The Phoblographer’s Guide to Better Portraits in Natural Light

Before we begin this article, let’s make this clear: never call yourself a natural light photographer. But beyond that, know the basics. Portraiture is hard enough but actually make the most of natural lighting is really a skill. It isn’t as simple as going out there and just shooting. Indeed, knowing how to use natural light in the best ways has to do with actually knowing how to look at light and judge how it will appear in an image.

Though we always tell folks to learn how to use a flash, here’s how to make the most of what you have if all you have is natural light.

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Should You Barter a Trade for Your Photography Services?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra500TTL Images portraits with Amanda (6 of 11)ISO 1001-4000 sec at f - 1.6


No–that’s the answer that every photographer will tell you as you read this and think about it. To be more precise, the photographers that do this for a living will tell you this. To be fair and respectfully so, the photographers that do this for a living are probably a lot better than many people are. However, lots of artists tend to barter with one another to do fair and equal trades. With that said, it’s about something like: “Hey, I’ll shoot for you and you can give me the equivalent amount of X to be fair.”

A big emphasis on fair trade here.

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Chart: The Look of Film Photography Explained in Terms of White Balance

How many of you can tell the difference between daylight white balance and shade or Tungsten?

When you think of daylight white balance, we’re positive that many of you have a tough time figuring it out. You’re probably shooting in auto white balance. And if you had to take an educated guess, you’d think that it would be a warm-toned balance. Daylight is indeed warmer than Tungsten, at least in terms of white balance. And the way that it works is that the two try to cancel each other out. Tungsten lights are pretty warm, so the white balance has to be very cool. Daylight is very cool, so the white balance needs to be warm. However, folks like their images to be even warmer. If this is all sounding confusing to you, then please check out our infographic below.

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A Handy Guide to Shooting Film for the New Film Photographer

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The world of film photography has returned. (We’ve only been clamoring about it for years now.) It’s finally at a place where it’s stable enough to live alongside digital. Lots of us shoot film because it’s different. It’s fun, and we get into a totally different mindset when we do it. You have to think about it in a different way. You’re forced to create in a unique way. So we’re exploring and sharing a quick guide to shooting film if you’re new to it.

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Shooting Film? All Natural Light Portrait Photographers Need This Tool

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The reflector is one of the most underrated and forgotten about items that any natural light portrait photographer could have. Folks tend to just forget it. Instead, they think that film will do a good enough job and that they can edit it later. But the reality is that you just get really bad-looking scans and edits. With film, you truly need to work at it in-camera. The majority of the work needs to be done when shooting. If anything, just clarity and a bit of sharpening can be done in post-production. 

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Titus Popławski Creates Dreamy Analog Photos You’ll Fall in Love With

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“I do not see the need to modify what the film has developed and kill its character,” explains Titus Popławski. And if there’s one thing his photographs are full of, it’s character. In fact, his analog photography is some of the best we’ve seen – period. His images are packed with color, and they have a dose of mystery that keeps you gripped. We’re excited to share his work and show you more about the man behind the camera.

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Film Photography Needs to Do Something Digital Doesn’t

Film photography has undoubtedly made a comeback, but it needs differentiation from digital.

Some of you may think I’m nuts to say that film photography is back. But it really, truly is. In the pandemic, more people decided to take it up and start their own darkrooms. It’s fun and a completely different way of creating images that everyone should try–at least for a month! However, I only see the current film renaissance as a way for film to truly find its own place. And to do that, I think film needs to do something that digital doesn’t do. For that, it will come down to the final image.

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The Fujifilm X Pro 3 Has Something Uniquely Special About It

The Fujifilm X Pro 3 is the best camera on the market for anyone who doesn’t want to stare at a screen all day.

“Aren’t you just sick of all these zoom meetings,” is what a rep called and told me on the phone earlier in the pandemic. She called me out of the blue, and I completely agreed with her. But I didn’t realize how deep her words hit me. The entire staff has discussed how we’re all sick of staring at screens. And the Fujifilm X Pro 3 is the perfect answer to that. Yes, there are options like the Leica M10-D. But you’ll probably complain about its price more than you will the X Pro 3’s screen. 

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The Color Film Photography Blind Taste Test: Can You Figure This Out?

The purpose of this article is to help you decide which of nine C-41 color film stocks, of those currently available in the US, is right for you. If you’d rather digest this content in video form rather than article, that’s an option as well.

To make this blind comparison, I took, and will compare three identical shots, each taken on the nine emulsions discussed in this video. You’ll be able to compare these photos “blind”, meaning you won’t know which stock is which ahead of time. I’ll also talk through some of the differences from my perspective. This will be especially interesting to you newer film shooters looking to find a color film that fits best with your style of shooting, developing, and/or budget. But even if you’re a long-time film shooter, you may find it interesting.

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5 of Our Favorite Film Rangefinder Cameras (One for Everyone)

If you’re really looking for a solid film rangefinder camera, you should know that you don’t need to spend a whole lot.

When I went on my journey to grow as a photographer, some of the best tools that I had were film rangefinder cameras. I’m still very much of the belief that any and every photographer should shoot film and use cameras that don’t have metering built in to become better. They’ll move slower, they’ll have a lot more intent with their images, and they’ll create something much more unique to them. So we went into our reviews index to find some of our favorites film rangefinder cameras. And here they are!

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Digital to Film: The Best Cameras for Starting Your Journey in the World of Film Photography

From picking out your film, to getting your shots developed, film photography brings love back into the art form.

The world of photography seems to be changing at a rapid pace these days. To me it seems that impossible to go a single day without hearing about the latest and greatest camera with 1 million Megapixels and 12,000 auto focus points. Photography has gone the way of the numbers game that marketers like to play with us, making us believe that we need more, and more.

While cameras of today are incredible, sometimes less is more. There is just something about film cameras that digital cameras cannot replicate. The feeling you get from using a 35mm film camera is hard to beat. From picking out your film, to getting your shots developed, film photography brings love back into the art form. If you are one of the many people looking to dabble in the world of film photography, stick around and take a look at the best cameras for starting your journey in the world of film photography.

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How to Take the Worst Portraits You’ve Taken in Your Life

Everyone talks about how to take the best portraits ever, but here’s how you can take your worst portraits.

Every photographers takes portraits they don’t like, and these are often your worst portraits. Let’s be honest here: you’re not always going to take your best photos each and every time, but you can always find a way to make your images better just as long as you practice and take notes on how to improve. This is just like any other skill and it doesn’t necessarily just come to you unless you’ve got some weird gift that you don’t understand. But then you won’t always get consistency. So here’s what I’m talking about.

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Review: Sony 35mm f1.4 (Sony Alpha)

If you were to look back at some of the quintessential lens options for the Sony Alpha lineup of lenses, then you’re sure to figure that the company would have updated their 35mm f1.4 by now; but they haven’t. Sony has a fantastic 50mm f1.4 lens for their Alpha lineup of cameras and considering that the A99 II is such a blow-me-away great camera, it would make a whole lot of sense that they updated their 35mm for the wedding and photojournalism crowd.

However, those photographers are understandable looking more towards the mirrorless camera world. So with that said, when Sony sent us the Sony 35mm f1.4 lens in Alpha mount to review with the Minolta a7, we decided to do something different: test the lens entirely on film.

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How Well Do Old Medium Format Lenses Hold Their Sharpness Vs Modern Prime Lenses?

Something that has always been in the back of any camera lens lover’s mind is the question of how well the older lenses hold their own against the newer lenses. Indeed, older lenses have a special character to them that can’t really be replicated with most modern lenses, sans the offerings from Lomography and Lensbaby. While most 35mm film format lenses were designed with an appeal for consumers over professionals, medium format was always more of the cream of the crop (with exception to large format).

So we went through our archives and looked at how a few classic medium format lenses compare to the new king: the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens. Of course, this is a very interesting battle in the film vs digital debate.

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Tougher Than You Think: How to Shoot in a Studio Style With Film

Shooting in a studio or studio style with film changes a lot more of the photography game than you’d think. You see, there’s no taking a photo, chimping, and saying you like the image or not. You have to get it right the first time around. There’s also a major difference in what can be done with color correction and a lot more. But the biggest thing is the fact that you and your subject will have a much greater sense of connection due to how you need to communicate a whole lot more.

In this post, we’re going to focus a bit more on the technical details.

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New Petition Asks Kodak to Revive Kodak Infrared Ektachrome Film

Lead Photo by Steve Harwood. Used with Creative Commons Permission

A new online petition on is appealing to Kodak to bring back yet another film emulsion: Kodak Infrared Ektachrome. This film is not to be confused with Kodak Aerochrome–which we’ve featured very prominently on this website. Kodak discontinued the film along with a lot of their infrared films due to people just not buying it–as is the case with lots of films being discontinued. However, with a new generation of photographers starting out in digital and then picking up film afterwards coming to the fore, Infrared film may have a new home soon.

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Review: FStop.FM (Tinder for Photographers and Models)

For many years the best places for photographers and models to be able to find each other and collaborate online was Model Mayhem. Craigslist also worked, but we generally don’t speak of it anymore! That’s the new void that FStop.FM is trying to fill right now but by updating it with an interface that lots of us are familiar with: Tinder.

Usually when a model or a photographer has an agent or agency, that’s a really big sign that they’ve made it. But for the rest of us in the meantime, it’s an uphill battle. Photographers and models both generally need to prove themselves to one another. Some of us look at that as a pain while others amongst us regard and understand the process; but give it some time and that may change.

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The Phoblographer Explains: Why Does Color Film Look So Terrible in the Dark

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kodak Ektachrome (11 of 15)

For the film photographers amongst us, you may have shot color film in very low lighting or in very dark situations, gotten the roll back and realized that it looked terrible. Indeed, it looks nothing like the images that you produce when there is ample light available in the scene. For this reason, digital photography can be far superior when it comes to shooting in dark situations. We put emphasis on the word can there for a reason for. Digital photography is far simpler to do in the low light situations than color film photography–but that’s also for a very good reason.

We explore why after the jump.

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An Exercise to Help Get You Out of a Creative Rut

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer A Street Photographer's Notebook for iPad Review (1 of 9)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 5.6

The next time that you’re in a creative rut of some sort, consider how to get out of it. One thing that we’ve tried involved free word association and then applying that to a scene that you can photograph through creating the scene yourself. Free word association helps you to get out of a creative rut by being as random as you can and by just creating without overthinking. Part of being creative isn’t thinking, it’s feeling.

So here’s an example.

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