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Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Hello 2 months ago I returned to photography after a long absence and decided to buy a 5x4 camera..I had always loved them since my days at college. I have done a few shoots with it..one test shot with a mannequin where obviously there is no pressure of speed..and two shoots with models...though inevitably I return to using my 35mm camera as a safety crutch and so the model does not get bored.
Anyone else use a 5x4 for fashion and if so would be grateful for any pointers.

thank you. smile
Jan 02 13 10:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toby Key
Posts: 322
Chichester, England, United Kingdom


I use 5x4 for portraits sometimes. I would say the main thing you have to do with large format is to make sure you are very well prepared for the shoot and that you have a very good idea of poses, lighting and composition before you start. Perhaps even make a sketch of what you want to do beforehand. 5x4 is too expensive and too cumbersome make it up as you go along. If you still find you are shooting too slow, get an assistant to help with operating the camera. They can load the dark slides while you deal with directing the model and operating the lens/shutter.
Jan 02 13 11:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leonard Gee Photography
Posts: 16,101
Sacramento, California, US


1. Sinar binocular reflex magnifier and light hood

2. lots of film holders

3. optional Sinar automatic behind the lens shutter
Jan 02 13 11:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhillipM
Posts: 6,347
Martin, Tennessee, US


I shoot catalog work, but it's digital, but I do shoot 4x5 for giggles.

If I were to entertain 4x5 for fashion, it would be with an old Press Camera Style box like a speed graphic.  Easy to hold, and move with.
Jan 02 13 11:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Ignacio M
Posts: 21
Houston, Texas, US


Snowmonkey Design wrote:
Hello 2 months ago I returned to photography after a long absence and decided to buy a 5x4 camera..I had always loved them since my days at college. I have done a few shoots with it..one test shot with a mannequin where obviously there is no pressure of speed..and two shoots with models...though inevitably I return to using my 35mm camera as a safety crutch and so the model does not get bored.
Anyone else use a 5x4 for fashion and if so would be grateful for any pointers.

thank you. smile

From the land of William Henry Fox Talbot!!!

Of course you can do Fashion Photography with a 4X5 camera. The most important thing to know is whether you are shooting with Sunlight or Artificial Lighting. The Sunlight is always constant no matter how far the model and you are from the Sun but with artificial lighting the Inverse Square Law of Light begins to have an effect on exposure and contrast. There is no longer 4X5 Instant film available for you to check exposure, the quantity and quality of light. You will have to mark spots for your model and light stands and make sure that you are not further than the lights are from the model to insure the correct exposure. The other suggestion is to get a 405 Polaroid film holder because the Polaroid 600 series is still available. All can be done but 4X5 requires much technical planning in the studio but when it is done you can work fairly fast. Test the film first and then do your serious work after that. Everyone is as good or as bad with their last work that was produced.

Jan 02 13 11:51 am  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 21,063
New York, New York, US


Fashion is a pretty all encompassing term.  Rifling through the pages of any fashion magazine will yield a plethora of different types of imagery.  Some is very suited to large format work, while others are not.  So first I would suggest choosing the right camera for the task or, conversely, choosing the right task for your camera.

This was shot with a 4x5 using Provia 100f:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120824/21/50384dc261d70_m.jpg

I knew the portrait I wanted to take and I knew I wanted to shoot LF.  I wanted to use a view camera for two reasons:

1) I wanted the large negative

2) I wanted the perspective control.  You could not shoot this shot any other way.  If you tried to shoot it with a DSLR or any camera without movements, you would not have been able to get the same perspective and show the top of the dresser and her arms.  A DSLR positioned at the same place with a lens of equivalent focal length would results in the top of the dresser being hidden from view.  The movements of a view camera allowed me to get the shot I wanted.

View cameras tend to lend themselves to more static shots, of which there are plenty in fashion.  Smaller formats tend to lend themselves to more dynamic shots, of which there are also plenty of in fashion.  Horses for courses. 

As far as a reflex hood goes.  I've never used one or really saw the need for one.  Personally, I'm used to looking at the image upside down and backwards and I'd rather achieve critical focus with a loupe on ground glass, but you may find you like having one.

A press camera is a great way to combine some of the aspects of LF photography with a more dynamic style, however, I'm not sure how practical it is (not that practicality really matters much).  By this I mean, when using a press camera in such a dynamic fashion (pun intended) you are giving up most of what shooting a LF camera has going for it, meaning the movements.  You are instead using it as a regular camera with the only benefit being the large 4x5 negative (or positive).  That is indeed a benefit for many applications and this solution may be exactly what you need - I don't know what you're intending to do with the resulting photographs.  But you might not need a negative that size for your intended use and, if so, using a MF camera would be a bit simpler. 

Having said that, I still enjoy using a monorail studio camera for studio shots even when I'm not taking great advantage of the cameras movements.  In this shot:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120224/21/4f486d3d577f7_m.jpg

I used a slight bit of forward tilt to move the plane of focus, but not much and I could have done without it by stopping down more. But I wanted to make a very large wet print from the negative and I wanted the very high degree of detail that the 4x5 provides.
Jan 02 13 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Toby Key wrote:
I use 5x4 for portraits sometimes. I would say the main thing you have to do with large format is to make sure you are very well prepared for the shoot and that you have a very good idea of poses, lighting and composition before you start. Perhaps even make a sketch of what you want to do beforehand. 5x4 is too expensive and too cumbersome make it up as you go along. If you still find you are shooting too slow, get an assistant to help with operating the camera. They can load the dark slides while you deal with directing the model and operating the lens/shutter.

Thanks Toby, for feedback...well I try and work out images I wish to do at least two weeks or more in advance, including running the lighting in my head..I agree 5x4 is expensive so I got a 120 roll film holder..also to try and speed things up..plenty of dark slides as dealer through them in..as for assistant, by the time I have paid for the model/ props etc could not afford one..besides that can cramp style...I have found the models very patient and understanding..but because I want to keep the momentum, especially when they respond brilliantly I revert to 35mm..even though they say they not bored...I know I would be whilst loading film. hence I decided  to practise on a mannequin until I become more fluid...smile

Jan 02 13 01:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Leonard Gee Photography wrote:
1. Sinar binocular reflex magnifier and light hood

2. lots of film holders

3. optional Sinar automatic behind the lens shutter

hmm thanks Leonard .
I am using a Sinar a second hand F2..I use my glasses and an old agfa loupe to focus...not certain but was told the automatic lens shutter not for my design of lens..but  going to dealer this week so will ask..anything that makes life easier and quicker sounds good to me. smile

Jan 02 13 01:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


PhillipM wrote:
I shoot catalog work, but it's digital, but I do shoot 4x5 for giggles.

If I were to entertain 4x5 for fashion, it would be with an old Press Camera Style box like a speed graphic.  Easy to hold, and move with.

hmm, I thought of getting an old press style camera but the Sinar was always my dream since my college days..so last October sold my digital gear, and Mamiya to realise it...mind you I have yet to take it on location ..will probably work out in a gym for a month before I do....or  put it on a trolly n drag it. smile

Jan 02 13 01:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Carlos Ignacio M wrote:

From the land of William Henry Fox Talbot!!!

Of course you can do Fashion Photography with a 4X5 camera. The most important thing to know is whether you are shooting with Sunlight or Artificial Lighting. The Sunlight is always constant no matter how far the model and you are from the Sun but with artificial lighting the Inverse Square Law of Light begins to have an effect on exposure and contrast. There is no longer 4X5 Instant film available for you to check exposure, the quantity and quality of light. You will have to mark spots for your model and light stands and make sure that you are not further than the lights are from the model to insure the correct exposure. The other suggestion is to get a 405 Polaroid film holder because the Polaroid 600 series is still available. All can be done but 4X5 requires much technical planning in the studio but when it is done you can work fairly fast. Test the film first and then do your serious work after that. Everyone is as good or as bad with their last work that was produced.

Hello Carlos thank you for your response....erm sorry wasn't meant as is it feasible but whether anyone still used them...I have yet to take a model on location with my 5x4, but if I sell my studio in March..I will have no option if I want to continue photography whilst I hunt for another.
I have just purchased a polaroid back  capable of taking 120 pack film Fuji instant and it fits on my Sinar. One of my problems was that using a digital camera made me lazy...so I hope this will get me back on track.
I also have a Sinar 6 meter though it does not sink with flash ..and attempting to do so gave me an inaccurate reading..I got better results using my Minolta spot meter..then using a tape measure..and calculations to work out bellows extension..but again that takes time..and as said even though model is patient..I think ah got to speed up..and I don't want to loose the atmosphere.
If I do shoot in day light I would have no hassle with the Sinar 6...
I agree completely with your last comment..I trying to aim though that each session gets better. smile

Jan 02 13 01:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ArtisticGlamour
Posts: 3,846
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Lens with a PC connection shutter...to control "off camera" lighting triggers.
http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g461/TyPortfolio/shutterwithX.jpg
Jan 02 13 01:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Paramour Productions wrote:
Fashion is a pretty all encompassing term.  Rifling through the pages of any fashion magazine will yield a plethora of different types of imagery.  Some is very suited to large format work, while others are not.  So first I would suggest choosing the right camera for the task or, conversely, choosing the right task for your camera.

This was shot with a 4x5 using Provia 100f:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120824/21/50384dc261d70_m.jpg

I knew the portrait I wanted to take and I knew I wanted to shoot LF.  I wanted to use a view camera for two reasons:

1) I wanted the large negative

2) I wanted the perspective control.  You could not shoot this shot any other way.  If you tried to shoot it with a DSLR or any camera without movements, you would not have been able to get the same perspective and show the top of the dresser and her arms.  A DSLR positioned at the same place with a lens of equivalent focal length would results in the top of the dresser being hidden from view.  The movements of a view camera allowed me to get the shot I wanted.

View cameras tend to lend themselves to more static shots, of which there are plenty in fashion.  Smaller formats tend to lend themselves to more dynamic shots, of which there are also plenty of in fashion.  Horses for courses. 

As far as a reflex hood goes.  I've never used one or really saw the need for one.  Personally, I'm used to looking at the image upside down and backwards and I'd rather achieve critical focus with a loupe on ground glass, but you may find you like having one.

A press camera is a great way to combine some of the aspects of LF photography with a more dynamic style, however, I'm not sure how practical it is (not that practicality really matters much).  By this I mean, when using a press camera in such a dynamic fashion (pun intended) you are giving up most of what shooting a LF camera has going for it, meaning the movements.  You are instead using it as a regular camera with the only benefit being the large 4x5 negative (or positive).  That is indeed a benefit for many applications and this solution may be exactly what you need - I don't know what you're intending to do with the resulting photographs.  But you might not need a negative that size for your intended use and, if so, using a MF camera would be a bit simpler. 

Having said that, I still enjoy using a monorail studio camera for studio shots even when I'm not taking great advantage of the cameras movements.  In this shot:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120224/21/4f486d3d577f7_m.jpg

I used a slight bit of forward tilt to move the plane of focus, but not much and I could have done without it by stopping down more. But I wanted to make a very large wet print from the negative and I wanted the very high degree of detail that the 4x5 provides.

Paramour Productions thank you for your feedback much appreciated...I have been using forward and back tilt..which got reasonable results but then saw video of guy using swing movements..ok on a still life but thought ooh I like that...but think I need to walk before run...as with the notion of doing multiple shots in camera.
Your image Gasinov is what I would aspire to...fantastic shot,  perfect in every respect, beautiful to look at....though I think i am quite a way off from achieving that..

thanks again all for your responses..it's helpful and appreciated. smile

Jan 02 13 02:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Andrew Thomas Evans
Posts: 24,078
Toulon, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur, France


Snowmonkey Design wrote:
Anyone else use a 5x4 for fashion and if so would be grateful for any pointers.

thank you. smile

It'd be fun, but you really need to plan the shoot, and plan what you're going to do and I think even have a real need for it to be done in film. That said, personally I don't give more or less credit to an image based on what it's shot on, the only thing that matters is the final image and its intent.




Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Jan 02 13 05:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Silver Mirage
Posts: 1,560
Plainview, Texas, US


I have used 4x5 (we say it backward here. LOL) for fashion and portraits, though not for a good many years.

To me the biggest difference is the pace of the session. You wind up thinking minutes per shot as opposed to shots per minute - or even per second. To me the difference in psychology and pacing was more important than the film size. It enforces a different kind of thought and concentration.

I used a view camera on tripod, with plenty of Polaroid to check lighting and to let the models see what was happening. I would typically shoot 4 to 6 Polaroids followed by a dozen or so regular film for each outfit. I did my own darkroom work, which helped keep the cost under control. Still, it was expensive.

I sometimes wish I could get back to that kind of pacing and mood, but I couldn't afford the time or the money now.
Jan 02 13 10:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Andrew Thomas Evans wrote:

It'd be fun, but you really need to plan the shoot, and plan what you're going to do and I think even have a real need for it to be done in film. That said, personally I don't give more or less credit to an image based on what it's shot on, the only thing that matters is the final image and its intent.




Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

hmm thank you for your feedback Andrew, as said I do plan in advance of shoot..but especially with the last one..I wasn't satisfied with things so used my 35mm more...that is not to denigrate 35mm I  love it as well..n I agree it is the final shot that counts...that said when I did my first test shoot with a mannequin..the excitement I got was unrivalled..I love developing too and for me seeing a larger negative come out of the fix is exciting..assuming it comes out as you hope..smile

Jan 03 13 03:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Silver Mirage wrote:
I have used 4x5 (we say it backward here. LOL) for fashion and portraits, though not for a good many years.

To me the biggest difference is the pace of the session. You wind up thinking minutes per shot as opposed to shots per minute - or even per second. To me the difference in psychology and pacing was more important than the film size. It enforces a different kind of thought and concentration.

I used a view camera on tripod, with plenty of Polaroid to check lighting and to let the models see what was happening. I would typically shoot 4 to 6 Polaroids followed by a dozen or so regular film for each outfit. I did my own darkroom work, which helped keep the cost under control. Still, it was expensive.

I sometimes wish I could get back to that kind of pacing and mood, but I couldn't afford the time or the money now.

Hello Silver Mirage, think we have spoken many moons ago..smile erm we probably put 4x5 here too, just I prefer the number 5.                                     I think you have hit the nail directly on the head, at least for me..it is vey psychological not just the pace of the shoot..it drops at the moment when I work with a model and the 5x4...but if everything is not as I practised or perfect then I return to the crutch as I put it...though perhaps I should not view it as that.
I had plenty of fuji but stopped after the first one..as felt.." it's too expensive "
I will though persevere as I want to get it right..not just in camera but also when I process..so I can go ok bingo..that's what I need.. hopefully too it will cut down the cost of how much film I shoot in a session. I use to feel that using 5x4 would help in this respect as it teaches you to look for that shot and conserve...for me I would like to get back to that point.

Thanks again Silver Mirage for your feedback..very helpful...n Happy New Year to you..and to everyone else ..cheers. smile

Jan 03 13 03:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,326
Glens Falls, New York, US


About a third of my portfolio is shot with a 4x5.  There's absolutely no reason you can't do it, but it will cost an awful lot - both in individual image costs, and the fact that you really should overshoot, since you don't get instant feedback.

As far as loupes ... I have a really nice Schneider one now, but if I'm honest it worked almost as well to reverse a manual 50mm lens and use that.  But the actual loupe is lighter, smaller, and won't scratch up my ground glass.

I actually find a view camera to be very easy to use for fashion photography, since that sort of work is all about poses and 'created' images.  I think it's a lot harder for more 'natural' work where you're trying to capture an expression before it fades, but I wouldn't give a second thought to using it for posed work.
Jan 03 13 08:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Snowmonkey Design
Posts: 4,633
London, England, United Kingdom


Zack Zoll wrote:
About a third of my portfolio is shot with a 4x5.  There's absolutely no reason you can't do it, but it will cost an awful lot - both in individual image costs, and the fact that you really should overshoot, since you don't get instant feedback.

As far as loupes ... I have a really nice Schneider one now, but if I'm honest it worked almost as well to reverse a manual 50mm lens and use that.  But the actual loupe is lighter, smaller, and won't scratch up my ground glass.

I actually find a view camera to be very easy to use for fashion photography, since that sort of work is all about poses and 'created' images.  I think it's a lot harder for more 'natural' work where you're trying to capture an expression before it fades, but I wouldn't give a second thought to using it for posed work.

Hello Zack, thank you for feedback...yeah am finding it expensive and im trying to set a deadline when I feel I can start charging again to pay it off...though kind of keeps extending.
Yes I agree with you on trying to capture an expression, which is why I keep going ah ..use the 35mm...also once the back is on..in a sense your shooting blind..with a 35mm you can keep focusing right up until the point that you shoot.
I hope to make a few adaptations this Saturday, including changing the 120 back I currently using on Toyo rapid fire..when placing it on the sheath can't be removed..so kind of defeats the object of speed.
I know I just got to keep practising until it becomes second nature and I can do the things you mention.
Cheers and Happy New Year Zack. smile

Jan 03 13 10:00 am  Link  Quote 
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