So about twoish years ago, I stumbled across this photographer (Rylee Hitchner) and I just immediately fell in love with her work. It had this depth, airy, sophistication that I was just totally in love with. Some of her images were even out of focus but I just loved the feeling they evoked. I found out she was a film photographer from further research and was surprised…”do people still do that?” I wasn’t involved in social media at all hardly. I may have had 100 instagram followers. So I had no idea there was an entire #filmisnotdead movement even happening. I had zero plans of becoming a professional photographer at all…she was just someone who made beautiful art & I loved it.
As I grew as a photographer myself, I became more invested in the community and realized that film WAS becoming more popular and many photographers were beginning to shoot it more often. I found myself just so mesmerized with these photographs. They were like art. Not just pictures.
BUT! Coming from no formal photography education & hearing surrounding photographers talk about everyone “jumping on the film bandwagon” & seeing other photographers roll their eyes when the subject comes up…I have felt myself shying away from it. I don’t want to be a fad. I am not following the crowd. But I have been in love with the look of film for far to long not to try it out.
I’m the type who will never stop wanting to learn or improve myself. I’m that way with everything…I’m such a restless spirit. Once I settled into my digital comfortable world and threw my insecurity aside, I decided to reach out to another film photographer for a mentor session. I prayed she would pour into me and not turn up her nose as if I were just another band wagon girl. Welp. Jesus delivered because Barb Shoop was exactly what I needed & spoke my learning language. She sent me a whole packet of info on film basics & terms and then we met up for a hands on shoot.
Now! I’m just having to put it out there & commit to a no shame attitude about learning film. I confidently accept the learning process & am starting from the bottom. I have a TON to learn so a little grace is appreciated for this first post.
The first half of the post is all film, the second is all digital, and the last part is what I learned from the first roll. So keep scrolling!
THEN! I snapped some digitals for good measure…
WHAT I LEARNED AS A BEGINNER (for those of you who want to shoot film too):
– I shoot way too fast. Like way too freaken fast. I love dynamic poses with movement & tend to shoot through the entire movement to get just the right frame out of that sequence. Well…I would be spending a million dollars if I shot film this way. Posing was SO hard for me for this session because I felt like I was being more static which I never do! ps…thanks Julie & Shane for being so patient with me at this session!
-Pick a good lab & stick with it – Shout out to Richard Photo Lab. They have been AWESOME. I called them with so many questions and I spoke to a person who scans film + shoots it as well. I described the look I’m going for and she talked me through different film stocks, frontier vs. noritsu, film rating suggestions, all kinds of stuff! I’m realizing how valuable your relationship is with your lab and how key they are to the whole process. In the beginning, for consistency, I think it’s a good idea to stick to the same lab. There are SO many variables to getting the look you want that you need to create some consistency.
-Rating at half box speed is your friend
– I dont know if I love Portra. I think I may be a fuji girl. The skin tones + the amount of magenta & yellow in portra…not sure if I’m going to like it. But there were way too many other variables in this session + I’m going to have to shoot it much more to find out.
– I love film more than I thought I would. I literally screamed in the kitchen when these scans arrived. I cannot wait for medium format film & to just get better at this!
– It’s expensive. That’s the worst part. As I mentioned before, you have to buy the film of course, ship said film to the lab, have the lab develop + scan it, then have the negative shipped back to you. It’s an expensive process.
-Dont buy the Sekonic 308 unless you plan to shoot in shutter priority. I then bought the Seknoic 358 & like it much more…yay aperture priority mode!
– I’m not stopping. I have no idea where this is going. I have no plans of being a hybrid shooter or anything of the nature. All I know is I have loved film way too long to not try it. I dont think I will EVER regret it. I dont think it will ever “go out of style.” It’s a timeless look for heavensake. So if you love it too….you “jump on the band wagon” and learn it. Who cares what those negative nancys have to say. For now, I will use it for personal use + personal satisfaction. Who knows where it will go :)