It was 1999, I was a sophomore in high school. I walked into journalism class and headed straight for the darkroom. I enjoyed the quiet time. It was my time to create and think. After high school, I went to college to pursue the arts but it was the dawn of the digital age. Film quickly became a thing of the past.
Fast forward to today, I’ve recently picked up film again. In the short time I’ve added it back into my life I’ve found a lost love. It brings back so many memories. It makes me sad to think it’s a lost art that many today will never experience.
And thinking about film, some may wonder why I’ve decided to become a hybrid photographer (shooting film and digital). Well, here are five reasons why:
1) Causes Me To Slow Down
The simple restriction film causes makes me think twice about everything. Composition, lighting, etc. instead of just snapping and not thinking. When I shoot digital I still slow down, think about my settings, composition, lighting, etc. But many times photographers just shoot and say they’ll fix it Photoshop/Lightroom. To me, getting it right in-camera provides the added benefit of not having to sift through hundreds of files to choose the perfect composition. I can do this digitally but with film I have no choice. Film makes me think! I want to get it right the first time. If I don’t I take the risk of losing the shot and well…wasting money!
I remember the first time I went out to shoot film I took my time. I really thought about what I wanted to shoot. It took me almost an hour to just shoot half a roll. If I had my digital camera I would have shot hundreds of photos in the amount of time but probably only had loved 10-12 images anyway.
2) Film is More Forgiving
With digital, if I don’t get my exposure right in the camera I’ll lose my details with blown highlights. Recovery in post-processing doesn’t always work as desired. But with color films I’m still able to bring out detail stops above and below without sacrificing quality. I just love it! I can easily overexpose and film actually likes it! With film I can recreate a scene much closer to what I actually see.
3) Film Just looks better
I’ve spent a vast amount of time editing my images to match a style to that of film. I started to really ask why I wasn’t just shooting film instead. I mean really, I started with film. It’s what drew me to photography. I love the unique look and style film gives. I can get close in digital but it’s not easy to replicate.
4) The Element of Surprise
This is probably one of the main reasons I’ve been drawn back into film. When I first picked up my film camera again I found I’d snap and look but there was no LCD screen to view the images. Now I shoot, ship my rolls off for development and wait. Wait to see what I’ll get back. Oh the anticipation!
5) Perfects My Skill
Shooting film is a unique experience. There are times when I miss my exposure and my focus isn’t on point. But that’s okay. It’s part of the learning process. The skills it takes to shoot film transfer to my digital photography. It does cost a bit more to shot film because of the need to purchase rolls and pay lab fees but it saves much time post-processing. I’m excited to find more of a balance and devote more time to shooting and less time editing.
So here’s to exploring of the world of film, embracing new challenges and falling in love with photography in a whole new way.
love & pixels,