An Experiment

I’m a digital shooter. But there are some photographers out there whose work I greatly admire who happen to be film shooters. I did some research and ended up buying Jonathan Canlasguide to shooting film.  I also read The Luminous Portrait  by Elizabeth Messina. Both were great reads by some truly talented photographers, and they gave me the guts to try shooting film.

We digital shooters tend to use two things as crutches: a) the LCD on the back of the camera and b) endless exposures that don’t cost us anything. The scary part of shooting film is how do you know if you’re nailing it if you can’t see it. And the other scary part is how much is all of this film + developing going to cost me and will I get enough good ones to make it worth it? So I decided to try it. I rented a medium format film camera and light meter, bought and shot ten rolls of Fuji 400H film, and had them developed and scanned at Richard Photo lab.

A few hundred bucks later, here are some of the images I got:

I love the look of film. I really do. There is a certain intangible something about it that has always drawn me to it. Anyone who shoots film after shooting digital can appreciate the look of it–there is a certain depth and richness to it that is tough to mimic. Not only that, but it’s nice to have someone else do all the post-processing for a change. There is lot of back-end work with editing digital photos that most people aren’t aware of. Plus there is a certain thrill about getting to see your images for the first time after sending them off and eagerly anticipating them. It’s pretty fun.

Will I switch to film? Not at the moment. I’d like to for personal work, but it wouldl take a certain amount of practice to develop that skill for professional work. I think film photography is better suited for weddings or other subjects that can hold a pose for longer than a fraction of a second. When shooting children, I shoot a LOT of frames, just because they are moving so fast! In that circumstance, the more you shoot, the more probable it is that you get THE shot you want. This is why I didn’t too many pictures of my babies with the film camera!

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