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Archive 2016 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?
  
 
photoelectric
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


I apologize if this is not the correct subforum for my question.

As an avid fashion photography connoisseur, I've looked through a lot of fashion spreads through the years, but only more recently have I become more knowledgeable in photography. On top of that, I now view Vogue and such in digital format on my 12.9" iPad, and so whatever I missed on physical pages or attributed to printing defects now jumps out at me magnified.

Specifically, I see an overwhelming number of fashion photos--product ads or photo stories--where images have a lot of noticeable grain to them. At first, I thought it was because film is still the preferred medium. But increasingly I realized the grain could be added in post-production. Perhaps to give oversmoothed airbrushed skin some texture?

Seeing a prominent Vogue (etc) photographer post his photos on this site, he says he uses digital (a full frame DSLR--at low ISO!) and yet many of his images have that specific film like grain.

It does look nice and gives photos a more flat look as opposed to contrasty and sharp smooth grainless look.

Another thing I notice is blur--both slight motion blur and also slight defocus or missed focus. On obvious parts like eyes! That's confusing to me, to select or present photos like that for major publications with high budgets. Perhaps imperfection of this sort is in style? Surely the photographers know how to avoid such technical "mistakes" and use custom settings and custom lighting to get everything right. That makes me think the imperfections are deliberate.

I'd appreciate any constructive comments on these topics. Thank you.



Oct 04, 2016 at 05:33 AM
tonyfield
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


I have noticed this in a few images in the fashion world. IMHO, this is an attempt to bring in a sense of "reality". Perfection becomes boring. Indeed, some of my own favourite shots are not perfectly sharp ... mostly motion blur. On rare occasion, adding some "grain" is a good thing.


Oct 04, 2016 at 05:56 AM
Paul_K
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


Back in my film shooting days I was a great fan of pushed Tri-X, processed in many different ways and all kind of different developers to, depending on the effect I was after, add or avoid grain as much as possible (although I preferred the 'extra' grain)

Kept using Tri-X and old school developers such as Rodinal and Acufine even after Kodak introduced the 'improved' T-Max films and developers, and C41 BW400CN.

Only T-Max film I used was the TMZ 3200, which according to Kodak could be up to 3200 ISO, but I found attractive for the 'gravel' size grain when processed e.g. at ISO400 in Rodinal
http://m5.i.pbase.com/g9/20/670620/2/159141665.4o31RNN7.jpg

Shooting in B/W and with such imperfections as grain (and unsharpness) was indeed a kind of rebellion again the slick, sharp, super sharp pictures you could, and even nowadays, find abundantly in main stream photography in the 90's.

And of course is nothing new in fashion photography, just look at way the pictures of e.g. Martin Munkacsie. Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, David Bailey and Terence Donovan, or Corine Day rebelled against the established style of photography in their days.

The OoF part was often not so much intentional, but simply inevitable.
The first relevant AF camera (the Minolta 7000) hit the market in 1985, but it (as well as similar Nikon and Canon models) was as far as AF was concerned a far cry of what even the most modern entry level DSLR's are capable of.

Combine that with shooting with sometimes extreme long lenses which not always were prefect optically
(like this shot
http://m3.i.pbase.com/g9/20/670620/2/159141663.Pq8K7aBh.jpg
with a 8/500mm mirror reflex lens), and the limited high ISO of the films of those days (ISO 400, maybe 800 really was the most you could get away with) and you'll understand that getting the kind of ultra sharp pictures you can get nowadays with a modern DSLR were a distant illusion in those days

From a practical point of view, I haven't found the perfect way to reproduce that kind of grain in digital post processing yet, but admittedly haven't made serious efforts to do so (yet) nor have purchased/tried to find the 'right' software for that.

This e.g. is my latest effort, processed (only) in Nikon NX2 (only 'serious' post processing program I have/use, not very much interested in CS, Lightroom, Phase One etc)

http://m1.i.pbase.com/g9/20/670620/2/164089271.Jvl2kEiT.jpg
(<25% crop with added, according to the label in NX2, 'large grain'
the original, in that version already slightly cropped version looks like this
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/20160907_samayra )

Not exactly like my Tri-X and TMZ shot's, but it'll do



Oct 04, 2016 at 08:41 AM
photoelectric
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


Thank you both for your detailed replies.

By missed focus or noticeable blur I mean modern photos made for ads and stories, not old photos. They could still be using manual focus lenses, of course. I wish I could link some screenshots of what I mean, but it's probably against reproduction rights. Though maybe there's a "fair use" exception for educational purposes?



Oct 04, 2016 at 01:04 PM
 

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jefferies1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


Could you link to a sample.


Oct 04, 2016 at 05:13 PM
tonyfield
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


Paul_K wrote:
Back in my film shooting days I was a great fan of pushed Tri-X, processed in many different ways and all kind of different developers to, depending on the effect I was after, add or avoid grain as much as possible (although I preferred the 'extra' grain)
...
Combine that with shooting with sometimes extreme long lenses which not always were prefect optically
(like this shot
http://m3.i.pbase.com/g9/20/670620/2/159141663.Pq8K7aBh.jpg
with a 8/500mm mirror reflex lens), and the limited high ISO of the films of those days (ISO 400, maybe 800 really was the most you could get away with) and you'll understand that getting the
...Show more

Most impressive. This convinces me to take out my old 500mm F8 MTO Russian mirror lens and give this concept a try. Thank you for the most delightful inspiration




Oct 04, 2016 at 10:51 PM
photoelectric
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Fashion photography - artificial grain on digital images?


I am trying to find samples, but unfortunately all are pretty small size on the web. The iPad paid magazine version is full screen in pretty high resolution. Still looking.


Oct 04, 2016 at 11:29 PM







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