Many of us us aren’t new to taking portraits of strangers, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less challenging. But if you’re up for a bigger challenge — literally and figuratively — you might want to use a bigger medium. Go big or go home with a large format camera, just as George Muncy of NegativeFeedback recently did with an 8×10 camera!

For the uninitiated, Muncey first shared some basic facts about the 8×10 camera he used. It’s actually a lot simpler than your average digital camera. Essentially, it’s just a light-tight box where you attach a lens on one end, and a ground glass focusing screen on the other. The controls are also as simple as it gets. Because of the size of the negative, you get some beautifully detailed photos out of it.

So, if it’s all so simple, where’s the challenge? As Muncey himself put it, the camera is slow, huge and obvious — definitely anything but candid. As such, it can be intimidating both for the photographer and the subject. Now, imagine if you’re photographing a stranger!

Muncey also mentioned some of the cons or limitations that you’ll likely encounter with a large format camera like this. So, hopefully his insights will help you decide if it’s the right tool for you, whether you’re photographing strangers or not.

Have you ever taken portraits with a large format camera like this? Tell us about your experience or share your photos in the comments below, or in our group discussions if you’re already part of the Photofocus Community!