Medium format film in the studio

I haven’t hit my 120th portrait. No. I am making portraits with 120 medium format film. In the studio.

When I picked up the Fuji GW690III, I fully intended to shoot in the studio with it. Although I’m very happy with the results, the Fuji isn’t, nor was it ever intended to be, the best choice for studio photography. The minimum focus distance of 1 metre and the relatively wide-angle lens, means you will never get a tight headshot with it. It is good for waist-up shots or for small groups. Focusing with the small focus patch is a bit of a challenge, but it’s manageable.

The good news is that leaf shutter allows for a sync speed of up to 1/500 sec. This great if you want the background to go dark, very dark. Also, since it has a hot shoe, I use my radio triggers to fire the flash. The family shots were shot with two or three studio strobes. The key light had a large octa softbox, while the second light had a strip box and the third light, when used, was bare. The individual photos were made with two off-camera flash guns in soft boxes. The key light had a small octa attached, while the rim light had a small strip box attached.

It has been fun trying different film. With the Acros 100, I under exposed two stops but only pushed it one stop in development. This makes for a lot of rich blacks. With the Tri-X, I find that under exposing about 1/2 stop works well. This tends to save highlights.

Who knows? By the time I have made my 120th portrait with the GW690III, I may have gotten the hang of it…

Thanks to my friends and work colleagues who agreed to let me make these photos.