Film Is Not Dead
Digital cameras seem to be all the fad these days, especially with the hype surrounding new releases like the Sony A7iii Mirrorless or the Canon 6D Mark II. Although there is no denying that owning a shiny new gadget with a price tag of a few good paychecks will help you get a leg up—at least technically by adding a few more megapixels, a higher shutter speed, and greater light sensitivity (ISO)—many of us forget the timeless foundation that still holds true: it’s not about the camera, it’s about the photographer behind it.
Often forgotten is the fact that some of the most famous photographers in the world shoot with some of the oddest cameras. Ren Hang, for example, shot on the Minolta X-700 while world-renowned portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, regularly shoots with her favorite camera, the Fujifilm X100.
Just like rock and roll, film is here to stay. Here are a few of the many benefits that come with shooting film and why every photographer should try.
1. Builds up your fundamental skills
Getting started with a digital camera can be intimidating. With so many buttons, dials and settings to choose from, it’s easy for a beginner to feel overwhelmed and fallback on Auto mode. Oftentimes, those who start off digital fail to practice and get a feel for basic composition and lighting. By stripping away the advanced features, shooting on film cameras emphasizes the creation of an image, a work of art, rather than simply pressing a button.
2. Forces you to be more selective
Film photography comes in many different shapes and sizes—polaroids, medium format, large format, and the list goes on. It is not surprising that those who are initially considering it have trouble knowing where to start. Although each type of film photography has its own unique traits, 35mm tends to be the most popular because of its cost and accessibility. With only 24 exposures per roll, and each roll costing a couple of dollars, film comes with quite a few variable costs that can add up. Although this seems like a negative factor rather than a positive one, being aware of the costs associated with shooting film forces you to think carefully about the composition of each and every shot to make sure nothing goes to waste.
3. The element of surprise
Without an auto preview feature, every shot remains a mystery until the roll gets developed. While some photographers might speed through a roll, others may take a few weeks to finish one off. The anticipation that comes with finally picking up your prints from the store and rushing to the nearest coffee shop to look through them is similar to one of a child on Christmas day. Do you take a peek now or wait until you’re home?
As everything is becoming digitized, shooting film ultimately serves as an opportunity to step back and appreciate the timelessness of the camera and photography as a whole. For inspiration, check out some of our favorite film photos on Pexels.