Monday, 30 July 2012

Cross processing

Cross-processing, also known as “Xpro”, is the procedure of deliberately processing film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. As the chemical mixture is optimized for a special kind of film, you will get unpredictable results when combined differently. The process is seen most often in fashion advertising and band photography, and in more recent years has become associated with the Lomography movement. High contrast and saturated colors is hat characterizes this technique.
There exists two kinds of film: Color negative film, also known as “slide film”, and color reversal film”, also known as “slides”. Different chemicals are used for both these types of film. Color negative film uses C-41 chemicals for processing. Slide film uses E-6 chemicals for processing.
When you cross-process, you use the chemicals for color negative film with color reversal films, and vice-versa. If you process negative film with the slide chemicals (E-6), you will get slides. Although the colors will not be as wacky; you will just get a kind of slide film with no big color shifts. If you process slide film in the negative chemicals (C-41), you will get negative film, but with the Lomographic burst of colors! This is because the color layers of the film were not optimized for this. As a result, the photos turn out saturated or grainy or with high contrast and you get all kinds of unexpected results. Different films have different characteristics when cross-processed. Some turn out more yellow or more green while others turn purple or red.

Remember that everything depends on how you process your film. The make and type of the film, the amount of light exposed on the film, chemicals and the developing process are responsible for what you get towards the end. When you have your film processed, you get different results from different labs because they do not always use the same chemicals and calibrations.
Cross processing effects can be simulated in digital photography by a number of techniques involving the manipulation of contrast/brightness, hue/saturation and curves in image editors such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP; specific settings and/or commands for "cross processing" are found in several such programs, including Photoshop and Picnik. However, these digital tools lack the unpredictable nature of regular cross processed images.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Light Leaks

Light leaks occur where light is able to seep, or “leak” in, causing the film to over-expose. Some people consider these light leaks to be artistic and therefore leave the light leaks untouched. Once when I put in a new roll of film, I pulled the film out a bit too far. The side of the first frame were exposed to light and caused a light leak on the photograph. I loved this effect that the accidental light leak caused.
On the contrary, within most cameras this is considered a major problem. The most common light leak areas are located at the corners of the front of the camera, the seam between the back and the body of the camera, and the exposure number window on the back of the camera. These light leaks can be retouched with Velcro, duct tape or electrical tape.
However, light leaks in photography are becoming more and more popular. It is super trendy especially with so many apps for Android and iPhone, apps like Instagram, Hipstmatic and so on. In fact, some people simulate such an effect during the editing process to create that retro vintage look to their photos. Light leaks cannot be created within the camera, it is an accidental effect but the Lomo Holga large format camera has the tendency of leaking light.
This is one of the reasons why I love film photography so much. It is these imperfections such as accidental light leaks, which makes a photograph beautiful and unique. There is room for mistakes. With film photography it is that one moment captured, not the one you chose from ten different options and angles that you took with a digital camera.
How to create your own light leak in Photoshop
Open your image and lock the layer. Pick a saturated red color. Select the gradient tool and choose the color to transparent option. Create a new layer and name it light leak one. On this layer, drag the gradient tool from a corner or side to the subject in the photo. Change the layer Blend Mode to Lighten.
Create a new layer and name it light leak two. Within this layer you’ll go through a similar process. Choose a saturated yellowish orange color. Use the same gradient option. Drag the gradient from the same area across the photo, covering a smaller area than with the red color. Change the layer Blending Mode to Linear Doge.
Create one more layer. Name it light leak three. Change the color to white to build the final layer of the light leak. Use the gradient tool with yet again the same option, covering a very little area. A transition from red to yellow to white is created.
The image can be balanced out with another red light leak on the opposite side of the photo.
You can also download some Lomo Light Leaks for free and try them out on your photographs by dragging the light leak jpg into your Photoshop file, changing the layer Blending Mode to Screen and play around with the transparency and scale of the layer.
Follow the link for a step by step video on how to create light leaks in your photographs