The phone proves the photo wasn't taken 10 years ago. Today I feel these phones destroy portraiture in general, especially when it comes to candid or street photography. I want to see the Americans with Disabilities Act modified to require accommodations for people who use phones. In many years we may look back on the phenomenom wistfully.
I've been enjoying your photographs and believe you could improve them by giving more exposure.
I treat the 400 speed film as if it had a speed of 250. As you get closer to your subject you might have to calculate bellows-extension.
Chris is right about contrast too. I was going to say develop longer... But I noticed you used D-23, while you have D-76 on-hand.
I had to go look it up because, as primarily a one-film-one-developer guy and I only really know Tmax 400 in D-76.
D-23 is a Metol-based developer, and according to Photo-Lab Index, Metol is great for bringing up shadows but does not build higher densities easily.
So... Making one change at a time, try D-76 1:1 and give more exposure...
Hi Bill, thank you for your kind words. I have the D76 now which my cousin got from Canada, but I am not getting the time to go to the shop and get empty bottles so that I can develop it. Hopefully soon. I have both D76 and XTOL which one should I go for first. I have a question, how do I get more contrast? Is there anything I can do in PS? (Sorry I know this is forbidden here).
Also, when you guys say more exposure, I don't understand how it would work. As in this case the white shirt was too bright I had to dodge it a little. If I give more exposure then it would be way too bright. Can you explain, really eager to learn.
I have fixed bellows and the lens is only 127mm. I just can wait to save up for a nice camera in which I can use different lenses especially good portrait ones. I was thinking of getting into 8x10 and use x-ray film which tried and it seemed to work fine. It's a lot cheaper as well and I can get it very easily here in Pakistan. If I can contact print an 8x10 x-ray film, which I am not sure if I could then I guess that would eliminate the need for a 4x5 enlarger which is quite impossible to find here and even if I could I don't have space to put it.
Any suggestions on a 8x10 view camera which can be afforded by someone earning in rupees (109 rupees = 1 Dollar)
Anyway thank you, I am enjoying this a lot, even if I cannot manage a real camera I will pursue this.
I don't know if I've thought this comparison through completely but it was fun thinking about it...
Think of a film's characteristics as a trail up a mountain - there's a small foothill section and then the trail gets steeper but maintains a steady grade for a long time. Now imagine another trail going up a steeper hill - but starting with the same foothills.
Now imagine hiking up both hills keeping track of distance and elevation gained.
On some walks, start counting the distance at the trailhead. On others go past the foothills and start counting. Starting after the foothills and hiking a certain distance will get you more elevation gain than starting at the bottom and hiking that same distance. Because the foothills were gentler, you didn't gain much elevation from that part of the hike when you started at the bottom. Those are your shadows.
The distance you hiked is your subject brightness range. How high you reach in elevation (highlights) depended on how steep the hill is (contrast) and how far you hike (subject brightness range) plus where you start from (exposure).
Developing longer, makes the hill steeper.
Here is an illustration of Tmax 400 in D-76 1:1 characteristics. Each gray line is a different development time, longer development time makes a steeper curve. I imagined your photograph and marked it in Red.
If you only develop longer, you will get to the Blue line. If you increase exposure AND develop longer you will get to the Green line.
Notice Blue and Green are similar. They would both make prints that even an expert would have a hard time to tell apart. I'd rather print from the Green line.
What amazes me is the shutter speed of 1/8th at f8 was required with TMax 400. OK it looks like an overcast day and in the shade but with the light conditions at Pakistan latitudes I'd have expected a much higher shutter speed.
It all looks pretty good to me so the shutter speed and aperture gave the right exposure or very close to the right exposure - it's just that I'd have never expected as low a speed as 1/8th at f8.