Movie Photography: A Guide (and Ways to get Started)

Film Photography: A Guide (and How to Get Started)

a guide to film photography

Film photography is gaining in popularity.

In the beginning of the digital revolution, film was the realm of those which did not want to move to the new way of working (and all those folks were usually bothered on forums and information boards).

But these days, film photography includes a much different reputation. While some photographers see film as the preserve of hipsters trying to seem cool, for many, film is really a more natural method of picture taking. It allows you to slow down, focus on getting the shot, and encounter a wait before viewing the results.

In this article, I’ll guide you with the process, equipment, and reasons to start shooting film.

film photography 2 rolls of Porta film and one of HP5
Working with film means locking in your ISO and look for the next 36 shots.

What exactly is film photography?  

Film pictures is the process of using chemicals to create a photograph. Film inside roll form has been around considering that 1885. The film roll was invented by Peter Houston, who then licensed it to  George Eastman (of the Kodak company). Kodak still dominates film photography to this day.  

Without getting as well complicated, film photography functions by exposing silver halide deposits to light. The more lighting that comes in contact with the deposits, the darker the crystals become. Afterward, the film can be processed to create an unfavorable (the inverse of the last image), and this can be exposed on to light-sensitive paper to create a last print.

Slide film is also accessible, which works slightly differently – but let’s not really overcomplicate things too much!

Film photography of a bride on a balcony
Shooting with off-camera flash on a film camera can be daunting. Here, I used my digital camera as the meter for my film publicity.

Film vs electronic: Why should you consider shooting film?

As I explained above, the process of developing a photograph on film is a science. It involves chemicals, night, and all sorts of other cool stuff. Anyone who has ever processed their own film images will certainly talk about the feeling they had if they first saw a print come to life in the developer. This is a magical experience, and one that takes a lot of time and effort. However it is this time and effort that makes movie photography so rewarding.

Let’s take a closer look at the many reasons you need to shoot film over digital :

1 . Film prevents you from being sloppy

Film picture taking is much more deliberate than digital photography. Each time you press the shutter, there is a cost attached. Which means you quickly learn to nail the technical elements and the composition. Shooting a 36-exposure roll of film will cost you roughly $1 per image. So if you go out and shoot 200-300 images, as many of us perform on a digital shoot, you can suddenly see how cheap digital photography is.

An out-of-focus film shot of a couple
This shot shows how sloppy technique will hurt you when shooting film. I taken it using autofocus – but as the light decreased, so did my ability to focus, leading to a fuzzy result.

Also, when you can take bursts of 100 pictures, you don’t really need to wait for the perfect moment to occur. You just shoot until you get it. You don’t need to worry about exposure because you can check the LCD, adjust as needed, and fix it in editing.

Film photography, on the other hand, isn’t about shooting hundreds of images. It’s about shooting a roll of 36 pictures (possibly 2 rolls if you have a great photoshoot). It is about making each exposure count and getting everything right in-camera.

In other words: With digital, it’s easy to become a lazy photographer because there are rarely consequences.   With film, you’ll always be on your toes.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin in space
The best camera is the one you have with you. For NASA, it was a modified Hasselblad. (Photo by NASA. )

2 . Film saves you hours in post-processing

Film tends to look great straight out of the camera, whereas digital photos can require hours of post-processing .

In fact , most popular editing styles are film-based. So if you want the look and feel of a polished photo without spending tons of time editing, just shoot film!

Digital photographs edited to look like film are the photographic equivalent of laminate oak flooring. Yes, it’s cheaper. Yes, it’s more practical. But it just isn’t the same as the real thing!

I don’t mean to say that printing film photographs isn’t an absolute art. In the event that you look at some of the notes of Magnum’s master printer, Pablo Inirio, you will see how a process of creating a print from the negative is something that has a true mastery of the craft. There are definitely no auto buttons in the darkroom.

But overall, the “film” look is pretty stunning – and requires little-to-no actual editing.

A table setting for a wedding on white linen
I could have edited a digital image to look like this, but it would’ve taken time behind the computer. The result you see here is simply how the photo came up from the lab.

2. Film makes you better at the problem solving

Within film photography, your ISO is fixed.

So you’re required to think carefully when doing photography. If your light is dropping along with you’re shooting ISO hundra film, you’ll have to figure out how to get more light into the easy, or you won’t get the opportunity. Should you slow the shutter ? Of what speed can you continue to be handhold? Are you sure? Within the open the aperture not to mention sacrifice level of field ? Techniques still get a great procedure in tough conditions?

Film photography throws up a lot of questions, and then only get the answers when the developed images.

A model against a black wall
Slowing down is definitely the way to get smoother film photos.

  three. Film is (potentially) efficient

Here’s the item:

As I previously mentioned before, it costs around $1 per shot to do scenario photography. And that seems like plenty.

But if you examin cost of a high-end videos camera compared to something like finally the Canon EOS R5 (which is around $5000 with a lens), you’ll quickly realize that slide film photography can be very budget friendly, contingent on how frequently you shoot.

Even if you spend $1000 on a high-end film stanza and lens, it retains you with a $4000 shoot budget. Additionally , high-end movies cameras will keep their understand. In fact , many film dslrs rise in value. Providing you purchase a film camera and then sell it 5 years down the track, you might make a nice not much profit in the process. That undoubtedly isn’t true of the blogposts and greatest digital cameras.

5. Film usually is gratifying

Ponder: What do you enjoy most all about photography? Is it taking photos, or is it wading by way of editing software to find the best look at out of 100 almost exact same files? Is your enjoyment in the seeing the final image, nor in spending hours on-line editing to make it look a good choice?

Main artist’s, I am not a fan within editing, especially when I contrast it to the enjoyment of working with photos. For you, it may be many, but photographing film sharpens my skills. It helps people get more keepers and results in I spend less time about the computer.  

The easiest analogy I can sketch here is with music. I enjoy this program my phone with a large songs on it. The ability to require every record I which you could wanted to in my pocket is almost certainly amazing, and it is how I for you to 90% or more of all these music. However , when I really want to listen to music, My partner and i make a coffee, turn on each of our hi-fi system, and put throughout a record. It isn’t nearly as convenient, and you have to get to a maximum of turn the album much more halfway through, but it would seem better. And because I have invested in more, I focus way more, and I normally enjoy it other.

6. It makes you cooler

Let’s face it:

Aiming at film just makes you woman cooler.  

What equipment do you really require for film photos?  

You must use a camera and some film. After this you need a place to develop this can. Pretty simple, really.

Let’s take a closer view of cameras and film:

A 35mm film camera: the Yashica T5. A film photography classic.
Don’t be fooled by way of the looks; this Yashica T5 packs a 35mm Zeiss lens for amazing s?rpr?g quality.


There are three main versions of film cameras:

  • Point and fire
  • SLR/Rangefinder
  • Medium format

Each has its very own advantages and disadvantages.

The easiest way to get into film photography is to use a good-quality compact model. It’s the analog equivalent of taking photos by using an iPhone. The camera be beneficial out the exposure, leaving you to their workplace on the disposition .

There are many compact film web cams out there, ranging from the economical all the way up to the incredibly posh. If you want to try shooting the silver screen, this is where I suggest you start. Employ pick up a decent compact motion picture camera on a well-known retail site for under $100.

A film SLR is a lot like a dslr except significantly less good. There are those with autofocus and those without. SLRs will need autofocus will add an alternate layer of complexity for you to taking photographs. Generally, there are actually a manual focus SLR for cheaper. Manual the best cameras are also more reliable mechanically due to the smaller amount of dimensions electronics.

Even if you do use an autofocusing show camera, note that old autofocus systems are not anything love a lot those we enjoy today (though they can make film a lower amount daunting). The right option within the something only you can define.  

Delete word, there’s medium format. Regular format cameras use much larger film, though with 12-16 exposures per roll. Such as that a bigger digital detektor improves image quality and gives a shallower depth behind field, medium format flick creates ultra-stunning results. A lot of iconic photographs have been suffered on medium format window film, including shots of the NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) space missions.  

Medium format camcorders have some advantages (e. he., many are able to change tinting partway through a roll). But in reality have many quirks, and these are overwhelming for photographers unknown to film. Medium format camera are bulky, heavy, as expensive compared to the other types observed here, so I’d wait to recommend them if you’re new to shooting film.

If you really want to try medium format film with limited funds, you can get a Holga . It uses medium hauteur film in a point and as a consequence shoot style body utilizing a plastic lens. Holga nany cameras have a very specific look; purely don’t expect images including those shot by a “proper” medium format camera.

A Canon film photography camera in its box
I bought this on a popular auction site for under 50 bucks. It came fully doing and even included the conventional paperwork.

Choosing film

Your film should be able to determine the look of your picture-taking. It also fixes your ISO (i. e., if you place ISO 100 film, you will be shooting at ISO 100 until the roll is simply finished). So make sure you watchfully select your film’s INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG based on the day/time you’re and energy.

Now, each one film has distinctive noteworthy characteristics, such as color vividness as well as shadow softness. So the window tint you choose depends on the type of go you want to achieve. The main designers to check out are Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford.

Every film marketplace has an example photo or maybe more on the internet, so get your Google and bing on and see what style good. I’d suggest shopping for a few different rolls associated film and finding yourself favorite. Trying a new filmsnutt is part of the fun connected film photography!

How to develop your film avatars

A Lab-Box developing kit
Products such as this Lab-Box make developing film a piece of cake. And there’s something enchanting about seeing negatives take a look!

The easiest way to develop your film snap shots is to send them without the to a professional film science lab. If you’re just starting out with movement photography, this is the method A totally free definitely recommend.

However , many photography enthusiasts (myself included) like the experience of developing their film at home. It’s a relatively simple process, and you shoot a lot, it’s cost-effective. The main equipment in addition to the chemicals can be bought at a variety of photography stores – just a few may even offer a discounted product to get you started.

How to make15447 film at home is a completely article. However , if you think you might want to try it, a basic equipment range is as follows:

  • Film changing backpack
  • Film reservoir
  • Developer
  • Fixer
  • Distilled water
  • Thermometer
  • Gauging cylinder

One quick tip with respect to developing your film home based:

Dry the house in the bathroom. The humidity from showering will decrease the amount of dust in the air, that is certain to in turn decrease the amount of airborne dirt and dust that will settle onto your disadvantage.  

Should you want to take things even further, work with set up your own darkroom intended for printing – but it may be more expensive and requires a dedicated hard drive space.

Information film photography: conclusion

Shooting motion picture is a great way to learn more about camera. It gives you new strategies of thinking about composition, exposure, and so editing; it might even be the matter that can break you free from a creative rut.

As you now agree to, you can start film photography at a discount, and it may take your digital photography in a whole new direction!

Over to you:

What do you think of tint photography? Have you tried the program yet? If so, do you have involving advice for beginners? And if you haven’t tried film, what digicam and film do you plan to make usage of? Share your thoughts in the statements below!

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Carl Spring

Carl Spring time

Carl is really a Lincolnshire living, skateboard-riding, Ordinary N’ Roll listening, pet-loving, trainer-addicted photographer.
Together with his wife Lisa, they photograph weddings and portraits under the name 166 Including
Carl the cause spent many years photographing musos and extreme sports. Now you can see more of this work on that domain

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