A few weeks ago I was contacted by Ramzi Mansour wanting to shoot large format film photography, more especially 8×10! He has an impressive studio and body of work displayed on his studio walls in Cape Town. His quality of work is top-notch, shooting black and white and is now a Leica Brand Ambassador. Ramzi arranged this shoot with Mila Engelbrecht which I have entitled Studio Photography – Mila Engelbrecht where we could meet and greet and he could learn some ropes on film. Anton Robert was also part of our shoot as he brought along the 8×10 camera and took care of the lighting setups.
Mila is a fashion model at Pulse Model Managment. She has a wonderful personality, easy to work with and her experience and professionalism shine through in every pose.
We decided the look we wanted would be the Hollywood Lighting look, especially for black and white film, I also choose to shoot in colour as well. We also shot long exposure after dark by using light painting.
George Hurrell was the master of vintage Hollywood portraits. He sculpted their faces and really made them look fabulous.
The lights need to be positioned correctly. You should choose a place that shapes the face according to the different portrait positions. It has to be at a height. You can try above the camera or to the side. If the model turns her head you should follow with the light. It’s all about the shadows in this type of lighting. Hurrell always had wonderful shadows in his portraits.
Hurrell used strong, hard light. We used an Arri 2000W Fresnel with barn doors. Prophoto lights were used as hair lights and separation lighting.
We used controlled areas of light to get a beautiful highlight.
You have to light with shadows. Hurrell loved shadows. If the subjects started to go too dark he added a background light to separate give the person some definition, which is what we did. Occasionally you also want a hair light for a bit more separation.
Makeup is also very important in these portraits. Mila had her hair & makeup down to perfection, this was professionally taken care of by Saskia. Styling was left to Tanlyn, who done a top job. There was absolutely no flaws or any photo editing needed to remove not even a speck of mascara!
This type of lighting goes very well with dramatic makeup. Max Factor, original name Max Faktor, (born 1877, died 1938) was the dean of Hollywood makeup experts. He was a pioneer in developing makeup specifically for motion-picture actors and was given a special Academy Award in 1928 for his achievements. In Hollywood’s Golden Age, when it came to make-up only one name was on the lips of the silver screen stars. That name was Mr Max Factor, a visionary make-up artist, wig maker and inventor. Max Factor was known for creating the signature looks of the era’s most famous icons such as Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich. But he believed that glamour should be within reach of all women.
We both shot on large format – 8×10 & 4×5, medium format – Contax 645 and digital. The Contax 645 was more suited to Ramzi’s style of shooting, whereas the 8×10 & 4×5 is a much more technical and slower system, There is something to behold when looking at the image on the ground glass of large format cameras. Mila is also a photographer which helped with maintaining and holding a long pose which is required for slow shutter speeds under constant lighting for large format photography. In some of our BTS on our IG channles, you can see how much fun we really had shooting on film. I shot all my digital images with a Nikon D800e and a Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens. Behind the scenes were done by Gabby and I was able to share my knowledge of large format photography with her.
Ramzi shot some Ilford Delta 3200 which we later developed at his studio, a first for him! Ilford HP5 and Begger Pancro 400 was the choice of film for the 8×10.
Ilford HP5 is a high speed, fine grain, medium contrast black & white film making it an excellent choice for journalism, documentary, travel, sports, action and indoor available light photography.
Nominally rated at ISO 400, HP5 PLUS produces negatives of outstanding sharpness and fine grain under all lighting conditions. It has been formulated to respond well to push-processing and can be rated up to El 3200/36°.
It’s wide exposure latitude makes it a great choice for beginners, those returning to film as well as the more experienced professional users. HP5 PLUS can be processed in a wide range of different developers using spiral tanks, deep tanks and automatic processors. Studio Photography – Mila Engelbrecht
It was an amazing day, passionate, professional people working together to create fantastic images and with such ease – old school on film, and digital. I can honestly say, Mila looks great in film grain – film works so well with her! Ramzi is quite the comedian as you can see from his BTS and really fun to be around. Thanks to both Ramzi, his team and Mila for the day, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to working with you again. Studio Photography – Mila Engelbrecht
Give the following team a follow on IG:
Gabby follow on Instagram and check out her work: CLICK HEREMila
The images are of a high resolution nature and may take time to load. Click either on the advance arrow or on the image itself to view as a large single image. Studio Photography – Mila Engelbrecht
Loryn van Wyk
Loryn van Wyk
Overall I am very happy with how the results turned out, it is always a good day out when everything runs smoothly and after developing you have images. It never gets old when you open the Paterson tank and your negatives look good! Negatives were scanned on my Epson V750 at 3200dpi, Photoshop file sizes are around 6.93Gb for an 8×10 file. If you would like to join me to shoot some film photography – large format in the studio, or any other environment, get in touch! I can teach you all I know, sign up for one of my one-on-one photo workshops.
Studio Photography – Mila Engelbrecht
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