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Choosing the Right Film

Just as a painter chooses a palette of colors or a sculptor selects the right piece of marble or clay, traditional photographers have long been able to select a film with the characteristics they need for their images. Each variety and brand of film has a personality of its own, which, quite literally, colors your image with subtle nuances of contrast, texture, and hue. For example, some films are more sensitive than others, offering the ability to capture images in less light or with shorter shutter speeds to freeze action. Of course, these fast films tend to have higher contrast, more grain, and muted colors.

Other films manipulate the contrast/texture/hue triad in different ways. Some are known for their bright, vibrant colors or their ability to reproduce flesh tones realistically. Professional photographers often rely on an array of films formulated for these characteristics, selecting the film with bright colors and snappy contrast for product photography to make inanimate objects more attractive. An entirely different film might be the choice for portrait or wedding photography, when accurate skin tones and a softer, more flattering look are desired. These films tend to be lower in speed and have more compact grain, so the texture of the film becomes invisible.


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