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  • Writer's pictureGilbert Carosin

Shooting kodak portra 400 in the studio

Updated: Jan 7

girl with afro hair and green short dress pose in a peacock rattan chair
Using kodak portra 400 in the studio with a nikon f5

kodak portra 400 is one very popular film stock that is used most often outdoor with natural light, it is very rare to find an actual photographer using it in the studio with strobe. The following session were all done using a nikon f5 paired with a godox dp400 studio strobe.

My first session with this 35mm film was a classic clamshell lighting setup. My key-light was above the model on a boom arm and there was a large reflector in front of model, coming from digital i was surprised how beautiful the colour was on this session, the blue backdrop really stand out and the skin tone is really amazing.

For my next session decided to go with an extremely feathered loop lighting setup to get an absolute soft and beautiful light. Here the modifier is a large rotalux 53 on the right 4 feet away from the model but extremely feathered almost facing the camera. There is a large reflector on the opposote side to fill in the shadows and another negative fill reflector ( black ) on the right side of my camera to prevent light from entering the lens and create any haze or degrade image quality.

For the last set i use a classic 45 degree strobe placement and a large reflector, the light is very slightly feathered and face the model and the chair in a very classic way, there is a large reflector on the opposite side to add some fill.

I have been doing digital studio photography for a long time and would sometime use 3 4 light on a set, but working with 35 film it is very different. Surprisingly only one large light is enough to create beautiful light and extremely soft skin tone. All the picture you see where done using only a godox ad400 pro and a small cheap led panel for the hair light for the first session while the second and third session where done with only one light and reflector.

The kodak portra 400 deliver very unique soft skin tones and colours that seems almost impossible to render with a digital camera. The film was rated at box speed on all photo.

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