In the digital world of DSLRs, auto focus, bokeh, noise performance, and more lenses than we’ll ever know what to do with, I lost the art of photography. I was guilty when it comes to hiding behind my DSLR. But, after many years of following the digital trends, buying countless Lightroom presentation never being able to get that “light and airily” look, I moved to film. While it’s still important to capture my work digitally because not every situation works with film, there is a sense of simply beauty that goes along with shooting film, and a true appreciation for photography that cannot be ignored.
First, shooting with film makes me work harder, and makes me more conscious of that work. Film costs money – and I can’t just go back and delete a photo to make more space. Each shot I take is costing me about $2 as a photographer, so I am forced to stop and think about each one; set it up correctly, take advantage of natural light and beautiful scenery, and really focus on what I’m trying to capture. Not only does it allow me to be more in the present moment, but it sharpened my skills as a photographer by allowing me to pay more attention to the small details in the photo.
Once I hone in on those skills, ‘editing’ becomes a breeze too. Instead of shooting thousands of pictures and rifling through the few select ones I liked, I only shoot hundreds and spend at least an hour picking my favorites. (NOTE: When you shoot with film, you send out your rolls to your photo lab and they scan your image to your personal preference so you end up spending a few minutes on each picture to make minor adjustments to bring it
to life. If there are major problems, most of the time my lab it calling me first but that line of communication is open. They are there to build a working relationship to ensure that my clients get the best images possible.) Even with matching my digital images to my film scan my time has changed from behind a computer to waiting on my scans to come in my inbox. And can I add that it’s ALWAYS exciting to get that email! It’s like Christmas morning for me! I’m learned that I rather spend a few extra minutes making sure a shot is perfect before I shoot it, rather than spending hours in Lightroom editing. It’s better for my family that I have freed up some time during busy season.
While I could go into all the other positives that go into shooting with it, the dynamic range, mistakes that turn into master pieces, one of the best parts about shooting with film is Film is timeless. A slight grain, natural lighting, and subtle imperfections that are actually pretty perfect after all – all things that provide comfort to us whenever we see a photograph that was shot on film. Film makes you feel something, it captures real life in the best light possible, and is a true joy to bring back into a world run digitally.