7 reasons you should try film photography

When I first became obsessed with photography I was brought a digital camera for my 13th Birthday but I remember the following year that my Dad gave me his old film camera to start shooting with. It was the camera we took everywhere as a family and went on countless holidays back in the day. It was the Olympus OM10 and I got to grips playing around with it and experimenting with all the settings and having this experience with film photography totally cemented my passion and love for the medium. I also remember in my Dad’s camera bag for the OM10 there were multiple lenses and even the receipt from when he brought the camera back in the early 1980’s from Dixons. I love the nostalgia and memories that camera holds and will never be parting with it. 

By the end of this post I hope you’ll be ordering some film or perhaps looking into your first film camera purchase. Back in December I ran some polls over on my instagram about film photography. It came to my attention that you’d like to know more about it and try shooting some yourself so in today’s post I’m giving you 7 reasons you should try film photography. Let’s jump straight in!

1. It gives you a greater understanding of the fundamentals of photography.

Especially if you are using an entirely manual camera, I find one of the best ways to learn is through experimentation. So being able to set the f-stop yourself and seeing the results when you get your film developed can teach you the settings and what they do; so long as you keep track of what you shot and what the settings were. For this I’d recommend making a note on your phone or keeping a small notebook & pen that can fit in your pocket/camera bag and making a list of the shots you’ve taken e.g. 1- Portrait of Adam – F4 Shutter Speed 1/125 – Your ISO speed is determined by the film you are shooting with. Then when you do get your roll of film developed you can refer back to your notes.

2. There are so many cameras to choose from.

Similarly with digital cameras, but you are not looking for the newest model or the technical specifications. Looking for a film camera can be based on the film you’d like to shoot with typically 35mm or 120mm film. I’d recommend 35mm if you are just starting out; its cheaper to buy the film itself as well as finding an affordable 35mm point and shoot camera. By point and shoot I mean you don’t have control over all of the cameras settings. You can pop a roll of film in and start shooting without manually setting anything. You can find rather affordable 35mm point and shoots to buy online via ebay/instagram/depop. If you’d like to have a camera with interchangeable lenses I’d totally recommend the Olympus OM10 as its what I’ve used, but similar in comparison to the Olympus OM10 is the Canon AE-1. Plus a film camera with specifications that would match that of a digital camera will be considerably cheaper to buy. 

3. The film/analogue community are AWESOME!

There is such a wonderful community out there for you to connect with if you fall in love with shooting film. I have come across more and more independent companies that have set up to either process film or sell cameras & film and they are the loveliest bunch. Some of my fave film based companies and labs include: Analogue Wonderland and Take It Easy Lab. Their customer service is fantastic and its so nice to know if you have a problem or query that there’s a person on the end of your query/email that actually cares and is happy to help you. 

4. Endless films to choose from and experiment with.

There are so many choices for film that searching for one to start with can feel a little daunting but I assure you its actually very exciting. If you are at a loss of where to start I’d recommend starting with Kodak  ColorPlus200 or Fujifilm Superia X-Tra. Just doing a quick hashtag search of a specific film on instagram can give you hundreds if not thousands of results of what a specific film is like. Plus lots of websites/companies that sell film usually show examples of pictures shot with that specific film so you can get a sense of the look and feel of the types of colourations and amount of grain that film will have (The grain is determined by the ISO speed of the film the higher the number the grainier the film will be). If you’ve never shot with film before I’d recommend these 35mm films to get you started:
Kodak ColorPlus 200 – very affordable and lovely colours
Kodak Ektar – Sharp film & beautiful colours
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra – Great contrasting colours
Ilford HP5 Plus – Classic Black & White Film, great amount of grain and nice amount of contrast
Ilford Delta 100 – Another great black & white, fine amount of grain and nice depth to the tones of the black & white.

5. The feeling of seeing your developed images for the first time.

Have the photos turned out how I expected, are they better? I forgot I took that one! How are the colours? I remember having my film photos developed in Boots when I first started shooting film and when I used disposable cameras as a kid. I was always so excited when I went to collect them and got to see my photos properly for the first time. You can’t beat the magic of seeing your photo for the first time since you captured it. You take the photo and then you have to wait until you’ve finished the roll and have it developed before you can see it properly for the first time. I think a combination of the patience and waiting makes this such an indescribable feeling. I don’t think I could ever quite put my finger on being able to pin point the feeling, but once you’ve felt it you’ll know exactly what I mean and you can’t beat it.

6. The moments and memories you capture will always be timeless.

No matter what you decide to shoot on film whether its friends, family, your pets. I’d always recommend shooting photos of what you love to start out and see what takes your fancy. You are capturing a moment in time that will remain on the film negative forever and to me there’s something rather special and timeless about that. Instead of snapping tens or hundreds of photos on your phone or digital camera and then deleting loads. You end up being far more selective when you shoot on film and question whether or not you want to capture that moment to hold onto forever. 

7. You’ll hardly ever need to edit your film photos.

I always love the quality, colours and tones that shooting on film gives your photos. There’s no need to alter them in any way, they are wonderful just the way they are and there’s something quite magical about that. Especially in a time where we are surrounded by edited/altered/filtered images everyday in every aspect of our lives. So go analogue and try shooting film today!  

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