B&W Wedding

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Hello, whats the best film that can handle the contrast between the bride's white gown and the grooms black tux?I tried T-Max 400 one time and wound up doing LOTS of burning and dodging.I would really apreciate any responses. Thanks, John

-- john koe (jvk@direct.ca), March 28, 1999


I have been using Freestyle's Arista 125 and 400 in 120 format for a few months, and I am sold on it. About 7 minutes in HC 110 1:31 for a fairly soft neg, and you can run out to 10 or 12 minutes to increase the contrast without much increase in grain that I can see.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), March 29, 1999.

In my experience, the T-Max films run a bit contrasty with most developers. For people pictures with the dreaded "white dress/black tux" syndrome, you're much better off with an "old tech" film like Tri-X or Plus-X.

Agfapan 100 is particularly good (at least in D-76 1:1), featuring pretty fine grain for an old tech film and beautiful, smooth gradation; it doesn't block up in highlights or shadows at the drop of hat like T-Max... and Caucasian skintones are rendered with an unusual, subtle glow. (And even in 35mm, the grain is good enough to make nice 11x14s. If you're shooting medium format, even better.)

-- Michael Goldfarb (mgoldfar@mobius-inc.com), March 29, 1999.

I've shot a lot of weddings with Ilford HP5 Plus, developed in Ethol UFG. Nice soft results that compensate for the fact that I'm shooting with on-camera flash, and no blocking up of highlights in the bridal gown. Its response to highlight detail improves even more when pulled one stop.

I've also heard good things about Fuji Neopan 400, another "old tech" film that is similar to Tri-X, although it may run a tad contrastier than HP5. Maybe someone with direct experience with Neopan can comment.

-- Mason Resnick (bwworld@mindspring.com), March 29, 1999.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned TCN or XP2 Super. Both these films can tame contrast, and have tremendous lattitude for over exposure. I love them for snow or beach scenes. Also, I find non-photographers don't like grainy skin tones. TCN gives that bride a creamy complexion. Also gives great results with flash. When printed on warm tone paper, you get a great "medium format, 1950's" look. But be sure you have it processed by a good lab. A lot of one hour joints seem to scratch negatives as a routine part of the processing.

-- Phil Stiles (pjs@worldpath.net), April 15, 1999.

The neopan is great. I infact just did some wedding shots with HP5 and did not like them at all. The neopan was hands down better and will use it alot more in the future. Also the kodak CN stuff seemed pretty good with direct flash stuff.

-- swanky (tswanky@home.com), May 03, 1999.

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