How to shoot grainy black and white portraits (film)?

Shooting with a manual 35mm

My goal is a grainy B&W with a similar effect to this

any tips, all I can find online are photoshop tutorials

7 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    1--This portrait is not that grainy and it's not shot on film. This is a digital image that has been converted to b&w and has probably had some fake film look added to it.

    2--Kodak Tmax P3200 is still available but it is not being made anymore so prices tend to be over the $7 it went for just a few months ago. I routinely shoot on this film anyway at 6400 and use a high accutance developer, Kodak HC-110, to pronounce the grain even more. Ilford Delta 3200 is the other 3200 film on the market and should also be souped in a high accutance developer if one wishes to emphasize grain although it's a bit finer than with the Tmax.

    3--This shot was taken at nowhere near 3200 though. The fake grain that was added makes it look more like Kodak Tri-X which is a rather classically grainy 400 speed film. Processing it in Kodak Tmax might give you a somewhat similar look as you see in this particular photo but you'll also need a super sharp lens with a shallow DoF which means shooting on medium format or if you're on 35mm, just use a macro lens. Be sure to shoot in fairly contrasty lighting also.

    Below are some links to my grainy b&w portraits which were actually shot on film. Technical information is below and you can always email me at with any questions.


  • 4 years ago

    The higher the ISO of the film the more grainy it will be, which is not much help on a bright day, unless you use a neutral density filter. Indoors use a nice high ISO, maybe 800 or 1600. You can push process colour negative film for extra speed. That will also tend to raise the graininess. You can ask some pro and semi-pro labs to push process film, but high-street labs would not know what you mean if you ask for 'push-process' and would not be able to do it. If you are intending to process at home and print at home by the 'old-fashioned' silver process (i.e. not by scanning the neg and printing by a computer) be aware that you will have to make a large financial investment in equipment and spend a lot of time and material learning the process. If you can find someone local who is still doing 'wet process and print' then get them to show you what is involved before committing yourself. Good luck - you will need it! Be preparecto run several tests.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    I's not a very grainy picture; the way you can get grain in analogue photography is by means of the film and also by developing times and temperatures; no need telling that also how much you enlarge the print you will see a bigger grain on it; that film is not even 400 iso; films with higher iso or poor manufacture are more grainy, you can use iso 3200 for fully grainy results

  • 7 years ago

    If you don't know this, I can't help but feel your knowledge of film is very lacking. Grain is simply the result of using a high ISO film. Use a film of ISO 800 or even 1600 and you will have grain. Here are some shots done with 1600 speed black and white film with a deep red filter for the look in the sky:


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  • 3 years ago


    Source(s): Take Perfect Photos
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    That's not grain...that's noise, from a digital shot. Grain in film is from using a higher speed film.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Ever heard of Instagram, honey?

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