The Writings

Entering The World of Film Photography

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I've been using this blog for three years now to document the life and times of an up-and-coming photographer. In that time, I've learned shooting techniques for various jobs like weddings, sports, commercial gigs, and more, as well as business and marketing aspects. I continue to learn more and more about this industry, and even then, there is always an opportunity to learn more. This year, however, I am finally embarking on a journey I continually mentioned I needed to start on my podcast, and that is to shoot with film. It's on, bitches.

Last week, I mentioned in my 2013 New Year's Resolutions how I wanted to create a photography project with my "new" film camera - a Canon AE-1. The problem is that I kind of sort of need to learn how to use the camera first. Case in point: I spent a good amount of time trying to load the camera with film. I mean, it was comical.

So, rather than dive in head-first into a project, first thing's first: let's figure out how to use this puppy, and do it right. My AE-1 has not left my side since I unwrapped it on Christmas Day, so any opportunity I have to photograph something, I will, documenting my findings along the way.

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I truly believe that shooting with a film camera such as the Canon AE-1 is going to be beneficial in many, many ways. First of all, this camera is strictly manual. I have to do just about everything myself; from focusing to adjusting the aperture and translating what the light meter is trying to hint at. Using my own experiences with the DSLR, I can tell there will be a certain amount of fidgeting needing to be done to achieve the shots I'm looking for. However, all of this, I feel, will only make me a better all-around photographer and help me achieve the desired results when any kind of situation is thrown at me.

Secondly, it's going to force my creativity, and that's a good thing. Too often lately, I've been overwhelmed at all the different types of shots I want to capture, and the overstimulation from my surroundings and abundance of subjects, in turn, motivates me LESS to shoot. Strange, I know, but it's a conclusion I've come to every time I've wanted to start a project. With the limitations of the camera and film that's loaded in the back come a limitless number of opportunities. I have to be more selective of what I shoot, since I don't have the thousands of possible exposures available to me like a memory card does, which will make me really consider what I'm going to shoot even more.

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Lastly, and most importantly, it just looks like a ton of fun! The inability to chimp and see what I've just shot has this element of excitement to it that I haven't experienced in my DSLR, or even with my iPhone, and the anticipation of getting the roll of film developed to see what I captured sounds invigorating! Plus, there's this sensation of nostalgia I have when holding a film camera as opposed to a DSLR that makes shooting for fun... fun! The clack! of the shutter, the tchzick! of advancing the film, the weight and feel of the camera... well, for a lack of a better term, it's just sexy!

I've already bought an ample amount of film, prepared for any potential shot that comes my way. I've picked up both color and black and white film, so as not to limit myself to any particular one type of film, but I am already feeling the pains of film in that regard: any time I see a great shot that I want done in color, I have black and white film loaded, and vice versa. Sigh. This is going to be trickier than I thought!

Meanwhile, I've already developed my first roll of film, which will be its own blog post soon enough. Suffice it to say, I certainly learned A LOT in such a short period of time. Here's a preview of that goodness:

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Will I survive the learning curve necessary to master [or learn as best I can] the ways of film photography? Stay tuned...

Until next time,

- Patrick