A Photography Blog

/rachel hulin


Aaaaand the winner is….

Eric Townsend! The answer? A. is film, the rest are digital.

Elizabeth will now weigh in:

It’s surprising to me that so many people chose “F” as film. What about it makes it look like film to you? Is it because my shadow is cyan? I’m thinking an indicator would be the sky. There is nothing worse than that nasty bright turquoise fake digital sky. It’s an insult to nature!

Thinking about what one perceives as “filmlike” is a good way to begin to deconstruct the properties of a digital image, and a good starting point for people looking to “de-digitize” their photographs. Also don’t forget that the aspect ratio looks like it came from a 6×7 negative. I’m glad that people chose “C” as film–that was one of the first images I began to process in the way that I do now. By the way, that’s Mia Kirshner, in an outtake from a HEEB shoot last year.

A lot of you thought “H” was film–that’s because the highlights are slightly cyan and the shadows are magenta for that vintage feel. Play with split toning in Camera Raw and you’ll be pleased.

Thanks for entering, everyone, and congrats to Eric. I’m curious how you came to think that “A” is film, assuming you didn’t snoop on Flickr? (It was shot on a 35mm Kodak 400NC with a 24mm Nikon lens in March of 2006.)


A. film.


B. digital.


C. digital.


D. digital.


E. digital.


F. digital.


G. digital.


H. digital.


I. digital.

Thanks for playing, everyone! And thanks so much for sharing, Ms. Weinberg!


  1. Kurt Shoens - September 17, 2009 5:59 am

    For removing (or deliberately adding!) color casts based on luminosity, a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop in RGB mode, with the blending mode set to color is your friend.

    Does a digital image still look digital with the color casts (and extra green from the sky) removed? Or must film-like casts be added?

  2. Eric - September 17, 2009 11:11 am

    I went with A because the others look just a touch too clean and A looks like a scan ever so slightly. Having scanned lots of film in my days it seemed to be the only one that really stood out, plus its got a bit of grain in the wall behind Ben as well. I could have snooped on flickr as well, but did not have the time to even though I believe you and I are contacts. I guess that is sort of grounds for disqualification but I just took a best guess. The only other really giveaway is the highlights are too white in most of the photos and if they are not too white they are brought down about 25% to kill the digital look. You can take a runner up if you feel its necessary! :)

  3. elizabeth - September 23, 2009 5:39 am

    Definitely don’t think it’s necessary! Congrats.

  4. elizabeth - September 24, 2009 2:00 am

    Eric – mind emailing me your select for a print?

  5. lexi - October 21, 2009 3:14 pm

    you can also tell A is a scan because A has a pixel’s worth of uncropped black border on the right side, and perhaps a bit on the top left.

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