Metering for Black & White Film


Quick Start to Film Photography


Lesson Info

Metering for Black & White Film

Now with black and white film, black and white's is a little more nuanced. Remember, we talked about this earlier. Another exposure test, I told you, I could do 'em all day. But, this is Fugi Acros which is a beautiful black and white film. And again, you can see that over here at plus three it looks great, and even down there at negative two, you were to push that neg or even negative three, if you were to push that in processing that could be a cool exposure. So where is the rule with color film? There's always meter for that shadow, make sure that shadow part is properly exposed. The rule with black and white film, what I like to tell people is meter for where you want your detail to be. So, if you want a darker shadow, a little more drama, then you meter for your highlights. And, what metering for your highlights is, is, again, if light is coming here, we know metering for your shadow's here, metering for your highlights is here. So, your bulb is facing the light. If you want lots ...

of information in that shadow, then you meter for your shadow. And then, it'll be a little bit brighter. Black and white film kinda follows more of the rules for digital photography by the way. So, here are some examples. So, metered for the highlights, 'cause I wanted that beautiful shadow. There we go. Metered for the shadows. So, Ilford Delta 32 is one of these black and white films that doesn't have a tremendous exposure latitude. It will blow out, which I kind of like. I use that sometimes in my work. So in this image, I wanted light in area. I wanted that kinda blown out look. And so here, I did meter for the shadows, because that's the look I was going for with that film. Same film now metered, same film stock, now metered for my highlights, because again, I wanted a little more drama. And, what I often do, is, this is that Ilford Delta again, it's my dad by the way, isn't he cute. Hey dad! Is you can meter for your big tones, which is bulb out towards the camera, which is how you meter when you're metering for a digital camera. And then, talk to your lab, so a lot of times I'll meter for my mid-tones with my black and white, and then ask my lab to scan for the highlights, because I want a little bit more drama. So, we're going to talk about that right now. But, any questions about metering for color, metering for black and white while we're here? This is kind of a question about shooting with it, so if you want a color and a black and white version of, say you're shooting a newborn. Uh huh. Do you like change out your film while you're shooting, or do you have like two different bodies? Probably two different cameras. Okay. Absolutely, I do that all the time actually. I put black and white on my Contax and color in my Hasselblad, 'cause I like that. I have a question. Oh, yeah, sure. Does shooting outdoors differ from shooting indoors? Shooting outdoor is different from indoor in that the light is different, but the same rules apply. So if you're outside, you're still metering for your shadows, if you're shooting color film. If you're indoor, you're still metering for your shadows. Those overall rules apply.

Class Description

Have you always wanted to shoot film but are just unsure how to begin? Join film photographer Sandra Coan for a quick start to film photography. In this class you will learn:

  • The difference between film and a digital sensor
  • How to choose the perfect camera and film for you and your style
  • Where to find and buy professional grade film stocks
  • How to meter so that you get perfect exposures every time
  • How to find and choose a photo lab so that you can get the most out of your film images

By the end of this class you’ll be ready to pick up your film camera and shoot with confidence!


a Creativelive Student

As all of her other classes, this class is amazing and very informative too.