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Taking notes on film


hirohhhh
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Does anyone here takes notes of each shot, such as aperture and shutter speed. And I mean particularly street or candid photographers who shot on the fly. What do you use for taking those notes quickly? I tried several times, and I just forget to take notes on majority of the shots. I guess I'm more focused observing around than remembering to pull out my phone and put the notes after each shot. I don't think it's necessary (at least for me), but it's nice to have when I develop the roll and when the exposure is not right. I'd like to know what settings was camera on, and how much did I miss.

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With 35mm I generally develop the roll soon after exposing it so any particular bias I might want to give in the development, such as push, pull, or the type of developer etc., is in my memory. But it's useless taking notes of each individual shot, and I imagine very time consuming, and only really applicable for a fully manual camera because with an automatic shutter  you often wouldn't know the exact speed. 

However with large format I think a notebook is essential because each sheet of film can be developed separately so there is much more control over the process and it's possible to take the negative to another level that batch processing (like all the 36 exposures on a roll) can't get near.

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Yes, I keep notes as I go, though it is easy to forget which is which when you write them down. Then I write in the margins of the negatives and on the back of the prints.

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My Nikon F6 prints that info between frames.  But like Tom, I don’t care.  If I missed the exposure on a shot, just looking at it will let me know by how much.  So if I missed it by 2stops, I don’t need to know if it was 2.8 @ 1/60, that could have been correct an hour later..

The only time it can help before developing is if you know you missed the whole roll by the same amount.  Or intentionally pushed or pulled the film. Then you can compensate in development.  But obviously not for individual shots on that roll!

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I'm not a complete newbie in the film photography, but I'm relatively new (around 50-60 rolls shot so far). After developing film, I scan it and look them in a Lightroom, and having this information would help me bater understand what settings I used for shots that I missed. Because without it, I only see it's not good, but have only guess, based on the look what were the settings.

When I'm out and shooting, I get so exciting that I completely forget about notes. I remember at the second half of the roll, and then I take notes for two shots and then I forget again :)

Edited by hirohhhh
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On 10/5/2022 at 6:57 AM, hirohhhh said:

When I'm out and shooting, I get so exciting that I completely forget about notes. I remember at the second half of the roll, and then I take notes for two shots and then I forget again :)

Sounds like you are not compatible with note taking while photographing, and you are not alone. I only bother when shooting large format where "slow" is the name of the game.

Anyway, learning the effect of aperture settings (often related to focus errors) or shutter speed (often related to motion blur) with a given focal length, is just so much easier (and cheaper) when learned with a digital camera.

No need to use expensive film stock to learn the basics these days.

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I usually have my iPhone with me all the time, so have set up a basic Numbers spreadsheet with the basics.

Film, Push/Pull, film comments dates etc.

Each shot: date, subject, lens, aperture, speed and any comments.

Most of the data uses formatted fields, so for example date will be today, lens, aperture & speed are set to pop-up menus of fixed items. It’s only the comments I have to enter manually, if needed.

I’m new (again) to shooting film, so this is my starting data, which may change as I shoot more.

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Use the voice recorder on your phone. It time and date stamps the recording and you can describe the scene and add the aperture, shutter speed etc.  Or if you don't want to use you phone buy a digital recorder from eBay, they are relatively cheap and keep it in your camera bag.

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I've always "kept notes." In the old days (think 1980's through 2000 or thereabouts), I'd contact print everything and place those in a 3-ring binder separated by "notes" with processing details, printing developer/times/contrast, etc. These last ten years or so, I've maintained an Excel Spreadsheet along with some textual notes in each directory that contains scanned contact sheets. It's proven helpful in a variety of situations.

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@Bobitybob I was trying to think how to do voice input for my spreadsheet, but I think your idea wins hands down.  I completely forgot about the voice recorder. I used it constantly when I worked and best thing is I can use my Watch to record it …. Yes I drink the Apple Coolaid 🤪

Edited by OThomas
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On each of my contact sheets I indicate the film stock, the shooting ASA/ISO, and the developer. I have never felt a need to record any other information. 

My wife's Nikon F6 (film camera) stores the EXIF data for every frame. It can be downloaded to a memory card and printed out. We did that for one roll a number of years ago. She has not seen a need to do it again. I develop and scan her film and include the same information at the bottom of her contact sheets that I do on mine. 

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@Doug A If that works for you go for it, but some of us, myself included, are coming from digital where all this information is available and we are used to having it. So we “need” it.

Personally I gain a lot of knowledge from the Exif data collected. 

Just different strokes for different folks. 

Edited by OThomas
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