View Full Version : pulling technique works for color negative?

18-Aug-2012, 14:29
Hi all,

I was wondering if I shorten the tetenal c-41 developing time 3:25 to maybe 3:00 with a Portra film, Would it be less contrasty?

Or pulling technique only works for B&W?


Mark Sampson
18-Aug-2012, 19:28
I would expect that your color curves will cross like crazy and that you won't gain any tonal range. And that you'll see quite a speed loss. But I don't know for sure; try it and tell us what happens. Just shoot a 'normal' sheet of the same scene and process it by the book so you'll have something to compare against.

Mark Barendt
18-Aug-2012, 19:57
Yes, it works.

Peter Mounier
19-Aug-2012, 07:50
Each of the color layers in color negative film develop at different rates, and come together for balanced color at a certain time with a certain temperature. If you alter the development times you will get color crossover problems as Mark Sampson says. You will also get a less contrasty neg by underdevelopment, but you may not get the color to balance.


Mark Barendt
19-Aug-2012, 10:00
Sure, there will be some change in balance, but it does work and could be worth a try.

The questions I would have before trying it though is how it is being printed because I rarely find the local contrast of adequately exposed, normally developed C41 to be out of whack on a print, more normally I haven't nailed the print exposure. In an enlarger, under-exposed prints for me tend to lack contrast and overexposed prints tend to look too contrasty. On long scale scenes the fix for me is normally burning in the highlights.

In a digital workflow, as long as you have a good scan, I see no reason why regular development would not work.

So rustyair how are you printing?

19-Aug-2012, 14:42
Thanks guys, I usually send my digital files to an online printing place. I'm gonna give it a try but maybe it's just better to lower the contrast in photoshop.
I recently found a photographer name 'Byung-Hun Min' and he does the pulling technique on B&W photography and looks fantastic.


Mark Barendt
19-Aug-2012, 15:39
Given that you are digital I'd suggest that you stick with normal development.

I'd suggest that with practice and experimentation that you can learn to use exposure placement to save yourself a fair amount of work in PS.

19-Aug-2012, 19:14
If you're scanning, there's no point to pulling, you're just inviting problems though the (tiny) crossovers are trivially correctable digitally. If you want reduced contrast from a scan, just change your black & white points in the conversion to 8-bit. Having normal-contrast negs is quite desirable especially if your scan workflow is calibrated; you don't want to futz with the contrast unless you're printing optically...

If you're optical-RA4 printing, pulling by about a stop works very well because all of the papers available at the moment have annoyingly-high contrast when you're trying to make a portrait, and adjusting the C41 contrast is about the only control you have. I've tried it successfully with both Ektar (contrast is OK but saturation is still way too high for caucasian skin) and Reala (very good) and I've got some Portra 400 that I've developed like this but not printed yet. Speed loss seems minimal; I expose at +1 (the negs are fine at box speed too) and develop for 2:45 instead of 3:15 in Fuji C41 chemistry.

Note that C41 pull and push operations were standard options provided by pro labs, they're not a travesty of process and the resulting quality is very good.