Traditional Photography Tips

This content is available for adaptation in GoogleDocs

Use good quality film.

When choosing film it is important to remember that you want predictable results. Buy film that you have had a good experience with. Generic brands are often cheaper than name brands, but deliver unpredictable results. We recommend Kodak or Fuji.

Every roll of film has an ISO number. The higher the number, the more sensitive the film is to light. Also, the higher the number, the grainier the print. We recommend:

All-Around Use: 200 ISO
Indoor: 200 ISO or higher
Outdoor: 200 ISO or lower

Keep in mind:

  • Kodak will make the image a bit warmer (red and yellow)
  • Fuji will make the image a bit cooler (blue and green)

When choosing a lab, stick with a reliable vendor.

Keep in mind that you not only want quality prints but you also want consistent and predictable results. Choose a lab with which you've had success in the past and stick with it. Professional labs tend to cost more than commercial vendors because they handle your film with more care. This can be important for special photos because chemical spots and scratches can cost time and money to repair or clean digitally.

Print on glossy paper for best scanning results.

Your choice of print surface can save or create a great deal of time and trouble for the person who is converting your prints to a digital format (scanning). When a scan is made from a textured matte surface, the light from the scanner bounces around inside the small pockets of the textured surface, leaving a scan that appears speckled with white dots. Glossy surfaces are optimal because scans retain as much detail and luminance as possible from the original image.

Photo by CCP   Photo by Jose Rimon/CCP
Scanned matte print - notice the grain!   Scanned glossy print - much better!

Both images attached were scanned on a high quality flat bed scanner at the same resolution. The dark area in the matte photo is noticeably speckled with white dots. This problem does not appear in the glossy print.