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Getting Started with 4x5 Large Format Film - Step-by-Step Guide

11/08/2023 Matt 0 Comments

In this video, Kyle McDougall is sharing everything you need to know to shoot your first sheets of large format 4x5 film, starting with the necessary gear you'll need, how it works, and how to load 4x5 film holders. Then we'll jump on-location and he will walk you through his process step by step to make an image. Sure this gives you some confidence to get out and try this larger format if it's something you've been interested in.

Why Large Format?

First, let's address the question: Why shoot with large format? It's not for everyone, as it involves a slower and more involved process, meticulous attention to detail, and can be more expensive, especially with color film. However, there are two significant advantages to large format photography.

  1. Size of the Negative: Large format, especially 4x5, offers a drastic difference in negative size compared to medium format (e.g., 6x7 or 6x9). This larger negative size allows for more scanning options, higher detail, resolution, and larger print sizes. Faster lenses can provide unique looks with shallow depth of field and compression, making it one of a kind.
  2. Control: Large format cameras, like view cameras, offer unparalleled control over your images. Movements like tilt, shift, swing, rise, and fall allow you to adjust your plane of focus and perspective, giving you flexibility in your creative process. Whether you're shooting landscapes or other styles, the control these cameras offer can be a game-changer.
The large format photography process requires practice and patience, but it offers unparalleled control and the ability to create stunning, high-resolution images.  So, grab your large format camera and start exploring this captivating medium.

You may also like: Composition Techniques For Better Images

About Kyle McDougall:

I'm a film photographer from Canada, helping others learn more about the craft, and documenting my journey along the way.  My 35mm film photography course on Skillshare (FREE with this link): 

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Text, image and video via Kyle McDougall |