Large Format 4×5 Photography

  By Todd Korol


I still shoot a lot of large film. Yes, it seems I’ve always taken the hard road. In these days of isolation, I had two friends recently reach out and wanted to know more information about taking photographs with a 4×5 camera.

So instead of writing each a note, and with more time on my hands than I’m used to, I started making a series of videos about taking photographs with a large format camera.

It’s always good to articulate what you know, it’s like a refresher course for yourself, and it gives me a chance to hone my video and sound skills at the same time, we all need something to fill our days right now.

Large format photography is still alive and well. You can still get both colour and black and white film from Ilford, Kodak, Arista and Foma. The Camera Store still stocks a wide selection of black and white developers, as well as C-41 kits that allow you to develop colour negatives at home.

While 4×5 is more expensive than it was, you simply aren’t shooting as many photos. You are slowing way down, taking your time, really examining the composition and waiting for the exact moment before you press the shutter.

Yes, we should all be doing that with digital as well, but in these days of 20 frames per second, I’m the first to admit I take way too many photographs myself.

For me, it’s all about the “look” a large format negative gives me. Whether I am working in 4×5 or 8×10, I love how it slows me down. I love the tonal range, the bokeh, and the organic look of film.

So if you are thinking about getting started in large format photography I hope this series of videos can help you out. If you already have a camera, dust it off, slow down and see how great large format photography still is.

Luckily my friends at The Camera Store still stock film and chemistry for me to work with. In these crazy days of self-isolation, it’s a perfect time to try out something new.

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Todd Korol is an award-winning Canadian photojournalist, filmmaker, educator, and inaugural member of the elite Canon Northern Explorers of Light. He is currently a contract photographer for Reuters, and shoots regular assignments for the world’s leading publications. They include TorontoStar, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Canadian Geographic, The New YorkTimes, Sports Illustrated, Time, and Stern.