Film and the Hybrid Workflow: Analog Photography in the Digital Age | Martin Monk | Skillshare

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Film and the Hybrid Workflow: Analog Photography in the Digital Age

teacher avatar Martin Monk, Film Director & Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why you should shoot film


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.

      Closing thoughts


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About This Class

This class will explore the concept of "The Hybrid Workflow" prevalent in the field of analog photography. You will be guided through the four main stages of creating film-based images today: exposure, processing, scanning, and finally presentation.

You will learn tipps and tricks that will clarify some of the confusion that can arise from the wealth of information out there. As a result, you'll be able avoid some common misconceptions and mistakes that can cost valuable time and money and lead to premature frustration with the medium.

With some nous, patience and understanding, film-based photographs can still hold a candle to digital images and even exceed them in some very exciting ways. The 'film look' is something everyone has heard of, but there's confusion about its aesthetic qualities - in this class, we will explore this look in detail.

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to put their first (or next) roll of film through a camera, get a grip on terminology and concepts, anyone who is frustrated with their results, who wants to polish up on their digital conversion skills or avoid costly errors when printing and framing.

Cheat sheet with tipps and tricks:

Meet Your Teacher

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Martin Monk

Film Director & Photographer


Hello, I'm Martin! I'm a film director, screenwriter and photographer based out of Berlin, Germany. I've been obsessed with images since my teenage years and spent the better part of two decades learning about photography and filmmaking.

I studied directing with Michael Haneke at Film Academy Vienna, had my films shown at festivals across the globe (Cannes '19) and nominated for awards (European Film Awards '20) as well as Vimeo Staff Picked. I'm happy to join the community to share my knowledge with you!

If you want to find out more about me, please visit my website.

You can also find me on Instagram, Vimeo and LinkedIn.

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1. Introduction: Hi everyone and welcome. My name is Martin. I'm a film director, screenwriter, and photographer from Berlin, Germany. I have been obsessed with images for the past 20 years, ever since my dad gave me this, my first analog SLR camera. My passion for photography has led me into filmmaking. It inspired me to move countries and to go to film school and pursuit of my dreams. In a lot of ways. It has really opened my eyes to the world around me. And it has made me a better person, and it has made me the person that I am today. In this course. I worked for the first time ever, share all of my experience and know-how. You will learn from my mistakes so you don't have to repeat them. I will try to inspire you to take your film photography to the next level. My approaches to offer you a condensed yet comprehensive overview to really get you going. A ton of information out there. And it can seem quite overwhelming and daunting to even get started in analog photography, I will offer you this information packaged into five concise lessons, highlighting different steps off taking, developing, and presenting films, images. Please join me on this journey. There's a lot of information to get through. Without further ado. Let's begin. 2. Why you should shoot film: Welcome to lesson one. This is where introduce you to some preliminary thoughts and concepts so that you can navigate the rest of the classes. What is film photography? Let's start at the beginning. Well put simply, it is the process of capturing images on photographic film coated with light-sensitive chemicals dispersed inside and emulsion, which sits on top of the film. These rows, strips and sheets of film thereafter developed in specific liquid chemicals yielding negative or positive photographs. That's it. And it has not fundamentally changed for, well, almost a 100 years. In the past. Of course, there were obviously no computers or digital processes involved in this at all. It was a purely analog workflow. However, with the advent of digital photography in the 1990's and computers somewhat earlier, all of this changed. When you shoot film today. You have one leg in the past and one in the ever accelerating present of imaging technology. You add once, partaking in a heritage that enables you to really understand where the medium comes from and what its foundations are. But you are also kind of forced today in 2022 to translate this heritage into modern, contemporary contexts. This is what this course is trying to help you achieve. This actually brings us into the present, the hybrid workflow, whether you've called it that are not. The likelihood is that if you shoot film today, you are partaking in this process. Some people just are not quite aware of it, or they are used to it, or they never even really questioned it. But to some extent or another, we are probably all using a hybrid workflow already. In my opinion, it's better to become conscious of it and take charge of it. Put simply, the hybrid workflow just means the combination of digital and analog techniques in order to obtain our final images. That's it. It really isn't rocket science until you start getting into the details of it. So we will look in this course at the four distinct stages of the hybrid workflow. They are step one, exposure, step to development or processing. Step three, scanning and step for presentation. You may ask yourself, why bother if I can just use a digital camera and see my result instantly? I can react to mistakes I make. Yeah, depths kind of true. But many creatives are still absolutely committed to shooting film. Why is that? In my opinion, the challenge of it all simply makes you a better photographer. It forces you to make informed decisions along the way, with only 36 shots on a standard 35-millimeter roll of film and even less than medium format. You will want to take each exposure and image carefully and deliberately. This can have a really beneficial effect on your final result. Unlike shooting digital where you may capture hundreds of pictures and have to sort through them later. But there are also other reasons besides practical ones for which you may want to shoot film photography. And chief among them is the aesthetic quality of the medium. The film look, we've all heard of it. It offers something you simply can't quite reproduce with a digital camera. Offering excellent highlight roll-off and latitude, natural and pleasing texture and grain structure, as well as excellent, rich, flattering skin tones that really offer a welcome antidote to the extreme sharpness of digital. Imagine shooting an image of the sun using a digital camera and an analog one. You would be quite astonished. The analog film is able to handle this extreme brightness much better. It can display many shades of white. Before going into a pure white. A digital sensor will clip into such pure white much earlier. This is something appreciated by image makers across the world, particularly also in filmmaking and in cinema. The proximity of analog photography to cinema is another advantage to us photographers because it offers us an entry into an aesthetic universe cherished by Hollywood filmmakers to the state. Even nowadays, the best GPS in the world, the best image makers in the world choose to shoot their movies on celluloid. Why is this isn't just pure nostalgia? Know, I'm convinced it isn't. It is precisely this film look that we just discussed, even until the 2000s, companies such as Fuji and codec, we're researching and developing their film stocks and improving them constantly in order to keep up with digital photography. That means that today you have access to the best film stocks available ever. It's super exciting in my opinion. And remember, codec continues to produce motion picture as well as still image film stocks until this day. I would say analog photography as well as cinematography, are alive and well in 2022 and for good reason. Now, a final word on a somewhat romantic idea about film photography that you may have encountered. You often hear that film images should be kind of blurry, out-of-focus, imperfect, full of dirt, dust and scratches. You get the picture. Well, yeah, if that's your taste, go ahead and indulge in it. I think more power to you. But there's also really no shame in chasing a kind of technical excellence with your analog photography. Often photographers focused on such technical excellence are a little bit frowned upon for supposedly demystifying the creative process or being too analytical. Just go out there and shoot. Well, sure. But in my view, the more you know, the more you can appreciate the beauty and in a way, the more the mystery actually grows, the point where you can say, that's it. I know everything is never gonna come at the end of the day, creativity also involves craft, and I hope to improve yours in these next lessons. With these preliminary thoughts out of the way, let's look at the four stages of the hybrid workflow. Beginning with the capturing of your images. Let's go. 3. Exposure: Hi and welcome to stage one of the hybrid workflow exposure. This is usually how it starts an analog camera, an old camera given to you by your parents or grandparents, or you found it in the attic or at a visit to the flea market. This as well as a roll of film, is all you will need to get started in film photography. Once you've loaded your film into your camera, you're ready to take your first pictures. In film photography terms, this is called making an exposure. Why this terminology? Well, you are in fact exposing the chemicals within the film to light. This exposure leads to a so-called latent image. Latent image. It's like an egg that has to be bred before it can hatch. In our case, the latent images captured on the film roll have to be developed before you can obtain your negatives. And just like an egg, latent images on film are really fragile. Because film is not only sensitive to light but also to other physical influences. Chief among them are heat, radiation, and humidity. This explains why film is often stored in refrigerators or even freezers to ensure as little degradation by heat and light as possible. Now, let's properly talked about capturing photographs. More specifically by discussing a crucial concept you may have heard of it before. It's the dreaded exposure triangle. The exposure triangle is a simple model of how three principal values determine the amount of light that reaches the film or the digital sensor. The combination of these values will yield a hopefully correct exposure. The triangle applies to all of photography and film-making to it consists of three interrelated points. First, the aperture or f-stop of your lens. Second, the ISO, or sensitivity of your film or sensor. And three, the shutter speed. As I said, this concept is valid for all forms of photography and cinematography. So once you've grasped it, it's an extremely powerful tool because in principle you will be able to use any camera out there. Just be aware that it is at once deceptively simple and yet deeply complex. It took me many, many years to fully grasp it and also its effects and implications on my images. However, I will give it a go. I will try to describe it in the most simple terms that I can think of. Here goes, aperture describes the size, the physical size of the lens opening, and how much light is able to pass through it. A large opening lets through a lot of flight. A smaller opening let through less light. Iso describes the sensitivity to light of your films. Emotion and shutter speed finally describes the duration of exposure. That's it. Here's some good news in analog photography. The choice of film is made in advance once you load your camera. Therefore, you really only need to consider the other two values. Once you are out there shooting. We've talked about getting a correct exposure using these variables. But how would you know? How would you know a correct exposure and which values to dial in? Well, that is an art and a science. And it is the point at which something like this comes in handy. This is a light meter. Now, there are different types of night beaters. There are reflective light meters or incident light meters such as this one. Both of these help you to determine the correct exposure of your image. Incident light meters such as this one, measures the light that falls onto this semicircle here called the lumen sphere. It measures all of the light hitting the points on the surface. It has such a semi spherical shape to resemble the typical shape of the human head, which is why these are really popular in portrait photography. You can measure the light at any physical point or location, but you should always point the hemisphere towards your camera as this is where you will be taking the image from. But as I said, the beauty of such devices that you can measure. Different spots, different parts of a room, for example, and get the correct exposure for the brightness at that physical location. Again, remember to point the loony sphere towards your camera. Now, many analog cameras, such as this one, contain their own light meters. These are reflective light meter systems. They measure the light that bounces off of the objects that you are photographing. Rather than, as is the case with an incident light meter, measuring the light falling onto it at the location. Light meter apps for smartphones also use the reflective method. Now, both light meter types have their advantages and disadvantages, but they also have something in common. And that is that they measure for middle gray. Now, you may have heard of this, but what the **** is middle gray? Well, this means that the light meters, both incident and reflective, always measure an exposure that is correct for gray tone that reflects 18% of the visible spectrum of light. Why 18%? Well, this is down to science. 18% of reflection in this case means about exactly halfway between the darkest and the brightest parts of an image is just to do with our human visual perception. Hence the term middle gray. It means the halfway point between pure black and pure white. The idea behind this is that if you can correctly determine the exposure for such a great tone, the other areas in your photograph of brightness and darkness will also fall into the correct place. Now it is middle gray. What about color photography? Well, in color, there are shades of colors that you can equate to middle grade. For example, the deep blue color. The sky is very close and luminance and in reflective quality to middle gray. This is also a halfway color tone between pure black and pure white. So even in color photography, middle gray applies. And these slide meters, of course, able to measure light for both black and white and color photography. Sounds complicated. Well, it kind of is. But let's give you an example. This image you're seeing right now, it's a digital image. But for sake of explanation, it is useful. Let me show you what my light meter indicate when I hold it here close to my face. So I have already previously dialed in my ISO, which is 800, which is the Canon R5, ISO and LAG-3. Next, I have dealt in my 25 frames per second and my shutter speed, which corresponds of a 50th of a second. Now, the light meter indicates an aperture of f four or f 3.5, depending where I pointed. So I will know that at this point, our middle gray would be correctly exposed at these settings of F4, ISO 850th of a second. However, in this case, I actually want to expose correctly for my skin type. And so my skin color, which is quite bright, it's brighter than the middle gray. So I will take this exposure of F4 and I will here again, we have the four confirmation in front of my face. And instead of using a four, I will use exactly one stop more of light for correct exposure of my skin tone because it is brighter than middle gray. I have exposed this image at ISO 850th of a second, Twenty-five frames per second at F 2.8. And this gives me the exposure that you are seeing right now. A little bit of guesswork on my site, adding one stop of light. But I hope this illustrated to you the concept of middle gray measurement. However, if you can't splash the extra cash for such a light meter, there's a little trick I can share with you. You could use a reflective light meters such as the one in this camera or even a smartphone app, and simply pointed directly at your skin. Like this, what would happen? The entire frame is now filled by your skin. The camera only gets to measure the light reflected from your skin. In this case. With this method, you can kind of trick and cheat the system and upset obtain accurate skin tone measurement. Again, the camera will also measure for middle gray. If I were to point this exactly at my face, I would have a middle gray measurement for this part of the image. I would then simply have to add one stop of light because I want it to be brighter than middle gray for my skin. Lastly, let's look at a general recommendation that is sometimes read on the Internet. This is the idea that you should always overexpose your film images as a standard practice by as much as two stops. Well, I can tell you this doesn't really match with my experience. While some films may benefit from overexposure, I would not recommend this without first expect experimenting a little bit and doing your own tests. I will be doing a detailed course in the future on specific film families and how they respond to over and underexposure. So stay tuned for that. Of course, the films performance also always depends heavily on the development. This leads us to our next lesson, breeding, hatching, our latent images. Let's get going. 4. Development: Welcome to step two of the hybrid workflow, developing your film images. First, a little disclaimer. I am currently not developing my own film at home. And my intention here is not to give you the exact recipes, developing times and so on. My aim is rather to give you an overview of what matters most in development. But obviously there's plenty of information out there if you want to get stuck in with self-development at home. However, the more conventional way remains giving you expose films to a lab to carry out this step for you. The development technique used is dependent on your specific film. There are different processes that require different steps and also different chemicals. The most common processes are the ones that I have here with me on the light table. They are first C41 color negative processing. You've probably seen such a filmstrip before. They are kind of orange. Yeah. You've seen them before because most of our childhood pictures were taken on these types of films. It's a real classic. Next, we have black and white. As you can see, the film strips are kind of purple, grayish in color. These are true monochromatic films. Here, there's a huge variety of different developing chemicals that you can use. They can be diluted or concentrated to alter the final contrast and also grain of your images. It's quite incredible because the exact same film can have a totally different appearance depending on which black and white developer was used, its wealth worth exploring width. And if you develop with a lab, I would recommend that you ask them which developer they use. Next, we have E6 films, or also known as DR. Positive film. As you can see here. The film strip already contains all of the color information. That's why it's a positive. It doesn't need to be inverted or color process at all. It's a great choice for OCD photographers, but it is also notoriously difficult to expose. It is even trickier and more expensive to scan well, and it has much less dynamic range then color negative and black and white film. There's also a process called cross processing or X Pro. This is when chemicals used for C41 color negative film are used to develop dear positives, or vice versa. Chemicals for E6 used to develop C41 pictures. This gives a very unique and experimental look with highly skewed colors. Whether that's your taste, you have to find out for yourself. Lastly, there's also a process called ECN to development, which has become quite popular recently. It stands for Eastman color negative processing. And it comes from the world of cinematography. It is really similar to C41, but it contains some extra steps, which is also why not every lab can simply develop ECN two if they develop C41. So you'd have to check these extra steps involved. For example, a pre bath which removes the black ram jet layer on the film. The ram jet layer on ECN two films is a layer at the back of the films emotion that reduces reflections relations and also the buildup of static motion picture film stocks. These ECN two films offer a slightly flatter contrast because they are meant for color grading. And also final grain then C41. And they also come Color Balanced for tungsten artificial lights, which is really useful. To be honest, you should definitely give this a try. Now, the actual development process consists of various different stages. It has to be carried out in complete darkness. It can be done either by hand or by large machines that carry out the steps automatically. Water, as well as chemical temperatures have to remain stable and constant throughout the process to achieve best results. The chemicals should also be fresh in order to really achieve excellent images with them. Unfortunately, these chemicals go bad quite quickly. So the process may appear straightforward, but it actually involves quite a lot of mastery to get a really, really well-developed image out of it. Now, as you can see from my light table, they are not only different types of film that require different development techniques, but also different film formats. We've spoken initially about 35-millimeter film, which is up in the right corner, which is actually 36 by 24 millimeters, with an aspect ratio of three by two. But there are also larger formats, chief among them, the medium format. All of these other types of negatives and positives. You can see here our medium format. Medium format films are known as 120. The common medium formats are here right in front of you. There's six by 4.5 centimeters down in the right corner with an aspect ratio of four by three. There's six by six, which is a square aspect ratio of one-to-one. There's six or seven in the top left corner with an aspect ratio of roughly four by five, or one to 1.2. Now there are also six by 86 by nine cameras out there, but they are a little less common. For all of these medium format cameras, you can load the same 120 films. The only difference will be how many exposures you get out of the single goal. Why is this? Well, it's because one side of the image lens always remains the same. Six centimeters. Take a look. If I stack them on top of one another, you can see that the medium format films all have the same width of six centimeters. So that is why 120 films can be loaded in a variety of different medium format cameras. Now, this six centimeters is actually somewhat closer to 56 millimeters in actual width. Once you subtract the border and arrive at the exact image area is closer to 56 millimeters, but that's the kind of technicality. And it depends a little bit on your particular camera. Any format that is larger than medium format is known as large format films. These are actually single sheets of film and they range from around ten by 13 centimeters up to 20 by 25 centimeters in size. Pretty much the size of this entire light table that you see in front of you. They are huge. Anything even larger than that is considered ultra large format. To develop these medium and large format images, you need bigger tanks and containers to hold the larger sized pieces of film. That's why development for medium format and large format has to be realized with different equipment to 35-millimeter development. We've spoken in our previous lesson about exposing film correctly. Let's look a little more closely at a film strip and how development and exposure go hand in hand. I selected three negatives for you here to illustrate this. One is correctly exposed, one is underexposed, and one is perhaps slightly overexposed. Can you guess which is which? Well, let me help you out. You may assume that the darkest one here is in fact the underexposed one. But this is not the case. In fact, the darkest image here, the darkest negative, has been exposed to the most light. That's why it would appear as the brightest once it is inverted digitally or printed, inversion means that dark becomes bright and bright becomes dark. If you keep this in mind, you'll be able to judge the exposure of a negative simply by looking at it on a light table. I recommend that you get yourself one of these, a magnifying device so that you can also judge the sharpness and fine details of your negative. Let me show you this negative strip slightly closer to camera. You can get an idea of what it looks like up close. So as you can see, the brightest image, which is the underexposed one, is quite transparent and lets through a lot of light. The darkest one, which is the most exposed one. Let's send less light. You can still see my fingers silhouette obviously, but it is noticeably different. And the one in the middle is a sort of halfway point between them. So here again, you have underexposure, correct? Exposure and slide overexposure. Just note that we film, it's quite hard to actually really overexposed, expose it. Even this negative is perfectly fine and can be printed or scanned. Well, the dark one well, that is a little different. Underexposure is not the best friend of your film. And you can actually see that the film-based on the edge and the image are hard to distinguish from one another. And that's a clue for you that there's some serious underexposure happening here. Note how the correctly exposed image in the middle has a kind of even dispersion between dark and bright areas and a clear separation between the actual image and the film-based around the edge. Unlike this one. Remember the film border and base have not been exposed to any light at all. So this area out here is clear and when inverted, it will show up as pure black. In our last discussion of light meters and exposure, the exposure triangle, I've mentioned that an analog, it is slightly simpler because the film speed is chosen in advance, and hence we only have two values to worry about. While this really does simplify the process, it can also be a disadvantage. And that is if the light situation suddenly changes or it no longer matches what you anticipated. In such a situation, you have the wrong film loaded, but you'll have a way out. This is called pushing or pulling your film. What this means is that you are exposing the film at a different ISO. Then it is actually rated at. And then later in development, you develop it either longer or shorter. To compensate for this incorrect exposure. Let's say you've picked an ISO 100 film because you thought the sun would be out, you arrive at the scene and now instead, it's really overcast and it starts to rain. But you still want to take photographs. You can now set your ISO rating on your light meter or your camera to ISO 400 and chewed away. What if you've done, well, the difference between either one hundred and four hundred is two stops of light. You have now effectively underexposed your film by two stops. When you drop it off at the lab. You know, ask them to push the film. Two stops in development to compensate for this underexposure, it simply means actually that the film is left inside the developing chemicals longer. And thus it compensates for the lack of exposure that was there. You have, again, in practice underexposed to film and you are now over developing it to compensate. Voila. You will still have usable correctly exposed images. Pulling it's the same concept, but vice versa with overexposure during capturing and under-development later. Now, I've said you will have usable and perfectly exposed results. It's true, but there are some caveats. Just beware. Pushing increases green and it can cause, unfortunately, color shifts. While pulling reduces contrast. Generally, black and white film pushes and pulls better because there are no colors that could get skewed. So the only penalty is an increase in grain or a decrease in contrast. Now, let's wrap this lesson up with my top three recommendations for the development stage. First, go for quality over price. When choosing a lab. Your lab should be able to deliver scratch and stay pain-free. Properly developed negatives consistently. Film, It's like anything. You get what you paid for. Don't just opt for the cheapest option. Larger commercial labs can only offer cheap prices because they developed zooms in huge batches with a one fits all approach. Now this is maybe fine for certain images. But for critical ones, you really want the best results. These labs will use also the same developing chemicals and times. Regardless of your particular film emulsion, you simply won't get the best performance out of the incredibly high-tech film stocks that exists out there using such techniques. So a poorly processed image is a bit of a shame. My second tip is try as many films and techniques as you wish and can, but strive for consistency down the road. I mean, all the options out there are super exciting and I've been there, I've tried everything. But they will probably come a time when you will want to kind of streamline and focus your aesthetic approach to truly master it. I sometimes wish when I look back to images I took ten years ago that I've taken them on simply the same film stock to have some consistency in my work. My advice is get to know a particular stock, invest in it, get to know it intimately and you will reap the benefits. My third tip, my last one is simple. Develop your film quickly after shooting it, scan it, or have it scanned immediately after development, and then store it properly. This means in a cool, dry, dark environment that is dust free because you simply never know. Some of those negatives may turn out to be extremely valuable to you in the future, whether for monetary, business reasons or personal ones. So treat them well. Now, let's move on to the next stage where the hybrid workflow really comes into effect. And that is scanning. 5. Scanning: Let's look at the topic of scanning your film images. This is a crucial stage in the hybrid workflow, the scanning or digitizing of your negatives and positives. This is the moment where the physical object you've created, such as this filmstrip, these positives are translated into ones and zeros into pixels on a screen. There are three main methods of scanning your film. There is your traditional flatbed scanner, which contains a light source and a small sensor which runs across the scanning area. Reading the brightness and color values of the object you are scanning and converting it into pixels. Next, they are professional drum scanners, which use a similar technique, but with much, much more sophistication. These were specifically created to digitize film images. They are still around, but they are expensive, difficult to maintain, and nowadays poorly supported on the software side. But especially for medium and large format photography, they still represent the absolute gold standard of scanning. Lastly, a more recent trend, and that is the advent of ever-more resolving digital cameras. And using these to effectively photograph your negatives. This method involves also a light source, such as the simple light table here, as well as a highly resolving digital camera and a macro lens. You will basically photograph these film strips or top or light source using a macro lens. That's really all there is to it. It sounds simple, but in practice, it's quite tricky to do. In my opinion, however, this method is probably the most feasible option for 90% of photographers out there who may already have a digital camera. It also gets extremely close to the results obtainable with a drum scanner, particularly for sharpness and particularly for 35-millimeter. This technique is super exciting and that's why we'll discuss it in more detail in this lesson. And I'll also be showing you some examples of actually converting those images in Lightroom or Photoshop. Because the photo you take will simply be a photo of the negative. So it still needs to be inverted. As fifth development may be tempting to just let the lab scan your film. Yeah, sure why not. But just as with development, there are also some caveats. As far as I can tell. They are also again, three downsides to lab scanning that can be avoided with a setup at home. First, a lab usually does not scan your full negative. The scans that you receive are heavily cropped so that sometimes you only see about 90 to ninety-five percent of the actual image. You don't see the film border. For example. The beauty of film is that you can even see the emulsion responding to light. And this effect is particularly evident at the edge of the negative frame. Take a look here. At the corner of the image, you see a clear demarcation to the film base. This is one of the beauties of analog photography and only a full negative scan can show you this. And this is also the reason why full negative scanning has become a huge trend. You can appreciate the black border running around your frame. And you can also read, depending how large you capture the film type, the manufacturer, and rebate of your film stock. You can even go so far as incorporating the sprocket holes that are used to hold the film in place inside your camera, which are these holes here, these perforations. And also scan them, digitize them as well. That looks amazing and it has become a real trend to show the true like analog heritage of your photographs. This you won't get from a lab or at least not from a regular commercial lab. The second reason to avoid lab scans is really their lack of resolution. You will usually receive a poor representation of your film and also of your lenses actual sharpness. By virtue of just receiving a low-quality batch scan. Often it will be a JPEG heavily compressed. You may even think the film or the lens you've used is not particularly sharp, or that the grain is mushy and smeared. But you should consider that this may simply be down to a lack of quality in scanning. Good macro lens digitized digitization setup or a drum scan can show you the exact fine texture and surface characteristic of your particular film stocks. Green analog is well able of resolving. Even find textures and structures such as individual hairs. You just have to use the right film stock and the right development. The last reason to avoid lab scans is really important too. And that is that the interpretation of your negative in conversion involves making aesthetic choices. Choices on contrast, choices on color, temperature, and saturation. So whoever makes the scan decides the final look of your image, if you're really serious about your photography, it's likely that you will want to have a word in this process. You know, that's just kind of obvious, right? Unless you find a lab that offers you something that you are perfectly happy with, that's fine too. But just remember, a negative always has to be inverted. There's no escaping these creative choices. Unless you shoot positive film. This is the inversion pipeline we are now going to look at in detail. Let's jump onto my computer and get started. Alright, I will show you three methods of converting an inverting your DSLR scans. Let's start with the most common, which involves a plugin called negative lab Pro. Maybe you've heard of it before. It's a simple plug-in for Lightroom, which allows you to batch convert larger amounts of scans. And it does so in both black and white as well as color, which is really useful. Negative flat Pro has become very popular because again, it just simplifies the process and it gets the colors quite right. Most of the time. We've already imported our film and we will jump here into the development tab to the first image. The first step I always take is to white balance off of the border. Why? Because maybe you can see the whole image has a slight purple, blue tint to it. Now after white balancing that tint is gone. And I will synchronize all of the images so that they all have a more neutral appearance. Obviously, the plugin will know that we are working on a black and white picture. It will do that also automatically and realize that color information can be discarded. So here you can see my sources, a digital camera. The column model is black and white, which again means that the program subtract all of the color information. Pre saturation, I leave a default border buffer is five per cent, which is this film border which runs around. And five per cent buffer means that the program doesn't take it into account when calculating the conversion. So now this would take a second, and I will speak to you when this step is completed. Alright, so here we are. All of our negatives were converted now by negative lab pro in a batch. You now have a whole bunch of options here that you can play around with, which will affect the look of your conversion. This is more relevant and more fiddly once you do color. But in general, you know those initial results that you see here are pretty decent. You can also set the sharpening down here, which has some presets built-in. There are also some advanced settings for the behavior of the program, the file management and so on. But for sake of demonstration, this is really all there is to it. We now have a fully converted film and all of the pictures are looking good. As you can see. This is a bit bright, this is a bit dark. That depends on the exposure, on the initial state of the negative. But the program, yeah, it doesn't really decent job of giving you a batch conversion. And the quality is great too. As you can see here. From the DSLR scan. We have a decent amount of sharpness. We can see the grain. These are even only 21 megapixel scans, so they are made with a 5D Mark three, if I recall, my usual scanning cameras or five TSR, which has more megapixels. But this is the first method of converting batch converting your images. I use it frequently and I can recommend the plug-in for sure. Again, you have plenty of options. If you want to bring again up the tweaking, you just hit Control N once again. And there you have your window to edit. Now, not everyone has Lightroom and not everyone has negative lobe Pro, especially because it costs something. But black and white conversion can also be done in any other image editing program, really on Mac, we have the native program called preview or four shell in German. And if I open the raw file, it opens correctly. Now of course, it would be nice if I could just simply invert the whole thing with one click. But in preview, this is not possible. However, we have the tools. The color correcting panel here. Now the first thing that we need to do is we need to remove all of the color information. Otherwise, our conversion will have a tint. And I do this by just taking out all of the saturation. You can see the program asked me now to make duplicates as a tiff because it's a Canon RAW file. I will do do so. Now I have a duplicate. You can see that this step pretty much does the same as white balancing off of the border in case of negative lab Pro. Now, we have removed the color tint from this, and now we need to invert. How would you do so? Well, it's kind of weird and counter-intuitive, but you have to invert here these sliders. So I will take the highlight slider, bring it all the way to the darkest part, and I take the darkness and slide to the brightest. Now you can see obviously this is not looking good, but it is a positive. Now we have inverted successfully. If I now bring this more into line with the information that is actually there, meaning I tweak the mid tones and I bring down the highlight behavior and so on. We are approaching a, I would say, sort of usable positive inversion. Now, obviously this is not looking as great as the negative flat Pro, but it is a decent enough alternative way. And it is free. Black and white and version can really be done with almost any program. And there's some latitude here for me to play around with bringing these sliders in line with one another. The highlights are causing a bit of an issue here. But still, I think you can understand that if I bring down the exposure here, it's starting to look okay. Once again, if you don't have access to professional programs or I don't want to spend money on a plugin. You do have the option of doing an inversion with your standard image editing software. This works especially well with black and white. However, color is a bit of a different beast. And that's why I will show you a manual color conversion using Photoshop. Now, if I drop this Canon RAW file onto my Photoshop, it will first bring up The Camera Raw, camera Raw plugin. I will now first bring the image into the correct alignment, because at this point it is in fact horizontally inverted. So let's mirror the image. And there we are. This is now correct. I'm still doing all of these steps in Camera Raw, by the way, because Camera Raw has access to the full information present in that file. I don't want to lose anything at all, which is why I will even do some sharpening here in Camera Raw rather than doing it once the file is actually opened. So as you can see, I've just flipped horizontally mirrored the image to be correct. I will now still repeat the step here. Taking the white balance picker off white balancing off of the film border. You will see in a second why? First of all, note how orange this image looks. And that is simply the color of the negative strip as you've seen in the other lessons, that orange mask needs to be removed for us to get correct colors once we invert. And removing this orange mask again works by white balancing off of the film border. You can see immediately that it's more neutral. Now we have removed that extreme orange cast and we have now sort of funky, weird-looking negative image. But once we invert it, it will look already pretty good. Next step I do is I go into the detail sharpness panel and I usually ramp this up to 60 to 80. Let's go with 80 to make the effect a little bit more pronounced. Depends also a little bit on your film. We won't go into all of the fine details settings here. But these steps are essential. White balancing off of the border, adding some sharpening. Lastly, you could make an automatic correction for your lens. Here in this case it was a Canon EF 100 millimeter macro lens. So why not? Let's correct slightly. You can see it removes a bit of vignetting and a bit of distortion. So I usually do that too. Now we are ready to open the image into Photoshop and start working on the colors. And by the way, as you can see, this isn't 48 megapixel scan with the five TSR. This is the full quality. We open. Now we are inside Photoshop. Now there's a simple first step, and that is the command. And I command that you can use. Command i means invert. Boom, we've inverted. We now have a positive image. As you can see, it already looks sort of flake reality, but it has a blue cast over it, maybe a green cast. The colors are not quite right. But we already have a positive image which looks like reality. But of course we want to get it right. Now. I'm not claiming that my workflow is to perfect one, but I wanted to show you how I do it. I work with going into the command L, tone that collector and German, which is the gradation correction, which opens up this panel. And you can either edit all three color channels at the same time, red, green, and blue at once. Or you can edit them separately. Let's go into red. Now, as you can see here, the histogram shows nothing both in the dark and the bright parts. We can throw away that information. So we bring this slider all the way up here. This slider all the way up there too, where we begin to have information. We do this on all three color channels, green and blue. So we have now thrown out all of the parts of the image that contain no information in the first place. Again, little bit of an improvement, wouldn't you agree? We now have removed that blue sort of faint casts that's over the image. But still I would say the colors are not completely on point yet. We have now done an important step. Let's go again into this panel. We can see now that there's information in the entire range of the histogram, remember that it's an inverted histogram. So this part here is actually the dark part and this is the bright part. Let's tweak a little bit further inside the channels. I would go into the red channel and I will start working on the mid tones. Five slide a bit and add some red into the mid tones. You can see that it nicely cleans up these tones, the whites and the grace. This is before. This is after. These mid tones have really responded well to a little bit of red. Let's see how they respond to green tweaks. This is also something that you experience more often. The green tweaking doesn't need to be as extreme. But in this case, I would say it benefits from removal of a bit of green in the mid-tones. I've gone lower on the mid tones and this gray has become more neutral in my opinion, more correct. Now, let's go to bloom. Do we need to tweak the blue? Well, as you can see, if we remove blue, then green starts getting predominant. If we bring in too much Bloom, we start to get into a kind of magenta, but yet a little bit of extra blue in the mid tones suits this image. I would say. Let's go so far as going to 1.1. You can always see here and the white part the best effect, as well as in the gray at the bottom. But you can already see it becomes a matter of taste now, maybe 1.1 is too much. Let's go 1.05. So what have we done? We have removed a little bit of gray in the mid tones. We've, Sorry, we've removed a bit of green from the mid tones. We've added a bit of blue into the mid tones, and we've added a fair amount of red into the mid tones. There we go. Again, see that the change from this to this. I'll show you zooming into the image a little bit. Here. You see quite a lot of green in that gray part that we have removed nicely with this step. I would say we are pretty close to a quite usable image. The red tones maybe a little bit desaturated. Maybe the whole image has a little desaturated. So we can now start to fine tune. I like to use the dynamic slider because it tends to boost those colors that needed the most. Well, I've added 50 of value in that panel. And it has boosted the reds nicely. Again. I'll zoom in to show you. Take a look at this yellow, this red. This is with the dynamic boost. And this is without with, without width. Yeah, There you have it. That's a very simple workflow of inverting your image manually in Photoshop. A C41 conversion, which many people dread doing it. But as you can see, it took me about five minutes to get a really good point. And I highly recommend if you have individual images that you really, really care about and that are really great, then do take this extra step to manually convert them. Because if you leave this to negative lab Pro, it will sort of give you the colors that it thinks are correct, but they may not be 100% to your taste. It is well-worth learning this relatively simple workflow here in Photoshop. And well, that wraps up the practical example for this lesson, and it wraps up the entire lesson as well. We have now taken successfully the step of having a digital copy of our negative on our computer to use for further presentation, for the processing to print from or to simply share on a website or social media. 6. Presentation: There we are. We have now successfully digitized our net negatives. We are able to look at our pictures on a computer or a smartphone. What now? Well, for decades, the proof in the photography putting was in the printing. And even today, printing your photographs as something special. And it appeals to many professionals and beginners alike. Myself, included. In this lesson, I'll take you through some of the basics of this stage. However, let's not ignore or forget the topic of digital presentation. Most likely, your analog photos will find their way onto the Internet on your own website or portfolio, or in a publication's website or a client's website, or well, of course, on social media. And really there's no shame in that. I think this digital trend has meant an incredible democratization of the photographic art. Analog photography is to be enjoyed by everyone when it comes to actual printing, just as we film and development choices, you can go a few different rules. This will depend on your intentions, on your film and on your budget. Most prints done by labs are now hybrid prints, meaning that the image pipeline may be digital, and yet the printing pipeline may also involve some analog stages. This is certainly true of the first most common type of photographic print, the so-called C-type Photo Print. C stands for chromo, chroma genic, meaning that a light sensitive paper containing dyes and other chemical components is exposed to light in a similar way to the negative at the capturing stage. The exposed photo paper is also then developed and fixed. C-type prints are true photographic prints and they used to be done without any digital processes at all. They have high sharpness, digit colors, and our archival quality, meaning they will last decades. This is a particular type of C-type print. This is a contact sheet. This was in fact realized without any digital intermediary steps by a master printer here in Germany. These are basically the entire film strips that I've shot on this roll of film placed onto the photosensitive paper, and hence developed with a one fits all contrast ratio. These were used in the past to give you an impression and an overview of your film. And indeed they do. I can see all the 36 images of my exposed film and I can judge which of these are worthy of further attention. These contact sheets used to also be available for color negative film, but unfortunately it has become really rare. So strictly speaking, this is not part of the hybrid workflow as this is a fully analog contact sheet. But it's a good illustration of how a seat type print kind of appears. You can see a certain glossiness. That classic vintage photography print vibe. I think it's gorgeous and I still get them with my film from time to time. As I said, it gives me a perfect overview of what I've captured. The next relevant printing technique is the inkjet print. As the name suggests, it uses ink on regular paper rather than being a photographic print. This means you don't require a dark room or developing chemicals and you don't need to do the print and full darkness either. You just need a decent inkjet printer. However, these prints tend to get photographs, perhaps a more painterly quality, something you may like or don't. It's somewhat less sharp and legs the clarity of a C print, but the quality of the printer and the ink place also a huge role in your results and color accuracy here is very workflow dependent, meaning that your monitor needs to be calibrated and so on. Inkjet prints are also called fine art prints because they are also used for the reproduction of other types of graphical art. Besides photography. The inkjet print is also a viable option. The last print that I want to talk about is the fully analog hand print. This is now found mostly in black and white photography and represents the highest price as well as quality level in photographic printing today. By retail type prints such as this one, are realized with the use of high-quality cotton based photo papers, which contain silver, bromide and halide and other chemicals. These prints display. Brilliant whites, blacks, and are good for a 100 years. If framed, archived and handled properly. Just as we have a color C type print, it is possible to realize a photographic print from capture to print without the help of any digital processes. However, unfortunately, there are only a few labs left who still offer this because, well, the high prices of raw materials, the great skill required, and so on. It is simply not the most economical printing option, but it is really something special. I recommend that once in your photographic life, you treat yourself to such a burrito print if you are crazy about photography, like I am. Now, let me show you a little bit how it looks up close as you can see, I've removed the frame and I've now removed the mat board, replace it here to the side. And I've simply glued the print to the backing paper using an archival type tape. The print itself. Well, it pretty much looks like your average photographic print, but well, the beauty is all in the paper. And in the method of realization. Perhaps you can see the paper has like a structure and a depth to it. This is because it is a cotton paper. You really see that kind of texture and organic quality of the surface material. Let me come even closer to the camera so you can get an impression. So I hope you liked this print. I hope you enjoyed that I showed it to you. I just want to draw a really quick parallel to the contact sheet. While I put this back together. See these frames are quite cool because you have the mat board which just sandwiches the print inside and one pro tip. As you can see here, there's the mat board between the glass and the print. And that's really important. You never really want to have that print come into actual contact with the glass. Why? Because overtime, that will be humidity, heat, and so on, which will creep into your frame. And this may lead, if you're unfortunate, may lead to the paper actually sticking to the glass and getting damaged that way. So that's one of the reasons why these mat boards are introduced, because they are kind of like a placeholder that creates a little bit of physical space and separation between your glass and your print. That's something for you to consider. Now, I have put this back together, make sure that I don't have any hair or dust locked in underneath. And I can put my frame back together, which is magnetic frame, which is kind of cool as you can see, it just comes back together that way. That is your fully analog buried to type print. I hope you like it. Let me just grab the contact sheet that we've also talked about, which is lying next to it, which is also a fully analog print, as I've said before. This is not a burrito paper. This is a different type of paper. More regular photographic paper, slightly thinner. And it is also a glossy option, as you can clearly see, with much more reflections happening. Then on this mat by Rita paper. This is by the way, an import cotton rag or paper. While I don't quite know who manufacturers this paper, but you can see that it has a totally different aesthetic. This is much more shiny and reflects light and a much stronger way. Now, while we're at it, let's also look at a C type print. Again. Same dimension, same frame as you can tell. But this time we have a color image. This was taken on dia positive film, Fuji Pro via 400 x, which is my favorite DEA film. And of course it was discontinued by Fuji. You know, that's one thing in analog photography, don't get too attached because you never know how long some products are really around. Now the reason I'm showing this is that this is in fact a hybrid workflow product. Unlike the beretta print we just saw. This is a C type print that is based on a scan that I provided to the lab that I edited to be color accurate to the actual positive, which I will show you in a second next to it. So you can have a good comparison to judge whether I was. In fact, close enough to getting the colors right. Now, as you can see here, the method of mounting is slightly different. This was in fact attached directly to the mat board. As you can see, it is a Fujifilm paper, I hope you can see because it's the faintest of writing. Perhaps here it doesn't display as well. But trust me it is, it is a Fuji Film paper, which I think it's fitting since it's a Fuji film that it was taken on. This C type print, as I said, was realized using the scan that I provided. And then it was used to expose the light sensitive paper in a dark room setting. Now, this exposure phase nowadays also involves digital projectors. So the file will be loaded into a computer and will then put projected onto the paper directly from a digital source. So these C-type prints are true hybrid prints and well, they are also beautiful and they have an amazing dual heritage of digital and analog. Again, here, I've used the black border. You have to be quite careful when having your print done because this blackboard is obviously quite thin and it has to match exactly to your board, to your mat board. So I recommend that you create the mat board only once you have the print in hand so you can measure it to the millimeter what you need. Otherwise, your mat board border may start to cover up that black border that you want to display. That would be a shame. So I hope this good for you to see. Well, there you have it. We've discussed two different prints, two very important types of print, the C type print, as well as the beretta analog print. And you can achieve beautiful, gorgeous results with both methods. As I promised, here's a little comparison between the final print and the positives. As you can see, the positive has a light source underneath that's needed for us to even see the luminance of that positive. If I turn off the light table, you will see that, you know, there's not that much for your eye to pick up on. So it's a difficult, let's say equation. And if you think of it, then D or positive was not really meant for printing. It was really meant for protection, meaning there was a light source behind the positive. And that was projecting the image onto a surface, onto a wall or onto a screen in a cinema, for example, the or positive film is not actually intended to be printed as it is here. And you can see the glossiness of the positive only really comes to life through that light source. The print itself is slightly more matte and well, it's a matter of taste. I said I still think it's very beautiful. But typically, this type of film was developed for other purposes. Also, I don't know if you can pick it up on the camera, but the blue tone of this is actually cooler than up here. This has a fair bit more magenta or purple tinge, which I added in post-production in color grading because I felt it needed it. But well, here I'm realizing how there's actually still a difference between the two. And that also shows what I said about being OCD with your photography. That even if you shoot, you still have quite a challenge to get your print and your positive to match 100%. Finally, an important recommendation for this printing stage. And that is simply always do at least one test print. There are photographs that I've test printed 34 even five times. Most labs will always offer this as part of their service. Or they will provide you a test print for a fraction of the cost of the final print. You will really want to do this, especially if you want to frame your images or display them in public. Because of course, you want to ensure that the print looks if you imagined it. And that is as close as possible to what you saw on the monitor. This end, you should also seriously consider color calibrating your monitor and editing your film images on the monitor, not with a maximum brightness setting. This is the number one mistake committed by beginning printers. And that is that often the print in reality will appear far too dark. Because think about it. The monitor is set to max brightness, but in reality, the film paper or the print paper rather won't reflect as much light as an LED lit monitor. You will want to get that brightness matching between the monitor and what you see there and the print you get later. I can only repeat. Always, always get yourself a test print once you frame your photograph and you put it on the wall or shared online, the hybrid workflow is concluded. But the quest for expression and knowledge is infinite. You can spend years perfecting and studying each of the four stages I've introduced to you in this course. Nevertheless, I hope you feel more confident now and navigating this complex universe. 7. Closing thoughts: All right guys, that concludes this crash course on the hybrid workflow and analog photography in the digital age, I've tried to condense a lot of information and sorted in a cohesive and logical way for you. And I hope that has helped you to navigate this field a little better. I'd like to end with a personal opinion, so please indulge me. During our scanning lesson, we spoke briefly about the full negative scanning trend. I mentioned that this allows us to appreciate the light quality at the edge of the frame and to show the film type and perforation if we wish. However, the way that this trend actually started, it was to display an image without cropping. The idea was that a photographer should be able to compose an image perfectly without having to crop later. This mastery of composition was intended to be displayed by showing the full negatives. Of course, many iconic pictures in history we're still cropped. This full border approach is perhaps a bit of a purists take the real irony, however, instead, in today's world of Instagram and digital sharing, the full negative now meant to prove that a picture was taken in an analogue way. And yet there are filters and apps that allow you to fake this convincingly. You can take a digital photo, run it through an app or a filter, and it will give you a border and a perforation as well as some film grain. And it's really extremely difficult to tell apart from the real thing. In 70 years. Something that started out as a proof of authenticity of the true mastery of analog image-making has turned into something that in authentically pretends to be something that it's not. I guess these are just the times we live in. But it doesn't really matter in the end, how an image was taken if it's a good one. Now as I've shown, a negative always has to be inverted and hence interpreted. So I think it's an oxymoron to think that there's such a thing as a pure negative image that you don't need to edit at all. No, editing isn't the very nature of the negative. Just remember, at the end of the day, this is art. There is no one way. There's no right or wrong. There's only what you want to express, what you enjoy. And on that note, I'd like to thank you for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it and that it was useful and I'll see you in another one in the future. This has been the hybrid workflow with me, Martin. Thanks for sticking around and until next time, keep film alive.