Favorite Film Stocks for Low Light
Before you get to film developing & film scanning, you have a very important question to ask yourself as a photographer that will influence the look of your final photos: which film stock is best for what I'm shooting?
We asked six film photographers to share their favorite film to use in low light. Here's what they had to say...
"My film choice at night is usually Portra 400. I’m always looking for an opportunity to bring out a tripod for some long exposures after the sun goes down, and Portra 400 really nails the twilight & after dark look for me." – Chris Isham
"I am constantly finding myself using Portra 400 in low lit situations. This is a beautiful film stock when pushed a stop or two. For reception details in the evening or in windowless rooms, I always turn to Portra." – Lauren Muckler
"When I first began shooting film, I would put my Contax away as soon as the sun set, always a bit intimidated. However, when I began experimenting, I fell in love with shooting Ilford Delta 3200 during the first dance and toasts. There's just something so special about black and white film; it seems to make time stand still, and creates timeless and romantic images." – Hannah Alyssa
"Ilford's high-speed Delta 3200 is a look I love, particularly for getting-ready and receptions. It was many years before I started rating it at ISO 1600, and then it just got even better. I’ll happily shoot either 35mm film or medium-format film in low light, and I always get something beautiful and interesting with this film." – Meg Smith
"For my professional work, I normally stick with the same film stock (as I think it’s important for my lab in understanding my preferences when they scan). I love shooting Fuji 400H for it's amazing wide latitude—it is excellent with shadow details and very fine grains. Try to use a tripod for night shoots, it’s fun!" – KC Chan
"Ilford HP5 is by far my favorite B&W film stock! 99% of the time, I push it—I love the extra contrast it gives my images, especially those beautiful first dance shots and champagne toasts." – Audra Wrisley
And there you have it! Shooting film in low light doesn't need to be a struggle... just start with the right film stock for you and make sure to use your light meter.
Whether you love Kodak 120 film, Fujifilm in 35mm, or even disposable cameras, Richard can take care of your film developing and film scanning...