5 Frames… Of Portraits on ILFORD HP5 400 (35mm Format / EI 400 / Canon AE-1 Program + Canon FD 50mm f/1.8) – Tashdique Mehtaj

After my first portrait session with Kodak Portra 400, I was excited to try a B&W film. A quick search on Filmfotostore led me to ILFORD HP5 PLUS, an ISO 400 film which is known for its all-purpose value. My next decision was to find a model and a location for the shoot. Luckily this did not take much time either. I found my muse in Sanchaita Roy, while another friend agreed with me using her place as the location for the shoot.

The camera in use was my trusty Canon AE-1 Program with the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens I had purchased from a collector in Delhi after waiting about a year just for the price to drop and make it much more affordable for my budget.

The location was dimly lit with sunlight coming from the windows. Since it was my first time using a B&W film, I was super skeptical about the exposure going wrong. I decided to not take any chances and used my Sony A6000 with a similar setting to act as a lightmeter-cum-backup plan. Only did I later realize, the mechanism of B&W film is different than that of a modern digital sensor.

I did fumble with the manual focus a number of times due to the dimly lit set but soon, the 36 exposures were spent and the film was ready to be developed and scanned at my usual go-to Filmfotostore.

The shots came out pretty good with pleasing contrast and grain. The shadows had a pleasant muted look while the whites were just perfect. Not only that, the mood of the resultant photos were totally in sync with the attire as well as the setup of the location.

To conclude with I would say if you are looking for a 35mm B&W film to shoot with ILFORD HP5 PLUS can be one of the best films to do your job. It does however come at a bit higher price compared to others (here in India, at least) but it resultant images do justify the cost it comes in.

~ Tashdique

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About the author

Avatar - Tashdique Mehtaj

Tashdique Mehtaj

I am Tashdique Mehtaj, a self-taught photographer from Guwahati, Assam. I shoot mainly events, portraits and contribute actively for stock photography sites such as Getty Images, EyeEm etc. Recently I started "Vintageandfilms" which is a photographic experiment...

, and please make sure you also check out their website here.

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  1. A project, a story, a simple great lens (all 50mm f/1.7,8/2/2.8 are great), a great film, a great light, a great model, and … and … and a clever, great artist and we get :
    no Leica, no Contax Zeiss, no Rolleiflex,
    The man makes the pictures not the camera 😉

  2. Great shots! There are better films for almost anything you can to do with HP5PLUS – Pan F is finer, Delta 3200 is faster, etc., but I love HP5PLUS because it can do almost anything pretty darn well. To me, it just looks like how I expect b&w to look. Not too slick, not too smooth, a little gritty. It’s my favorite film as well. You did some nice work with it. Glad you liked it.

  3. Congratulations! Gorgeous portraits in a wonderful light. Especially the shots on the bed have such a beautiful dreamy mood.