Chet’s Portraits in Downtown Salt Lake City, Going Retro with Film

by dav.d

I am finally posting photographs from one of my favorite photo shoots from this past summer. I had just bought a used film camera, a Mamiya 645AF, and I wanted to try it out. So I found a Facebook friend who had some time and had the looks that worked for a promotional photo shoot.

I picked downtown Salt Lake City for our location. I absolutely love downtown for photography and portraits. This photo shoot centered on about 2 blocks and we just took a walk around the block to find different textures, graffiti, and backgrounds. Because this is film and one of my first portrait sessions entirely on film, I went all natural light. Natural light is “what you see is what you get.” There is less of a chance of screwing things up, especially with brand new gear (brand new to me, it was used).

Chet in Salt Lake City

Chet photographed be Exchange Place

The camera has multiple film backs, meaning I can switch from color film to black and white film pretty easily. I am a fan of color anyway and I can always turn color into black and white. But this whole shoot was an experiment. I think in future photo shoots, I will shoot a 2 to 1 ratio. I will shoot 2 rolls of color for every 1 roll of black and white film. That will change if a client wants more color or more b&w. I can see some clients shunning black and white entirely.

Chet in Salt Lake City

Chet photographed on black and white Kodak film

Natural light looks best early in the morning or later in the evenings. In the valley, I usually will push for an evening shoot because the mountains on the east don’t give us much golden morning light in the morning.

Chet in Salt Lake City on color film

Back light is amazing on film. The golden light just looks warm and perfect.

Once we shot the rolls of film, I sent them off to Richard Photo Lab in California. To this point they have done the best job a developing, processing, and scanning the film. They do all the color correction for me and they photographs look great. I have been testing a few different labs and RPH has given me the best results and clients have loved the results.

Chet in Salt Lake City—film portrait

Portrait with graffiti

One thing I will do in the future is limit how much gear I am carrying with me. I will try and keep it to one camera and then 2-3 lenses and a reflector. Keeping gear simple means I can focus more on my subject and less on everything else. Don’t worry, I always have a backup camera and gear ready. That is why cars have trunks, for the backup gear.

Chet in Salt Lake City and photographed on color film

Portrait against a cement wall

Chet's Portrait at Exchange Place

Sunglasses make a perfect accessory for photography

Male portraiture in Salt Lake City

Shooting in natural light portraits.

Male portrait with graffiti background

Graffiti is awesome, enough said.

Models in rundown locations

Grungy locations make for fun photographs.

Red painted brick for a background

Red, red stripped shirt, and sunglass=cool

Portrait against a wood wall

Wooden background

male portrait

Aluminum siding for a background

Male model photographed downtown

Bears meet blondes

Portrait at the Golden Doors

The golden doors by Exchange Place

Male portrait on medium format film

Kodak film, processing by Richard Photo Lab, and a medium format film camera. Awesome sauce.

Black and white film portrait

I’m still experimenting with black and white film. It seems so final.

Color film portrait with graffiti and Chet

Shooting film gives me a different look that digital.

Sun sets and portraits continue

Portraits at dusk

A reflector helps natural light portraits

This is why you at least need to carry a reflector

Chet downtown Salt Lake City

Black and white portrait of Chet and downtown

And last shoot of the night is a Polaroid. Technically the film is not Polaroid. The film is made by a new company called Impossible Project. They make film that will work in old Polaroid cameras. This is some black and white film. The photo is a bit out of focus but it is similar to gambling, you don’t know what you are going to get. And it is one of a kind.

Impossible Project Portrait with Polaroid

Polaroid cameras still work and all you need is Impossible Project film

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dav.d photo
dav.d is a portrait photographer based in Utah.