I am new here and could really use some help deciding on a film. I am
doing photographs for my friends engagement and was wondering on types
of film and aperture settings. We will be most likely shooting outside
and will probably be a sunny day. I am using an Pentax MZ-30 with a
standard lens or maybe a 100mm(I think thats what it is) what type of
film would you suggest? Standard 400 iso? or something lower/higher? And
this will undoubtedly mark me as an newbie but what are the "rules" for
using a higher or lower aperture setting than that of the film/the
effects on the finished product.
Thanks a million and a half.
I hate to sound negative, but the questions you are asking are SO
newbie that you really have no business doing a project as important as
you are stating. You don't seem to have any real understanding of
photography. You are asking questions that have no meaning (the film
does not have an aperture setting). You have not even a clue what type
of film to use: the film, not the ISO is important. You don't really
know which lenses to use or why. Please. You need to learn a lot more
about photography before you do this project. If you are just an "add
on" picture taker then that's fine, but you shouldn't be the primary
photographer at the level you seem to be.
First, an engagement portrait is a very important milestone, and needs a
professionally done portrait. When you have surgery done, do you want it
done by someone whose qualification is that he's good with knives?
That said, here's some advise:
The faster the film speed, the larger the grain, which will show up in
enlargements and may be objectionable, particularly in portraits. So for
portraits, especially if plenty of light is available, you want a slower
A sunny day is not your friend for portraits. Direct sunshine can emphasize
facial flaws, and cause the dreaded "racoon eyes" effect. Open shade is
generally better for portraits.
For correct exposure, use the camera's meter. But make sure that you are
metering the correct subject. The meter wants to expose so that what it is
looking at ends up 18% gray. If you are metering a white shirt, it will try
to make it darker. If you are metering a black jacket, it will try to make
it look lighter. The average hand palm is nearly 18% gray.
When shooting portraits, generally the best focal length is 1.5 power. For a
35mm camera, a 50mm lens is 1 power, a 100mm lens is 2 power. Ideally, you
want a 75mm lens, but the 100mm will be good. As to lens aperatures: a
smaller aperature setting (higher number, such as f/11 or f/16) will have
greater depth of focus (also called depth of field), so more of the
background and foreground will be in focus. A bigger aperature (lower
number, such as f/1.8 or f/2.8) will have less depth of focus, which will
blur the background, putting more emphasis on your subject. Changing the
aperature will require a corresponding change in shutter speed.
The questions you ask indicate that you need some more study/reading about
photography basics. Please, please check out your local library and get some
books on basic photography. Get some practise using one film type and a
variety of shutter speeds and f/stops. It will be hard work, but it will be
well worth it. (BTW, the next accessory you should consider is a good
tripod- using a tripod will make a world of difference in your photos.)