Digital cameras, smartphones, and more specifically, image sensor technologies have completely changed the way we photograph today. Unlike films, digital images can be viewed and edited on a go within seconds, without requiring any processing and scanning. However, after using films for the past couple months, I learned how much of fun, love, and care goes through when shooting films. Enough with the intro, lets dig in why I personally love films.
#1. Films are like magic.
I’m not joking around here, films are really a true magic. When you’re photographing something, you don’t know how it’s going to look until you process it. After 24 or 36 exposure, you go to the darkroom and process. Mixing several chemicals, loading films into a canister, agitating it, then boom! There are negatives shown on your film.
#2. You start to appreciate every exposure.
This goes back to previous reason. Once you start shooting films, you start to appreciate every exposure because you spent all your time and money developing. When it comes out blank, that’s all you got: Zero exposure. When you shoot film for the first time, don’t be afraid of blank roll, it happens, just practice, practice, and practice until you can nail that exposure.
#3. You feel good about yourself as a photographer.
If you surpassed “blank roll stage” and starting to get exposures, congratulations! You are probably better than majority of the photographers. Take a look at my film image of Big Dipper.
As you can see, my first try was little hectic. There is slight camera movement causing stars to look blurry, and there is bunch of dust on the film during scanning making it hard to identify near by constellations and/or stars. If you’re not proud of yourself because composition was off or there was a mistake within an image, don’t be, be proud of yourself, and do better next time. By the end of the day, you made an exposure using film only with no digital implantation.
#4. Natural, organic, and timeless feeling that cannot be done using digital.
Technically, you can replicate film effect using variety of editing techniques. However, that is several extra work you have to do! Also, based on my experience, digital editing is still quite not there yet to truly replicate film’s organic and timeless effect.
#5. Great way to learn yourself and your photographic style.
As you shoot more and more using film, you start to find patterns. Your processing technique, agitating technique, shooting technique, and more. As a result, you will either enhance your strengths and styles, or completely flip your current style and try something totally new. This process will repeat several times until you find yourself your true photographic style.
All in all, 35mm film is another art piece for me that needs to be practiced and mastered in the next several years and decades to come. I found myself looking for more interesting features, details, and composition when shooting. Films will allow you to think twice, maybe triple before you push that shutter. In my opinion, it is something that every photographers should get into and enjoy the beauty of classic, old technology to learn why it is still used today.
*Disclaimer: This article is from millennials point of view who approach films after using digital.
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