Instant Theme: A Shoot with Neal Carpenter

Neal has submitted to us before and has been featured on our Facebook page and on the blogs Featured Friday. His work is amazing and takes instant film to beautiful places. Recently, he let us know about a small session he did with a great model and used strobes. We knew we had to feature it. We love that he uses pack film with strobes and he shoots with one of our favorite cameras, the Mamiya RZ. He included a small write up for you technical shooters to read about his technique. Thank you Neal for your submission and we hope you enjoy his work!


I’ve been wanting to push myself by incorporating more dramatic lighting styles in my film work. Inspired by the work of Greg Gorman, I found a willing friend and a great location.

All of the images were captured using a Mamiya RZ with 180mm lens and polaroid back. Unlike my normal practice, I actually used the polaroids to proof my lighting before shooting on roll film. The instant film was Fuji FP-100C and FP-3000B.

Most of the images were lit with an Elinchrom BXRi 500 monolight with a Photek Softlighter or Elinchrom 27 inch beauty dish. Because we were in an abandoned warehouse, I brought an Alien Bees Vagabond Mini Lithium battery pack to power the strobe. The others were lit with tiny amounts of window light and required 1-4 second exposures to properly expose the film. Good thing I brought my tripod.

I was quite pleased overall. Even though I was aware of the differences, I was shocked by the lack of latitude in the Fuji instant film compared with Kodak Tri-X. I also was reminded of how little these films like cold. It was in the 50s and the film took much longer than normal to develop. Notice, one of the color images has a dark gray border because I pulled it too soon. I do like the softer color pallet and lessened contrast it created.

I don’t know that I’ve found my inner Gorman, but I’ll keep working on it.


Please check out more of Neal’s work at the following link.




Model, Make Up, and Styling by: Kelly Page


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