Regardless of which color negative film you use, the quality of the
resulting print will be directly affected by the film exposure.
important characteristic of a color negative to be used for color printing
is that it has adequate shadow detail.
a. Determining Correct Exposure.
Exposure of color negative film
latitude ranges from approximately one stop under to two stops over.
there is any doubt concerning the correct exposure, overexpose rather than
underexpose. To avoid excessive contrast in the print, do not exceed a 1:3
b. Evaluation of Color Negatives.
The color balance of the negative
cannot be determined visually, but the adequacy of exposure can. If there
is no visible shadow detail, and the shadow areas are clear orange, the
negative is underexposed. When the highlights are blocked up, the negative
has been overexposed. Evaluation of color negatives may seem difficult when
you first work with them, because of the orange masking. You can overcome
this by viewing the negatives through a Wratten 61 green filter.
filter neutralizes the orange masking and makes it possible to read the
shadow and highlight areas of detail.
can be determined by using a gray as a reference. A neutral gray card of 18
percent reflectance should be photographed with the subject. Place the card
along the edge of the scene where it does not interfere with the subject;
however, it must receive the same lighting as the subject. The card should
be tilted at a slight angle, not over 8 degrees from the vertical (figure
(1) If you cannot photograph in this manner, photograph the card
using a separate sheet of film. Process this test film with the same batch
of negatives that it represents. Then the gray card image can be printed to
correct color balance using various evaluation methods.
(2) You need not include a gray card in every scene as long as you
include in a typical scene with the same type of lighting.
extremely important with negative color films, since you cannot tell the
color balance by looking at the film as you can with reversal.
conditions change, such as haze or overcast, shoot a gray card. If you take
pictures over an extended period, include a gray card in the scene every
hour or so.