Sitting at the high speed end of Kodak’s most popular line of film, Portra 800 is the film that can do it all. Due to Portra’s iconic color reproduction, combined with unparalleled exposure latitude, photographers take it upon themselves to push the film to its limits through different methods.

What are these methods, you ask? When it comes to Portra 800, photographers push the film a stop up to 1600. This means that they set their camera’s metering to think that the film’s box speed is 1600 – causing the camera to expose the film a less than intended with its 800 speed. What this results in is higher contrast images in bright settings, and darker, faded images in low light.

If you’re looking to experiment with pushing your roll of film, look no further than our quick guide below to get started with pushing Portra 800 to 1600.

Looking for an alternative film pushing option? Read our guide to pushing Cinestill 800T.

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Why Push Portra 800?

When you speak to any photographer who shoots with such a wide exposure latitude like Portra, you’ll often hear them opting for pulling film and metering it one stop down so that photos appear brighter and more detailed. Pushing one stop up to 1600 theoretically exposes your film to less light, resulting in a darker, (possibly) poorly exposed photos.

So, what’s the allure to pushing Portra 800? Well, that lower exposure to your film can result in some sweet results! More contrast, details within highlights, higher aperture shooting, and more.

Check out the scenarios below to see Portra 800 in action while being pushed to 1600. Also, don’t forget to tell your lab that you’ve pushed your film – this does involve a different developing process!

Want to explore the two other Portra film options? Check out our comparison on Portra 160 vs. 400 vs. 800.

Check out Kodak Portra 800:

Pushing Portra 800 for Daytime Photos

Pushing Portra 800 comes in handy mostly in daylight. This is where photographers’ preference of a more contrasted look comes into play. Essentially, Portra’s high speed of 800 ISO makes it highly sensitive to light, so pushing the film up one stop will have the metering expose it a little less and create dramatic shadows, high contrast in the details, and some detailed exposure for highlights, too. Check out some of the results of Portra 800 pushed to 1600 in daylight below!

Pushing Portra 800 for Daytime PhotosImages via u/ColinShootsFilm, u/domdude and u/SubPop120

Pushing Portra 800 for Low-Light & Night Photos

Pushing Portra 800 in low light and night time renders some awesome and handy results. The first benefit would have to be the faster shutter speeds that your metering will suggest. This becomes handy in scenarios where there’s a lot of movement, and you want to capture as quick as possible.

Pushing Portra 800 to 1600 also results in darker, more contrasted images. It’s great for capturing details within highlights, although you lose details within shadows – however, this can be a preferred look for photographers seeking out punchy images, or capturing the details within the sky. The warmth of Portra is evident here in sunsets, artificial light sources, and anything with overall warm tones.

Pushing Portra 800 for Low-Light & Night PhotosImages via u/leapdaywilliam26, u/SpartanFlight and u/tsquared89

Pushing Portra 800 for Street & City Photos

When shot in the daytime, city and street photography with pushed Portra 800 packs the same high contrast and detailed highlight results shown earlier.

One attribute that’s taken from pushing here is the settings that your metering will suggest. A more closed aperture coupled with higher shutter speeds result in a shooting style that’s perfect for capturing action – along with a wide depth of field ensuring everything is in focus. These are attributes that are valuable when capturing the movement and grand scale of street photography on the go!

Pushing Portra 800 for Street & City PhotosImages via u/Exoplan3t, u/franzkls and u/Mikalov1

Pushing Portra 800 for Portrait Photos

Lastly, what can pushing Portra 800 to 1600 do for portraits? Once again, portraits will have enhanced shadows! If you’re trying to create an aesthetic of eeriness in your shoot, pushing up one stop will result in deeper contrast and shadows that bring out facial features, outfits, and overall textures.

Pushing Portra 800 for Portrait PhotosImages via u/fathrom7411, u/SonyKilledMyNikon and u/TheGreatGamingTree

Are you going to try and push your Portra 800 roll up to 1600? Have you done it already? Let us know in the comments below!

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