For some of us, film photography is something we fondly remember from the past. For others, it’s something intriguing yet to be discovered. Either way, film photography is something you definitely should try even in the digital era. If you’re new to it, this is a video to help you get started. COOPH teamed up with Joe Greer to bring you seven tips that you help you start shooting film.
- Photography logbook: when you buy your first roll of film, buy a notebook along with it. Use it to write down the settings of every photo you take, but also time lighting you used and time of day when you shot them. This way, once the film is developed and scanned, you can revisit your notes and see what you did and what has to be fixed in the future.
- Choose the right focal length: when you arrive at the location, give yourself time to study it, and plan the sots you want to take. And then, make sure to use the right focal length that will let you tell your story through an image.
- Choose the right film stock: there are many options for both color and black and white film. Feel free to experiment with different films until you find the ones that best suit your style.
- Overexposing and underexposing your film: when you underexpose digital photos, it’s easy to recover the shadows. Film is not that forgiving, so Joe advises that you rather slightly overexpose it.
- Make mistakes: if you’re new to something, you’ll inevitably make mistakes. But don’t be afraid of them. Making mistakes is a crucial part of the learning process, and even the imperfect photos have some beauty to them.
- Choose the right aperture: Joe suggests that you start with smaller apertures to get more of the scene in focus. As you learn, you can start experimenting with wide apertures. However, I believe that, if you already do digital photography, you can rely on your knowledge and experiment with aperture from the very start.
- Forget the tips: wait, what? Okay, don’t forget all the tips you hear, as many of them will be useful for learning how to shoot film. But when it comes to aesthetics and style, forget about what other people say. Experiment, listen to your guts and find your own style and aesthetics.
As I’m 31, I remember film photography from childhood and I used a plastic film camera until I was 18. When I got more serious about photography, I already owned a digital camera. But over the past few years, I got into film again. With the knowledge I gained from shooting digital, it’s a totally different experience now than when I was a kid. And I love it! So if you’re younger and you’ve never shot film, I highly suggest you try it.
What’s your experience with film photography?