I don’t want to upset anyone of course and I’ll be honest, I never shot film before. Is it appealing? Yeah sure, I like the film aesthetics, I even have a roll of film in the fridge and bought an old film camera because I loved the design of the lens (Zenit 122, Helios 44-M-5, F/2), the clicky aperture aperture ring and the feeling I get when I turn that cold metal manual focus ring is like no other.
I got the camera, lens and film roll more than 6 months ago and although I am curios and want to have the film experience, whenever I go out to photograph, I find myself reaching for a digital camera.
That being said, here’s 7 Reasons why I’m hesitant about FILM Photography because I think it’s a pain:
1) No Pro photographer who shot film in the film days wants to go back to film
I listen to podcasts, follow a lot of photographers on Youtube, read a few photography blogs and yet no pro photographer wants to go back to film. None of them say film is bad but also none of them wants anything to do with it. So I have to ask myself what do they know that I don’t? I’m sure a lot of things.
You’d think if film was this amazing thing, everybody in the industry would sing it’s praises but I don’t see or hear the industry singing or even humming. I do hear some humming in the cinematography industry where film is slowly starting to make a comeback but not in photography.
2) I have to pay for film every time I want to go out and shoot, pay for developing, pay for scanning.
Yeah so buy more film, which is cheaper, develop yourself, scan yourself dooh!.
Thought about that and only came up with more problems: how much film should I buy? do I buy the expensive one, do I buy the cheaper one? are the chemicals reusable? which film aesthetic do I like more(fuji, kodak, etc)? do i try every type of ISO film out there (ISO 100, 200, 400, 800)? where do I make a darkroom? are the chemicals bad for my health? which scanner should I buy? how much time does it take to scan?
3) I enjoy my privacy (I’m very selective when showcasing my photos)
Other people will see my all the shots I took on any given roll of film and I may not want that. I don’t shoot nudes or inappropriate things however I find photography to be a private endeavor. If I decide to share something online that’s different, otherwise the privacy of even a very mundane photograph of a tree is important to me.
Sure I could develop my own film, scan the negatives, I know that, but I don’t have that much time, I barely have time to go out shoot and I don’t want to be like a lot of famous photographers who died and didn’t get to see how thousands or more of their pictures even look like because they didn’t develop the film.
4) I can’t preview my pictures – there is no preview
Many will say that’s a feature or one enjoyable aspect about film photography but I don’t agree. I’m not the kind of person who will go home after a day of shooting and immediately start post processing/ posting but I do like to see what I actually got, if I’ve got something to look forward to edit and post or just knowing that the picture is good enough that I can make a wallpaper for my PC or phone or even print.
5) I don’t want to worry about exposure/ exposure compensation
Yes, I know about the sunny 16 rule and know the rule itself, I also know there that some old cameras have lightmeters built in and that there are lightmeter apps out there but what if I get it wrong? I really like to get a perfect exposure in camera so I don’t lose time editing. Do I really need another thing to worry about when I just wanna relax and take some good pictures?
6) Film slows you down
Film slows you down, this is a known fact and a fact advertised as a pro for shooting film. I know what slowing down looks and feels like when taking photos. Everything slows down, not only the process of taking a shot but your thoughts too, you are there in the moment, there is nothing else, you enjoy the scenery, the beauty of a landscape, the way the light hits the mountain peaks, the way the light shines through the trees in the forest, how light and shadow embrace each other in a very close and slow dance.
I think slowing down by using a film camera might lead to one becoming overly attached to pictures that aren’t actually meaningful. Because hey, I spent time on manual focusing, metering, figuring out the exposure, composing, it has to be good.
7) Becoming attached to aesthetics instead of a meaningful photo
People use filters on Instagram for selfies, does that make for a great artistic selfie? Maybe. Take a picture of a wall, slam a retro film filter on it and BAM, istaART. IF it looks cool it isn’t necessarily a good picture and what I struggle with is that I might become attached to the aesthetic of my photos instead of what the actual picture is about or represents. A shitty picture is a shitty picture even with the coolest most nicest filter out there.
Wouldn’t it be easier to take out my phone, click to focus, touch the shutter take the photo and be done in like 2 seconds and be done with all the hassle?
Have you ever tried film photography? Is it worth it and why?