Definitive Guide to Pushing/Pulling C-41 and b&w Film — Belinda Jiao Photography


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Each picture will be roughly stated to comprise values starting from blacks, mid-tones to whites. The event time impacts the brighter components greater than the darker components, thus altering the distinction stage.

Density refers back to the quantity of silver that is still on the damaging. The denser an space, the brighter it renders on the ultimate scan/ print.

Referring to the graph above, the curves signify the connection between the build up of density on a damaging with the brightness zones.

This curve, aka this relationship, shifts with growth time. A steeper incline within the curve represents better distinction within the damaging.

Observing the densities of the blacks, we will see that the densities are affected to a minimal extent no matter growth time. This virtually implies that your blacks will look just about equally darkish nevertheless lengthy you develop your movie for.

However additional up the brightness ranges, most notably the highlights, they proliferate to a bigger extent as growth instances lengthen. This virtually implies that your highlights (and almost definitely mid-tones) will develop into a lot brighter if you happen to develop your movie for longer.

Why pulling movie decreases distinction

The reverse is true for pulling. All the curve shifts downwards if you scale back growth time, which doesn’t create that a lot of a change on the blacks however lowers the brightness of the body from mid-tone upwards.

Within the growth course of, the shadows require the least time to develop, whereas it takes an extended time for density to construct up within the spotlight areas.

Pull growth is actually stopping the event after the shadows have completed creating, whereas the highlights haven’t. Shadows are often absolutely developed 5 minutes into the event.

On account of pulling, the shadows will render correctly, popping out as shiny because it was uncovered; the highlights and mid-tones will probably be toned down.

This ends in a decrease distinction total.

Sensible restraints

Photographers typically discover themselves in conditions the place the lighting shouldn’t be perfect, however the taking pictures should however nonetheless go on, and are additionally restricted to taking pictures at handheld shutter speeds.

In different phrases, the body will virtually definitely be underexposed, however it may be mitigated by prolonged growth to acquire a nonetheless usable picture.

Value-saving can also be why many photographers typically push movie. For normal movie shooters, shopping for movie in bulk is extra economical. In fact photographers would select a movie that has them lined for the kind of conditions they largely shoot in, however typically exceptions occur.

And so the place one finds himself in a shoot the place the movie within the digicam isn’t quick sufficient, the shutter can’t be slower, and the aperture can’t be additional opened up, pushing is a beautiful possibility.

Conversely, pulling is a standard resolution the place the ND filter is lacking in making lengthy publicity pictures. For genres in photography like panorama, lengthy exposures typically should be made in broad daylight.

Relying on the particular circumstances, utilizing a ND filter could trigger undesirable disturbances to the relative brightness values of the topics within the body. Different instances, the ND filter is solely not round. In these conditions, pulling is a handy resolution.

Enhance graininess by pushing

Pushing movie will increase the looks of grain in a body, which is a glance that some photographers choose.

The technical clarification as to why pushing will increase grain are defined in better element in my different article ‘What you Must Know About Movie Grain’. In that article, you will notice in depth the consequences of extended growth on the method of silver depositing on a damaging.

In brief, letting your movie keep longer within the developer favours the clumping of grain particles, and in addition will increase native distinction.

These mixed end in a damaging that offers a better sense of grain.

Enhance color saturation by pushing

Skilled color damaging movies are designed with the pliability to push effectively. These are usually within the ISO 400 vary, comparable to Kodak’s Portra 400. They can be pushed 1-2 stops with out color shifts.

The colors develop into extra saturated as you develop the movie for longer. To realize this impact, some photographers expose the movie at regular EI, and develop longer than commonplace.

The state of affairs turns into much less simple although, if the movie was underexposed in digicam. The loss in shadow element could end in a colorless look – no quantity of growth could make up element; it’s the element that comprises the color within the first place.

ISO vs Publicity Index (EI)

ISO in movie photography refers back to the gentle sensitivity of a movie as decided by the producer below lab situations. In digital, it refers back to the sensitivity of the sensor as assigned by the digicam producer. Publicity Index is the sensitivity stage the photographer intends to make use of the movie as. ISO and EI are completely unbiased; the ISO is fastened by producers, whereas the EI is dependent upon the photographer.

In different phrases, relying on the photographer’s intention, the EI will be equivalent with the ISO. However often, EI solely turns into a cloth choice when the photographer decides to depart from the ISO of a movie.

It is usually price noting that EI is extra related to movie photography than digital. In digital, you merely change the ISO worth to vary the sensor’s sensitivity to gentle without having to be concerned with the idea of EI in any respect.

On movie, nevertheless, the ISO of the roll is fastened because it was manufactured. EI is subsequently a useful idea that helps movie shooters keep a level of flexibility of what they’ll do on the movie.

As an instance my level, let’s consult with the beneath eventualities.

In-camera publicity

For instance, let’s say you might be about to shoot a movie that was rated at ISO 400 on the field. The sunshine meter studying tells you that the publicity will probably be about proper at 1/250s f/8.

EI is the ISO worth that you just faux the movie to be. In the event you intend to shoot at field velocity, you shoot the movie at EI 400. Simple.

In the event you shoot it at EI 200, you might be treating the movie as whether it is an ISO 200 movie. You’ll meter the movie as if it was rated at ISO 200, which ought to provide the readings of 1/125s f/8, or 1/250s f/4, or another mixture that ends in one cease of overexposure.

By score the movie at an EI one cease decrease than the field velocity, you might be principally letting in a single cease extra of sunshine. You might be taking pictures the movie as if it have been slower, thus leading to denser negatives.

Let’s stroll you thru the alternative – say you might be to shoot the ISO 400 movie at EI 800.

By metering the movie as if it was an ISO 800 movie, your meter would provide you with readings of 1/500s f/8, 1/250s f/16, or any mixture that ends in one cease underexposure.

By taking pictures the movie at an EI one cease greater than the field velocity, you might be underexposing the movie by one cease than the movie producer would suggest.


Let’s use Ilford Hp5+ 400 as the instance movie right here. See the desk beneath for Ilford’s official suggestions for the event instances for numerous builders and designated EIs.

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