My favorite film — Kodak Ektar.  A Kodak Ektar 100 film tutorial is easy to write because this film is easy to shoot.

And like many of my favorite things, it has a bad reputation.  I have seen where well known photographers say things like don’t use it for portraits and its only for landscapes or details.

kodak ektar film image by wendy laurel of waikiki beach-1

kodak ektar in 120

kodak 100 film tutorial showing a kodak ektar film image by wendy laurel of kauai on contax 645-1

kodak ektar film in 120 – contax 645 medium format

 

But I disagree.  Every image in this blog post was shot with Kodak Ektar 100.  It is a super fine grain color film that loves loves loves light.  And shot right and well and developed and scanned at the right lab, its just about perfect.

Why Shoot Ektar?

I mean there are other amazing color films — I love Kodak Portra 800 and Kodak Portra 160 as well and shoot them at every wedding.  Kodak Ektar 100 film is my favorite because:

1.  Ektar shows the colors of the ocean and sky the way I actually see them here in Hawaii;

shot of two girls on ektar film with contax 645 by wendy laurel for kodak ektar 100 film tutorial post

kodak ektar in 120 – contax 645 medium format

 

2.  Ektar adds a wow factor to my images and a pop to the color;

3.   Ektar in 35mm is the least grain of any color 35mm film and no grain in 120 format;

portrait of girl and dad on kodak ektar film in 35mm by wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar in 35 mm

 

4.  Kodak Ektar 100 handles the sun so well — I can shoot backlight with it and still have a blue sky and blue ocean behind the subject

backlit family photo on beach by wendy laurel with kodak film in 35mm-1

kodak ektar in 35mm

5. Ektar is the best choice for cameras with older lenses or toy cameras. Older film lenses and toy camera lenses can be duller and not have coating or have it worn off. Shooting Ektar gets better results — in fact its the only color film I shoot in my Norita 66 or my Rollei. Its also the film I shoot underwater and in my lomography lc-a+ camera.  I hope this Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial makes it clear why.

portrait of girl with rainbow quilt on rollei with ektar film by wendy laurel for Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial

kodak ektar in 120 – rollei sl66 medium format camera

Kodak ektar 100 film tutorial image shot underwater on 35mm by wendy laurel

kodak ektar 35 mm in l-ca+ camera in underwater housing

The Rules

If you know my work or know me in person, you know I am a big believer in that rules are only made to be broken. But that said, there are some easy dos and don’ts with Kodak Ektar and you can take it from there.

1.  Shoot it on a Blue Sky Day
Kodak Ektar loves light. The more light the better. Its in bright light, that this film shines. Its probably not a good choice for Portland in the winter. But a sunshiney day? Oh yes, Ive shot it in Tahoe skiing, California, and almost every day in Hawaii.

bride and groom image on kodak ektar film in 120 by photographer wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar in 120 – contax 645

2.   Meter it at Box Speed (or thereabouts)
We all hear that color films love to be overexposed. yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, Kodak Ektar 100 film not so much. I shoot it at box speed – meaning that its a 100 speed film, so I rate it at 100 on my light meter and meter normally. I hold the meter straight up and down. I might give it a 1/4 or 1/2 stop of over exposure, but no more. Otherwise, yes, your peoples’ skins will go red and orangey.

potrait of girl in front of flowers backlit on kodak ektar film by wendy laurel for Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutoral

kodak ektar in 120 – contax 645

wedding portrait of bride and groom on kodak ektar film in 35mm by wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar in 35mm (heavily backlit)

And if you are using an automatic setting on your camera, (I have been known to do that on my Canon 1V)  then I use the AV (aperture priority mode) and set it at normal if the sun is behind me. If I am shooting into the sun (my subject is backlight) then I use the exposure compensation dial to plus 2 or plus 3 stops to compensate for the sun shining into my lens and expose for the shadows.

3.  Go Ahead and Use it for Portraits
It is a gorgeous film. But you might want to give people with alot of obvious red in their faces a pass on this film. It does pick up red. So sunburned people or middle aged men usually fair better with a portrait film like Portra 160.

ektar photo shot on medium format by wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar in 35mm

4.   Choose your lab wisely

Be sure the lab you are using is well versed in scanning Ektar.  I have had amazing luck with Indie Lab, Goodman Film Lab, and the Find Lab.  Its all in communicating with the lab about what you are looking for and giving them feedback after you get your scans.

portrait of girl in pool on kodak ektar film by wendy laurel for Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial

kodak ektar in 120 – contax 645

palm trees backlit image on medium format film by hawaii photographer wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar film in 120 – contax 645

kodak ektar film images underwater on 35 mm film by maui photographer wendy laurel-1

kodak ektar film in 35mm – l-ca+ in underwater housing

bride and groom under veil image by maui photographer wendy laurel

kodak ektar film in 35mm

Buy some Kodak ektar and go experiment today! Have a great day.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and Ill answer the best I can.  You can also buy my more intensive PDF  on how I shoot Kodak Etkar here.

If you want to learn about more creative techniques with film, check out my pdf series here.  I have pdfs on shooting Double Exposures, Light Leaks, Color Techniques, Sun Flare and a more detailed PDF on Shooting Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial.

If you would like to book me for a photoshoot in Hawaii, please just contact me here.  And if you want more one on one attention, sign up for an online or in person mentorship here.