I look forward to becoming one of those grandma’s who can talk about the days before digital cameras, because that renaissance happened right around my high school years. (wait… I’m already talking about it – does that make me a grandma now?) When I started taking photographs, I shot on film. Digital photography was still so new and possessed only the smallest amount of quality and affordability compared with today. I spent several years in film photography but that chapter ended when I graduated from college and began working as a graphic designer. I had yet to even own a digital camera, but as much as I tried to resist the change I was soon lured into the world of digital photography with my very own canon rebel. I know, you are so impressed. It had it’s advantages, to be sure, and allowed me to pursue a photography in a new way and start to build a business out of it (and soon upgrade to a 5D). However, the entirety of my business was been based on digital photography. Now things are once again starting to change.
I’m shooting film and doing so intentionally for a few reasons, which I’ll share with you today.
One : I want to be a better photographer.
It’s fairly easy to do the same thing… except that it doesn’t really help you grow. I’m constantly trying to improve my craft and the challenge of film is just what I need. Unlike digital photography, which can be easily created and destroyed, film has a more lasting effect. There are a limited number of frames per roll, there is the expense of purchasing and processing the medium, and the negatives actually exist in real life. I found that over the years as a digital based wedding and portrait photographer I tended to be less intentional and precise. I would over shoot and choose the best later rather than perfect my images in camera. Film forces you to get better faster, to think about what you are shooting well in advance and to trust the decisions you are making when creating images. I know my experience and growth with translate to both mediums.
Two : It has a unique look.
The look of film is unique both in it’s texture and softness and in it’s ability to handle light. Some would argue that digital photography can do the exact same thing as film… but if it can I don’t think it can always be achieved as easily. I love the texture created in the background of the image of Maggie above. I love the warmth in Evelyn’s newborn photos. I love the way color comes together in Olivia + Greg’s engagement images.
Three : It is more enjoyable.
Shooting film, when done correctly, can actually restore the fun to photography. The magic of creating images can be lost when spending 30+ hours a week at your computer editing. To be able to separate yourself from the hours of post production is one of the main challenges of any professional photographer. That’s not to say you should give over creative control of your finished product, but you need to decide how to spend your time. The additional cost of using film can be made up by using your time to create more work – instead of paying yourself to edit.
I’m not ready to completely switch to film. I do plan to approach each shoot I do this year with more intention and focus. My main goal is to become a better photographer and improve the way I see the world and document it. Thanks for joining me.
Maggie was captured above on Kodak Tmax 100 with a Contax 645