June is film Month

35mm film cannistersWe are celebrating “Film Month” this June, in addition to Fathers day.

“Film Month” is our special time of year when the sun is shining, the temperature is just right and it is time for some fun. “Film Month” encompasses all types of film. Color, Black and white and even instant. Yes, instant is still around, even if Polaroid is not. We are going to be covering the different films we carry and what reasons or conditions we would use them for in our cameras.

Instant Film – Polaroid is gone, but we still have the cameras, and the Impossible Project has done just what their name implies -the impossible. They have made instant developing film for Polaroid cameras that don’t need Polaroids chemicals or technology.   The Impossible film is very much like what we had in the “ole” days.  Each pack of film has a fresh battery, so all you have to do is load film and shoot.  There is both color and black and white films, with black or white borders to fit most Polaroid cameras.  Generally speaking, any 600, SX-70 or spectra camera is ready to go once you load the film.  The problem …was the camera put in the closet because they couldn’t get film or because it didn’t work?  Click Here For More About That.  Polaroid cameras are not the only way to get “magical” instant pictures.  Fuji makes magic of their own.

Fuji Instax line of cameras is the modern instant camera.  Smaller and modern looking they are available in several colors and styles.  Who Knew?  The Instax Wide has a wide format and captures quite an area, on a large 4×5-ish picture size.  The Instax Mini pictures are about the size of a wallet photo, the camera is cute and comes in colors.  What I really like is the Instax Share.  The camera phone instant camera!  Actually it is a printer that will WiFi to your phone using an App.  Prints come out in about 30 seconds and develop while you watch.  All controlled by your iPhone or Android.  “Magical!”

Click Here to see the instant film types we stock.

Color Film – So you have your old film camera and you want to load some film for the weekend.  What do you do?  Go down to the local camera store and the guy, or gal, behind the counter will make a suggestion. ;)

First, lets find out what kind of film you need.  Click Here to see what film formats are current.

100 ISO is just for bright sunny days, only.  Use 400 ISO for inside and out and on overcast days.  800, 1600 and 3200 ISO is for low light, but not dark.  Dark is little or no light and film was to have something to see.

We stock 35mm film in 24 and 36 exposures if available, click here to see our selection.  We stock 120 film as well, click here to see our 120 selection.

Black and White Film – Traditional process, black and white film is still alive.  We process every week to 2 weeks, depending upon the type of films that come in.

We stock Fuji Acros and Ilford.  Ilford  has by far the widest selection with ISO ranging from 50, 100, 400, 3200 in several emulsion types (the way the printed film will look).  Fuji is the film I would use for portraits, not necessarily things.

Really Old Film – Really old film, the stuff that looks old, faded paper wrapper, found in a trunk that grandma or great grandma had…This is the stuff we love to get.  Each roll is an adventure.  Not every roll comes out, but every roll is worth processing to see what is there.  Since these are specialty processes, it could take 2 or 3 months for us to have enough to process.  We only mix and process in larger batches because of the chemical mixing involved.

E-6, Ektachrome, Fujichrome we can still have these process, we do not process it in store, so we send it out.

K-14, Kodachrome we will only process as black and white negatives.

C-22 at this time we only do as black and white negatives.

Kodacolor X is actually old film, but a current process, so we do it here and in color.


Not sure hat you have or what you need?  Stop in and let one of our film photography experts help.

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Ilford XP-2 film – Black and White from Color Process Film






Photo by Chris Ford, shot on Ilford XP-2

Drum roll please……..Wow. Ilford has really outdone themselves on this one. XP-2 is a fine, fast and sharp black and white film that yields high contrast negatives and has an extremely wide exposure latitude making it suitable for use in varied lighting conditions. This film also has a monochromatic layer giving it the ability to be processed c-41 alongside color negative films. That’s right. Process right beside your color film in standard c-41 chemicals and it prints black and white. I’m in love with black and white film so I’m very excited to shoot a roll and see how those defined highlights really shine.

This is a new items for us, that we used to carry and have picked up again.  We stock it in 35mm and 120 size.  We also process C-41 film in our store on a regular basis.

Post by Justin

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Photo tip (shooting against sunlight)

file.jpgThe Sun is setting. There’s a nice warm glow above the tree line. Your friends are enjoying some casual conversation. Grab that camera and lets make a memory! Now for this shot specifically, the camera was set at an ISO of 125, at 1/500s and an old analog Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens was mounted to the body. I really loved the shapes that the cascading sunlight brought through the trees so the aperture was wide open at 1.4 to give me a really shallow depth of field. Now when setting up a shot like this your meter is going to say ” Hey, you’re pointed at the sun! Increase your shutter speed!” In this situation, we want our subject exposed as well. So we actually want to meter for our subject. This requires decreasing the shutter and framing your setting sun beside or even behind the subject. There were no clouds in the sky so I didn’t really mind that it was blown out. I just wanted that warm glow. The lens is from the 60’s so it naturally has a yellow tinge that only added positively to the image. Shooting against sunlight can be a great tool for adding mood to your photos and there are several ways to get the effect. Some shooters expose for both sky and and then shoot a separate image and expose their subject. Merging the two images together in post. Whichever technique you’re using, just play around until you get the desired light to create the image you’re looking for.
image by Justin Nix

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Choosing the right film stock

file.jpgWith the recent resurgence of analog photography coming back on the scene, you may be wondering ,”ok, I’ve got this older SLR in my hands but where in the world do I start with choosing the right film?”
In the digital age most of your image style and quality comes from your sensor and your lens. If you’ve got great glass you’re gonna get great results. Think of film in the same way. Some film stocks have higher quality and different looks than others.
Let’s run through exposure specs first. Film comes in different speeds and imulates the digital camera’s ISO with what’s called ASA or American Standards Association. This term has been largely put to rest and is commonly referred to as ISO. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the film is to light. It takes longer to expose film that is ISO 25 than film that is ISO 100. Film with a low ISO number, from 25 to 50, is said to be “slow film” because of the slower shutter speeds required to photograph the scene. On the other end of the spectrum, the higher the film speed, the more grain that is introduced. You will also be able to shoot in lower light. When one is first starting out, I would recommend a nice even 400 film speed. It will be sharp in the daytime and won’t introduce a large amount of grain if your shutter speed has to go down to 1/60s. Now that we’ve got light preferences out of the way, you may be asking yourself why some film stocks are higher in price than others. With film, the amount of grain can play a big role in the sharpness of your image. If you’re new to 35mm, it’s a common trend to start on Kodak Gold 400 or Fuji Superia 400. They can be found in most drug stores and especially at your neighborhood photo center (Spartan Photo Center!) Most cheaper films offer 24 exposures and the higher quality stocks offering 36. Shoot through a roll and see how light reacts to the amount of grain and how accurately  it portrays the colors. So you think you’re ready for pro film?
First let’s analyze what type of subject you’ll be shooting. If we were to shoot a beautiful bride in her white wedding dress, would we want Kodak’s Ektar 100 which specializes in over saturation of oranges and greens? No! That’s designed for landscapes and outdoor settings. We would want to make sure that her skin tones were just right, so we should pick Kodak’s Portra 160 for excellent skin tone representation. Don’t forget about Fuji just yet, they have an incredible line of sharp film stocks such as Provia 100F, Velvia 50 and 100 and the pro 400H. Maybe you love the dramatic, documentary style that black and white film offers. Then it’s onto contrast and shadows. As well as Fuji and Kodak, Ilford offers great versatility in variety and tones. Some of their line includes, the HP5 400(action and available light ), the Delta(exceptional fine grain and sharpness), the PanF+(ideal for portraiture) and many others. Another factor on how your film will look is the processing! When you start getting more familiar with different stocks, you’ll need to know what factors your lab’s scanner plays. The higher the quality of the scanner, the sharper your photo will look. One thing to greatly appreciate is that a professional lab will be consistantly maintaining color management by keeping up with the accuracy of their chemicals. You want your saturated films giving you warm colors and keeping your greens green! So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced shooter, the best advice is to constantly try different varieties and colors. Most of the fun is in the process. Happy shooting and good luck!

Spartan blog post.jpg

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Picture This: Photographing Spring Flowers

Spring is time for macro!

Spring is time for macro!

The month of May means sunny days and flowers in full bloom, but did you know that photographing flowers is often better when the sky is partly cloudy or overcast?  Bright and direct sunlight can sometimes overpower the flowers’ colors, creating a washed out and overexposed effect. 

When it comes to photographing flowers, your unique viewpoint plays an important role your final results.  You stand before a field in full bloom, and while it’s beautiful in your eyes, the ability to translate its majesty through the lens requires a few techniques and a bit of planning.

For example, instead of standing above the flowers, consider getting low and shooting from that vantage point. Don’t shoot right away, but instead, spend a few moments taking in the scenery and contemplating which parts of nature speak loudest.  Photographing from a lower point will allow you to better capture the details in the petals and the center, the small veins in the leaves and the slight change in hue in the bloom. Filling the frame whenever possible will add more grandeur to the image and experimenting with your perspective may lead you to uncover new ways of seeing nature – and sharing it with others.

Finally, consider how much of the background you would like to include in your images as this will affect which aperture you select.  Do you want the flower to fill the frame? If so, choose a large aperture. If you prefer more depth of field and want to include the background, choose a smaller aperture. Experiment with your settings to see how this impacts your overall composition. Which do you prefer? 

So, rush to the field to enjoy the scenery but take your time as you stand in the blooms and have fun with the options in front of you.  This is where your creativity reveals itself!

If you have questions about your camera, it’s use or macro photography call us and we can set up an appointment to teach you more.  864-583-6835


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Fantastic Filters

Choose This Fantastic Filter


If you’re looking for a filter to combat hazy outdoor conditions while also protecting your precious camera lens, the ProMaster Digital HGX Filter is the ideal choice for a variety of shooting situations. This UV filter absorbs ultraviolet rays and combats variable available light and is perfect for both color and black and white photography. And the low profile anti-reflective frame helps prevent vignetting on super wide digital format lenses. The Promaster HGX UV filter is designed specifically for digital lenses, so it minimizes internal reflections created by CCD and CMOS sensors in your digital SLR.  But wait–there’s more!  This filter also includes the exclusive Repellamax® element resistant coating, which shields your lens from moisture, fingerprints, dust, dirt and other environmental hazards, ensuring your images are tack sharp.  If you have to pick only one filter (and we think that’s an unfair request), choose this one, available in a variety of sizes for your particular lens:  HGX Protection

Unlike most filters, this one has a “lifetime warranty” fro our store.  You damage it, scratch it or break it for any reason, including stupidity,and we will happily replace it.

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Facebook Photo Tip: Candids Create Conversations

While social media sites are filled with selfies and foodie shots, candid photos remain a standout favorite of friends following your feed. Candid photos of your friends, family and kids can draw more likes and comments than posed photos for a variety of reasons. Viewing a candid image feels more intimate and encourages others to comment or ask more questions. Also, there’s something about capturing an unscripted moment that draws attention in a more personal way than a posed photograph.  So, if you’re looking to have your images stand out in today’s ever-crowded Facebook feed, consider choosing a candid for your next post.
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Shooting on the Side: Making Money While Working Full-Time


Work as a photographer in your spare time

Work as a photographer in your spare time

Don’t worry – this isn’t an infomercial designed to sell you a guaranteed get-rich quick program.  If you’re looking to place – or keep – one foot in the photography industry while working full-time, there are a number of ways you can earn additional income (and work credits) without forgoing your current job.

For example, consider the small businesses in your area and what needs you might fill. While many aspiring photographers immediately pursue big companies in the hopes of landing a large project, the reality is that those businesses likely have their own resources lined up.  It never hurts to pursue big clients, but remember that the smaller ones may end up being your bigger payday. Small businesses with only a few employees are not likely to have their own designated marketing departments, staff photographers and other related resources. Consider how your skills might benefit their businesses and compile a list of potential clients. And remember, follow-through and persistence are key to earning new business!

Find a photographer to shadow, or work as their second shooter.  The pressure is off you, because you are not in charge, but you can still shoot.  Plus you can learn the style and goings on of the particular segment you’ve chosen to work in.  Second shooting could relieve you of a lot of the behind the scenes work of editing and putting together the final package.

Be careful though.  If you are making money, and charging people, both the IRS and SC Dept of Revenue will want their portions.  IRS will want that income reported, especially if it is more than $600. And, SC Sales tax is due on any commercial sales made in South Carolina.  Safest thing, before you start charging customers for photography, work for somebody that will pay you and keep up with the taxes.  Finally, before you start charging, contact an accountant or CPA and find out what you have to do to be in compliance of the law.


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Tamron Tailgate Tour

Tamron Tailgate Tour is Coming!

Tamron Tailgate Tour is Coming!

Tamron Tailgate Tour, April 25th, 2015 in the parking lot at SpartanPhotoCenter,inc, 108 Garner Road, Spartanburg

Come ​get ​inspired ​with ​Tamron’s ​Field ​Guide ​to ​Inspired ​Photography ​in ​this ​2-hour ​journey. ​Tamron’s ​Photographer ​Tech ​Team ​of ​professionals ​will ​walk ​you ​through ​the ​creative ​process ​of ​image-making ​by ​taking ​you ​to ​some ​of ​their ​favorite ​places ​to ​shoot, ​with ​detailed ​instruction ​along ​the ​way. ​We ​will ​explore ​how ​to ​analyze ​a ​scene ​and ​what ​it ​takes ​to ​capture ​a ​top-notch ​image ​as ​well ​as ​how ​to ​define ​your ​own ​style. ​This ​seminar ​is ​ideal ​for ​every ​type ​of ​photographer, ​from ​family ​photographers ​capturing ​their ​yearly ​vacation ​to ​the ​more ​serious ​photographers ​that ​don’t ​leave ​the ​house ​without ​their ​camera. ​

Event 12pm – 4pm    FREE Mini-seminars under the Tailgate Tent in specified location

12:00 – 12:45pm   Achieving Perfect Exposure
1:00 – 2:30pm   Portfolio and Image Review
3:00 – 3:45pm   Understanding Your Digital Darkroom

Sign up for “The Field Guide to Inspired Photography: See It, Capture It, Work It” 2-hour evening seminar with welcome bag only $25  Click to Register  ,  Click here for more details  or call 864-583-6835  all registrations must be online.


Also, stop in early for the Swap Meet.  We will have part of the parking lot blocked off for tables that can be rented to sell or trade your gear.  Click here for more details

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Free tripod tune Up, just in time for spring! March 14 to 21st!

Blogpost by Bas

Happy Monopod

We are going to be tuning up Bogen and Manfrotto tripods March 14th through March 21st, FREE of charge!

Let us check your tripod, head, or monopod before the spring shooting season kick starts! This is a great opportunity to make sure your gear is ready to go. We will test, clean and lubricate, and let you know if any repairs are needed. Any tripod, head, or monopod listed on our or websites can be repaired in-house.

We will not be charging labor for the tune ups on these days, only for any needed replacement parts and return shipping, if applicable. Gear sent to the manufacture for repair is not included. After March 22nd labor returns to standard cost starting at $25, make sure you take advantage!

Bring in or send your Manfrotto or old Bogen Tripod for tune up to:

SpartanPhotoCenter, inc
108 Garner Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Our return shipping charges are $ 10.00 for 3001, 3021, 190 and 055 tripods to $25 for 3036, 475, 058 tripods.  No repairs are preformed without your approval.

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