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Thread: Paper negatives for portraits

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    UK, Midlands

    Paper negatives for portraits

    If I were to shoot portraits using paper negatives instead of film, what paper type would you recommend? I was thinking Ilford Multigrade but keen to hear if others have done this and preferences. Also, what iso should I aim for under studio lighting? (Constant daylight balanced). I'll be shooting on a MPP monorail 5x4. Currently getting a 50th sec at f5.6 with a 5ft octabox close in @400 iso.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Paper negatives for portraits

    Norman, welcome to the forum.
    I'd start by going through the long thread entitled "Paper Negatives". And from my limited experience, photo paper is about ISO 6.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Portland, OR USA

    Re: Paper negatives for portraits

    You can find panchromatic black-and-white paper cut to size on the Ultrafine website. It's intended for RGB laser b&w printing, but apparently works fine in pinhole cameras.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    SW missouri

    Re: Paper negatives for portraits

    Norman,Think you are going to have fun with paper negative portraits I've been using Multigrade IV glossy for my negatives to reduce texture, as I enlarge mine but think it would be good for contact printing as well. Seems with my set up am getting an ISO of about 4 with my hot lights and processing. Really like the possibility of emulating old Hollywood movie star type portraits.
    Best of luck,

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Greenwood Lake NY USA

    Re: Paper negatives for portraits

    the first things that come to mind.....

    contrast control may be a problem (paper is inherently contrast expanding whereas film is contrast compressing)
    no red sensitivity may be a problem (we are used to skin tones rendered panchromatically with film, paper has no red sensitivity)
    slow speed may be a problem (paper is much slower than film)
    enlarging may be a problem (paper has a higher base density than film leading to longer exposure times)

    apart from that things should be lovely.............

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    Re: Paper negatives for portraits

    RC paper is great for paper negatives, but it isn't archival, fiber is. As far as the sensitivity of the paper, not an issue. ASA 4-7 of paper is more than enough on a fully sunny or partially cloudy day. It sounds low, but a nice sunny EV day of 10 & my exposure for the slowest paper neg is sitting at 1/30th at f5.6. Not Bad.

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