Discovering Film Photography


While digging through the attic, I recently found my father’s old Pentax K1000 film camera. I was instantly intrigued, so I dusted it off, pulled up a few informational YouTube videos, and ordered some 35mm film from Amazon. I was ecstatic when the film arrived, only to discover that I had a lot to learn. With some help from YouTube & my father, I loaded the film and began learning about aperture, f-stop, focus, and lighting. At first, it was overwhelming, but after sending away my first two rolls of film to be developed and receiving some great (and some disastrous) images, I decided that my newfound hobby was worth it. Although I still have plenty to learn, I want to take you along with me on my analog photography journey.


Why Try Film Photography

Film and digital photography are vastly different. Yes, they both involve the same techniques, but using a film camera forces you to engage with your photo. You must be aware of lighting, movement, focus, and much more. Unlike digital, analog photography is manual, and you have to consciously make choices that will affect your photos. These choices are an excellent way to learn about elements of photography. It is also a way to reconnect with your inner creativity. Furthermore, the nostalgia takes you back a decade or two. It facilitates an appreciation of detail and patience. The instant gratification of checking your digital photos moments after capturing them is gone. This may seem like a big downside (and it is), but I find that the anticipation of finding out if I captured the moment is thrilling.


How to Find a Camera

Check your attics, closets, and garages for old cameras that might be lying around. The best camera to out start with is the one you already have! If you don’t already have access to a film camera, plenty of shops online sell refurbished vintage cameras. Depending on the model and quality, they can range anywhere from $80-$1000. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then Antique stores, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are great ways to find cheap alternatives.


How to Choose Film

Choosing film types can be daunting, but doing some research can help. Each type and brand of film produces a different look and feel, so choose wisely. The two main types of film are Color negative and traditional black-and-white. You guessed it, one is in Color, and the other is black and white. Different brands also affect the tint and hue of the photos.


How to Get Film Developed

Once upon a time, you could get your film developed at every drugstore. However, the rise of digital printing has diminished these options, but don’t worry because there is still plenty of ways to get your pictures. The easiest way is to find a photo lab near you. Yes, they still exist, but they are few and far between. Another option is online photo labs where you mail in your film. This method takes a few extra days but may be the cheaper option depending on where you live. These online photo labs allow you to order prints and digital scans. They also mail your negatives back to you.

 

Film photography is a fantastic way to get outside and surprise yourself with your own creativity. It takes a bit of dedication, but overall is a fun way to reconnect with the past and let your inner inspiration shine. The whole world is waiting for you to take its photo, so just say cheese!

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