Depending on how long you’ve been shooting film, you have likely wondered how different film stocks perform for street photography. Below are 3 film stocks you should try if you haven’t already, along with how I like to expose them.
I started shooting with Portra 400 when I was working as wedding photographer. Its perfect for creating dreamy, pastel coloured images. Which is why it is so popular for wedding photography. However I’ve had success shooting this film stock on the street.
Most of the time with Portra 400 I like to over expose the film by +2 stops. This means tricking the camera into thinking I am using a slower speed film therefore resulting in a wider aperture or slower shutter speed. When you overexpose colour film and develop at box speed you increase the pastel colour effect and bring more warmth and contrast into the image.
Kodak TRI-X is my all time favourite film. Its beautiful to work with, easy to develop at home and perfect for pushing to get more detail in the shadows. I like the grain structure of this film when exposing for the shadows at 1600 ISO.
I do this by pointing my light meter into the shadowed area of the street and exposing for that value. So this means you will be getting all the detail in the shadows whilst not losing detail in the highlights. This film is extremely versatile and can deal with massive differences in exposure across the frame.
Some people prefer the look and feel of Ilford HP5 compared to TRI-X, personally I’ve shot both and found I prefer the grain structure of TRI-X more. I also found that whilst developing film at home, HP5 consistently dried with a purple cast, which I was never to sure how to remove during the developing and fixing process.
HP5 preform similarly to TRI-X in terms of how you can push it from box speed of 400 ISO to 1600 ISO. This makes it a useful alternative to TRI-X if you can’t find stock locally.
Its definitely worth trying HP5 to see if you prefer how your images look shooting it.