Pushing and Pulling Film





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Published on Jul 26, 2012



You can actually change your film speed with techniques known as push processing and pull processing.

Basically this means you can take a roll of film, shoot the entire roll at a different speed rating and change the development time to compensate this difference.

This technique is highly convenient and used by photojournalists in the golden age of "street" photography. A few things to remember:

1) You'll need to decided what speed you will rate the film. This new speed will be applied to the entire roll - in other words, you can't change in the middle.

2) You'll get the best results pushing or pulling to 1 or 2 stops, but it can be fun to experiment beyond this.

So lets say you have a roll of 400 ISO film. You can "push" this to 800 - this is a 1 stop push. Or you could "pull" it to 200 - this is a 1 stop pull.

What is the visual difference? Pushing adds contrast and grain - but can be used to a nice effect. Pulling shows less grain and contrast.

The obvious reason to push would be low light. I've also done it for high contrast effects as well.

Pulling is great for finer grain. Having a lower contrast negative can make things easier in digital post production or even darkroom printing if you want more room to burn and dodge (creating your own contrast).

Experiment and check it out!

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