BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: How Do I Get that Photographic Technique?

Photography Question 
Brandie Sanders

Where Can I send Off my Film for Good Processing?

Ok, I have been offered to photograph a wedding in August, which I am pretty nervous. I have done 3 other wedding but not one that is this big! I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of guest. Anyway I want to do the best job I can, I have a Canon Rebel X, I only have a small flash that connects to my camera. I do have Novatron lights but that didn't seem right to lag them around. What type of film should I use and do you know anywhere that I could seen my film off to, to guarantee a good quality picture? I know I sound like I am over my head in doing this, but they keep insisting on me doing this wedding. Please help! By the way its an outside wedding and indoor reception.

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6/20/2001 3:25:27 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy   If it was indoors I would say lug you Navatrons around the wedding but since it's outdoors I suggest getting some large reflectors (foamcore comes in 4x8 sheets). For the reception you might consider lugging the Novatrons. Ideally, it would be nice to have radio slaves for the Novatrons. You can place them in the reception hall and bounce them off of the walls to illuminate the place. The film to use is Kodak Portra. I would use the Portra 160NC for the outdoor stuff and 400VC for the indoor stuff. Check around your area for professional portrait labs. I have also heard good things about A&I. I think they have several locations and handle film on a national basis. I live in Oregon and use K&K Color Lab in Portland. They do a good job.

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6/20/2001 6:46:47 PM

Brandie Sanders   Jeff, thanks for the quick response. I live in Alabama where there is no real "professional" portait labs. So if you don't mind can you please email the K&K Color Lab's address or maybe phone number. Do you trust mailing the negatives all the way to Oregon from here? And this Portra film, does your regular stores have this? All I have ever seen around here is Kodak regular film. But I may can go to a bigger city and get that but yes I would like to have that address please. :) And are you saying put the Novatrons, just somewhere to bounce off, not to place them like a photo shoot right? If I pull this off I will be a super hero. Thanks so much....

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6/20/2001 8:23:21 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy   As far as labs go check out the following links:
Note that K&K requires you to set up an account with them. If this is a one time deal they may not be able to help you. I would contact them if you are interested and see if they will work with you. Yes, Portra film is a professional film so you will likely have to find a large camera store to buy some. Or you can order it from B&H

Space the Novatrons equally around the room and bounce them off of large white walls and ceilings to get even light. If you pull this off you will be a hero but remember if you don't... is it worth it.

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6/20/2001 8:42:34 PM

Brandie Sanders   Thanks for your help. And wish me LUCK!

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6/20/2001 8:46:30 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001

Agree completely with Jeff's film recommendations. Are there any independent portrait/wedding photographers near you? Look in the phone book for them if you need to. If so, call and ask them where they send their film for developing and proof printing. That's how I found out who the reliable pro labs were when I moved to a small city in the middle of rural Indiana. Nearly all will share this information with you. A good pro wedding photog won't trust the film or printing to a consumer lab (especially a one-hour). Most I know are pretty finicky about the pro lab they use as it affects the bottom line of their business!

-- John

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6/21/2001 11:20:40 PM

Brandie Sanders   John,
There are only a few independent photographers in this town. I went to one and I have already ruled them out. Most 1 hour photo labs are better than their pictures. I asked them a few questions on their lighting and processing but they didn't give me much. I guess they don't want the competition. ha. But have you ever heard of a Wolf Camera? I called them yesterday and asked about their pricing and processing so I think I'm going to try them out. They are an hour and half away though. But thanks for your concern.


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6/22/2001 10:57:26 AM

HAI    Brandie,
Try not to do it because you are limited on equiptment and it is not easy to be a wedding photographer. Tell them to hire a pro if they can but if you have to take this shoot, here is what you might want to try:

1. Be very careful with your Rebel when shooting receptions, set your lens on M (manual) focus mode becauce the autofocus on this camera is not that great. You don't want to wait, wait, wait and miss some inportant pictures

2. Try Fuji films - NPH 400 set @320 and Reala for outdoor

3. indoors, try to set your Rebel on M mode (not Green) mode and shoot at 1/60 f8 or f5.6. You need a good TTL flash unit.

4. Relax... have fun shooting...

I agree with John and Jeff about processing. That is all I know I hope some one there correct me if I 'm wrong because I'm just a 35mm repair tech, not a photographer.
Good luck!!!

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6/22/2001 5:00:54 PM

Gail Hammer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/17/2001
  Hi Brandie,

I am a photographer who has done about 12 weddings in the last few years and always with a 35mm. camera. I just did an outdoor/indoor one and was really pleased with the results as were the bride & groom. In fact, they were thrilled. I did not lug around tons of equipment - I used Fuji NPH 400 and set the ASA at 200 (giving it slightly more exposure). I kept my flash on the camera at all times outdoors using it as a fill. When I got indoors I kept my flash on the camera and used a Lumiquest bounce. I was able to put the camera I was using (Minolta Maxuum 7000) on program and when I used my other camera which is a manual camera I just used my Vivitar 285 flash at one of the modes, set my f-stop to match the flash mode, my speed at X-synch and everything worked out beautifully. Try to do your group shots outdoors if possible (it's easier) but if it rains and you have to go inside, in my opinion all you need as far as equipment is your flash off camera bouncing into an umbrella - keep the flash & umbrella stand high and behind you. Good luck. Oh yeah - if you can bring a friend along to assist you it will help you stay organized and calm.

Gail Hammer

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6/27/2001 12:35:22 PM

Brandie Sanders   Gail,
Thanks for the advice, I am taking just the bride's portraits at the location this Friday in her dress. I found out if you take these pictures on a seperate day you have more time to work with the bride. Plus, the bride always wants lots of pictures of her in her gown. With my wedding, my photographer took my pictures two weeks before the wedding and I loved them. Then she came and did my wedding and none - I repeat none - turned out. I was devestated. But I still had the pictures she had took before. So in my standpoint, I'm doing the right thing. Just in case. I really appreciate all the response I have received, I'm getting more confident every day. Thanks again!

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6/27/2001 2:01:55 PM

Neal Olroyd   Hi Brandie,

I don't mean to enter the fray late or sound like a commercial, but I have had many fantastic experiences with Ivey-Seright based in Seattle, WA. If I were in your shoes I'd go with these pros. I live in Portland as well and have found that the level of service at our local shops is good Ivey-Seright blows them out of the water. Enjoy yourself!

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8/23/2001 1:45:29 PM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  Neal, Just wanted to let you know that Ivey has been sold and is called something else now. Don't know if the quality is still the same...

Brandie, how did the wedding go?

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8/24/2001 1:59:20 AM

Brandie Sanders   Hey everybody! This weddings are over and it was a huge task. But I did make it thru. The first wedding was indoors and everything went smooth, the second wedding was outdoors and it was beautiful but lengthy! I got the 400VC for outside and 160NC for inside. I sent them off to a professional lab in Birmingham, Al. After waiting patiently for 2 weeks I get a phone call telling me that 2 rolls of film was destroyed by there machine. And they couldn't tell me who's it was, all I knew was it was part of the reception and some of the wedding. My heart was crushed so I had to wait until they mailed them to me to find out. They replaced the film and gave me certificates for my next film processing (like I'm going to send them anymore). But they couldn't replace the memories that was destroyed for the bride. When they came in it was the first weddings pictures. She was very understanding but still that's not good business. But over all I say they turned out pretty. For the outside wedding, you couldn't have found any better photographer than what I did. I was so proud. Thanks for all the support that everyone has given to me.

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8/29/2001 3:12:02 PM

Sherry A. Reid   Hi Brandie; I live in Birmingham AL, or real close.. Did you send your film to Wolf? Anyway, I too shot and have done a few weddings; Where are you out of? Do you do this as a hobbie; or as a sole type of income?


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11/28/2002 11:00:00 PM

Brandie Sanders   Sherry, Yes I have sent my film to Wolf in Homewood for a wedding and they destroyed two rolls of film of mine. They did replace blank film and a coupon for film developing but that doesn't replace the moments lost for that bride and groom so I no longer send my film to Wolf. I only take pictures on weekends so I guess I do it for a hobby. My husband built me a studio upstairs so I don't have to leave my home to take indoor pictures. But I would love to do this for a living but I really need to take a few classes, but for a new comer I think I really do good photos. I am out of Northwest Alabama, Haleyville. My studio is over on Quarter Creek. Have you ever heard of it? Well thanks for your input.

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12/2/2002 9:56:23 AM

Sherry A. Reid   I've not heard of Quarter Creek; But I have heard of Haleyville. Good luck to you. I too do it as a hobby for now. It is fun. I am attempting to make more of it; but it takes time and money. Of which I need both. Have a great day!

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12/2/2002 11:00:32 AM

David H. Clukey   Consider R&K Photo in Auburn, WA for your processing. In my experience there is no better lab in the Seattle area. Every roll is hand processed, and each image optimized for quality. A roll of 36 4x6 proofs will run you around $20 bucks, but you won't be sorry you paid the price when you see the prints. Family owned, of the few labs that still has pride in their product.

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7/27/2003 3:32:10 PM

Mary E. Heinz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/23/2005
  R&K sounds like a good place to go from
your description...I'm so new/ I even
feel "green" on the inside! Have only
done one wedding and am nervous about
the "indoor" dark room images...
The ones from "getting ready" are
pretty good....background wasn't too
great but I did well with the setting/
and my first time...

Can someone briefly help me understand
how to bounce the flash to right or
left of subject next time and not
use direct flash indoors?

I have been encouraged to use "mpix"
for my orders......I am finding though
that you need to purchase the "scans"
and then create your own album for a
cd of the images...

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5/6/2006 11:26:26 PM

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