DEVELOPING YOUR FILM
Most of the time it's best to shoot film at box speed, but sometimes either for effect or necessity (and sometimes on accident) we don't. We must then compensate the development time to get the film to come out. This is pushing/pulling the film.
Pushing/Pulling film at its most basic is shooting film at an ISO other than the suggested speed on the box. Following the suggested ISO on the film packaging is referred to as "shooting at box speed." So, if you shoot 400 ISO film at 800 ISO you are doubling the speed of the film (underexposing by half the light needed) This is referred to as a push, N+1 in this case. if you doubled it again and shoot at 1600 that is N+2 and so on. Pulling is the opposite of pushing (overexposing), 400 ISO film shot at 200=N-1, at 100=N-2, and so on. So a push is underexposed and we must overdevelop to compensate. a pull is overexposed and underdeveloped. The development is the part we do, but we need to know N-1 or N+2 (or the ISO you used) to get it right. We also will have to develop your film separately and charge for that.
What effect does this have on your film? Pushing increases contrast, pulling on the other hand decreases contrast. Keep in mind If you are pushing or pulling you have to commit to the entire roll. You can't shoot half one way and half another because the entire roll is developed at the same time. Pushing/pulling works best with black and white film, really you should avoid pushing or pulling color film at all if you can. Color negative film will increase in saturation and have finer grain if slightly overexposed (1/3-1/2 stop) and developed normally. Definitely worth experimenting with but this is not pushing in the true sense. There is lots of info out there as to why you might want to Push/Pull your film this is just some basic info to help you understand what it is.
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