Film Photography Tips
I recently got some film developed that I have been carry around with me for a few years now. Some of the photos turned out great while others fell a bit short. I love taking photos with my film camera it's a little surprise every time, you never know what you'll get photo wise. Plus, the satisfaction of hearing the click of the shutter is so pleasant.
Taking film photos is also a great learning experience. You have to manually focus and change your settings to make each photo right. You don’t have technology helping you figure out all the correct settings. This is a great tool for someone like me, who is still learning how to change the settings according to the light. You even need to learn the care of your film, which by the way carrying it around on the roll for a few years isn’t good (ha-ha). As you can see in some of the photos below! You also should limit the number of times you go through TSA with film because that will mess it up as well LOL.
Film is quite picky but it’s still something that I enjoy, even if the photo doesn’t come out right you still have the memory and I think that is the most important part of photography. The moment of the memory you captured.
Since I have been using my film camera for a few years now, I have a few tips when shooting. A lot of people think shooting with film is harder than digital, but I think it's the complete opposite. So, if I can do it, so can you!
p.s the Camera I shoot on is a Canon AE-1 you can find it here on Amazon.
1. Pick your Film- This is going to depend on what size image you want and how many shots. I use 35mm film. Your image size will be about 25x36mm and you'll typically get about 12, 24 or 36 shots on one roll. I think this is pretty basic and perfect for beginners . Of course, this depends a lot on the camera too, so check your camera and do some research on it if you can!
2. Try shooting on a bright day – When you are learning it gets harder with less light (In my opinion). If you shoot on a brighter day, you’ll most likely only change your settings only once or twice.
If you stick with a 400 ISO you're pretty much set for either sun or clouds. So try to buy 400 ISO film. Also, this is where your grain will come in. The higher the ISO the more chance of grain on your photos. This goes for digital as well!
When I say buy the 400 ISO film, that means your film already comes ready to be shot at that speed. So you'll keep the same ISO throught out the whole roll.
3. Aperture: The smaller the aperture the less light will be let in the higher the aperture the more light comes in. Changing the aperture will also change your depth of field, so, the higher the aperture, the shallower the field.
EX. The larger depth of field is best for portrait types of photos, 1.4 or 2.8.
ALSO- This is going to mostly depend on your preference or what you are shooting. If you like a subject to be in focus and the background blurry you'll probably stick to a lower aperture. I personally like to stick to a 5.6 setting.
4. The film is expensive: Just a fair warning, it gets costly to develop film and it's hard to find places that still develop it properly. I'm not talking about a WalMart or some one-hour photo developer either.
I recommend only shooting something that is going to have a good memory to you. Or just be really mindful of the film you buy. I usually just but the Kodak Film 400 ISO, it's about $8.99 a roll (when you get it developed) and some film can get up to $12.00 a roll. So be careful and ask your developer if you have questions!
Also, be mindful that when you get it developed it only comes on a strip and all the photos are negative. So, you're not actually getting the film printed or scanned that is a whole other expense.
Not going to lie- I got 4 rolls developed and scanned onto a CD and it was around $84.00
Amazon has a film pack that I think is the best value, but you can always get one roll at a time at your developers as well.
NOW! if you're super savvy you can just take the rolls home and actually photograph them and make the strip into the photos, but I mean who has the time for that!
5. Don't give up! - It can be frustrating when your photo doesn't turn out perfectly, but hey! That means there is a story to it. I can't tell you how many times I think a photo will come out and it doesn't, but I still love it and learn from my mistakes!
6. That weird square on the back- That's actual super helpful! Tear off the top of your film box and stick it in there. It will help you if you set down your camera for a long time!
7. Have Fun- I think this is self-explanatory! But just remember:
"Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder"
So not everyone will love your photos, but you should love them, they are your art and your memories!