re waiting for sun you’ll never take a single photo. So if the light is dull look for an interesting composition or location to detract from the lack of light.

 

Background

Think about your background wether it adds to the image or detracts the focus. Graffiti can be a great way to add some colour to your image. If you just want the subject to be in focus make sure they’re standing at least one step away from the background to allow some depth in your image.

 

 

Framing your subject

Use what have around you; trees, building, graffiti etc. For example, in the image below by looking up at the building it not only frames the image it makes the subject more imposing. Flowers are also a great way to add colour and fill the frame.

 

Have fun and experiment

Photography is all about enjoyment and learning from the mishaps. When shooting portraits on film I would always recommend shooting different angles of the same shot.

 

Thankfully I took two shots in this location, despite the frame counter telling me different, the first image just happened to be the first of the roll.

Snapshots of Eastern Europe

After performing so well when I was living in Bangladesh I chose to take my Olympus MJUII 35mm camera on my Eastern European Adventure. I loaded it up with Agfa 35mm colour film and took it everywhere with me..

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If you missed any of my posts from the 4 cities me and Emily visited you can check them out here:

72 hours in Budapest

36 hours in Bratislava 

48 hours in Krakow

72 hours in Prague