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4x5 for portraits

Oren Grad

Member
For sure! I wouldn't argue against using a standard 4x5 view camera for portraiture. It's just a matter of setting realistic expectations - it will likely take a bit more practice to achieve a decent yield of good negatives. But when you do, the results can be very nice indeed.
 
It's just a matter of setting realistic expectations - it will likely take a bit more practice to achieve a decent yield of good negatives. But when you do, the results can be very nice indeed.
Oh for sure. I wouldn't dream of jumping into portraits with a view camera straight away. I actually have very little experience with shooting portraits and using view cameras. Before even considering such a combination, I would start with getting sufficient practise with shooting portraits on digital. And also using a view camera with sheet film on static, non living subjects like still lifes and landscapes etc. Then after a period of time, I might be ready to tackle portraits with a view camera.
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
The GX680, in itself a unique camera, and a 4x5 camera are very different animals. The GX680 does however offer a great opportunity for practicing the use of movements at a more modest price, since it uses roll film (9 exposures per roll) and because the camera body and lenses can be had for very modest prices nowadays.

Don't expect to feel the winds of classic camera works blowing through your hair though. The GX680 is a design from the nineties and a very modern camera with batteries and LCD displays.
 

darr

Well-known member



ARCA SWISS + PS945 + Polaroid 55


ARCA SWISS + PS945 + Polaroid 55


--

I have made a few portraits with 4x5" cameras and nice lenses.

What I have found however, while most people are intrigued by the 'old type camera' they are sitting in front of, the experience of having to have them sit still while we go through our checklist of duties is not easy for them. So after going through it a few times before pulling the trigger, they still seem to feel out of sync with the experience. They really do have to freeze for a tiny bit, and that can come out looking unnatural IMO. There is a reason why a lot of the antique portraits of the past have unhappy faces staring back. Professional models are a different story and that is why they get paid for their talent. If I were a rich woman, I would hire beautiful male models to pose for me, but that is not possible. :ROTFL:

The two photos above are of my son and one of his friends. I had to direct them 100% and the best shots were the ones of them looking away from the camera, even tho I made a point of setting the camera up, and then standing next to the front standard to talk with them as I waited for the right moment to pull the trigger.

Not being able to look at the ground glass prior to pulling the trigger can be expensive too. I have decades of experience shooting portraits with medium format cameras and that is where I do my film portraiture. But it is always fun whenever my non-photography friends come to my studio and marvel at my big cameras.

Best of luck,
Darr
 

free1000

New member


I went with an 8x10.....the journey begins!
Ok, this is years later but I checked out your website and this shot which I guess was made on 8x10.

https://www.michaeljmoorephoto.com/Creative-Spaces/20

I love this image in every way.

Above all this image carries the nature of the relationship that happens when a photographer communicates with the sitter, this is something I think that is far more likely to get to this high level when shooting on a view camera. It also needs the right kind of sitter and relationship to start with of course.

Then there is the precision of how you've used placement of the focal plane to create the image, making the key points the sitter and his self portrait. The way in which the paint brushes and other objects are rendered out of focus but not in some overt way creates the poetry.

I've tried for years to capture this kind of image with digital backs on view cameras and smaller format cameras but its really tough to do. I've come close, but this is fabulous.

There is a book called 'Portrait Theory' from the 1970's printed by Ralph Gibson's "Lustrum press" that has some imagery like this but its rare work, I wonder if you've seen it?
 

Charles S

Active member
Lovely portraits !

Use shoot with LF gear as well, not as my main camera, but often enough.
I use the string method to nail the focus. Between the moment the camera is focused and the length of the string is set, the subjects can relax while I run through the checklist, and then have them pose only a couple of seconds before taking the shot. Hit rate (for focus) is about 90%, which is double of what it was without the string.

Cheers,
Charles

Picture1.jpg


--

I have made a few portraits with 4x5" cameras and nice lenses.

What I have found however, while most people are intrigued by the 'old type camera' they are sitting in front of, the experience of having to have them sit still while we go through our checklist of duties is not easy for them. So after going through it a few times before pulling the trigger, they still seem to feel out of sync with the experience. They really do have to freeze for a tiny bit, and that can come out looking unnatural IMO. There is a reason why a lot of the antique portraits of the past have unhappy faces staring back. Professional models are a different story and that is why they get paid for their talent. If I were a rich woman, I would hire beautiful male models to pose for me, but that is not possible. :ROTFL:

The two photos above are of my son and one of his friends. I had to direct them 100% and the best shots were the ones of them looking away from the camera, even tho I made a point of setting the camera up, and then standing next to the front standard to talk with them as I waited for the right moment to pull the trigger.

Not being able to look at the ground glass prior to pulling the trigger can be expensive too. I have decades of experience shooting portraits with medium format cameras and that is where I do my film portraiture. But it is always fun whenever my non-photography friends come to my studio and marvel at my big cameras.

Best of luck,
Darr
 

darr

Well-known member
Lovely portraits !

Use shoot with LF gear as well, not as my main camera, but often enough.
I use the string method to nail the focus. Between the moment the camera is focused and the length of the string is set, the subjects can relax while I run through the checklist, and then have them pose only a couple of seconds before taking the shot. Hit rate (for focus) is about 90%, which is double of what it was without the string.

Cheers,
Charles

View attachment 143748
I remember years ago a student getting a job at a department store studio and that was how they were taught to setup the lights; via string and spot on the floor!
Whatever works, works!

Lovely photo Charles!

Kind regards,
Darr
 
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