bird of paradise on kodak ektar 100 120 roll

Film Photography: A Beginner's Comprehensive Guide

Have you asked yourself "what is film photography?" or "Where do I start?" or curious about whether film photography is right for you? In a simple, easy-to-understand blog article, we walk you through the basics with links to more in-depth information.

volkswagen beetle in red on 120 medium format film

Introduction: In a world increasingly dominated by digital technology, film photography stands as a bastion of the tactile, the authentic, and the deeply personal. At ArtByPino Film Photography, we understand the allure of this medium and are here to guide you through the exciting journey of capturing life's moments on film. Remember, in order to take fine photographs on film, one has to have a solid understanding of the principles of photography. You do not have the luxury of shooting endlessly using a digital memory card. Each photo on film costs you money. In other words, only real photographers know how to shoot film. Seriously, a monkey can take a 1,000 images on a digital camera and 50 of them will be good.

Film photography is not for everyone. Yes, it is expensive. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Folks that want to express their creativity in an authentic timeless elegance are drawn to film.

The Resurgence of Film Photography: Film photography is experiencing a renaissance, akin to the revival of vinyl records. This resurgence is driven by a longing for a more authentic and hands-on photographic experience. Major companies like Kodak and Ilford are responding to this renewed interest by reintroducing classic film stocks and developing new ones. The re-manufacturing of classic models like Leica's M6 35mm camera and Ricoh's consideration of reintroducing Pentax-branded film cameras highlights the industry's confidence in the future of film photography. In 2023, several low cost film cameras have been introduced in the market: Kodak Ektar H35N, Holga, Kodak TRI-X disposable camera, etc.

bw photograph of historic building in edinburg, texas on film

Understanding Film Photography: Film photography, distinct from digital, captures images on a physical medium — the film. This process results in photos with a depth and warmth often missing in digital images. Digital images look clinical. Too perfect. Doesn't capture the imperfect human being or the imperfect human emotion. There are various film formats, such as 35mm, 120 medium format, and large format films, each offering different characteristics and creative opportunities. 35mm film, commonly used for its versatility and accessibility, is perfect for everyday photography and street scenes. 120 medium format film, known for its higher resolution and detail, is often chosen for portrait and fine art photography. Large format film offers unparalleled detail and clarity, ideal for landscape and architectural photography.

kodak ektar h35n 35mm half-frame film camera for sale near me

Choosing Your First Film Camera: When selecting your first film camera, you're choosing more than just a tool; you're picking a gateway to a new world of photography. SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) cameras are popular for their versatility and control, allowing photographers to change lenses and manually adjust settings. Rangefinders, with their compact design and quiet operation, are excellent for street and documentary photography. Additionally, the charm of vintage cameras goes beyond their aesthetic appeal. These cameras connect us to the past and bring a unique, timeless quality to the images they produce. However, if you are limited on your budget or unsure of whether film photography is for you, consider something like a Kodak Ektar H35N Half-frame film camera which gives you twice the number of exposures with fine results. How fine? Check out the pictures taken with it.

Things to consider when buying a film camera

variety of 35mm and 120 rolls films

Selecting Your Film: The choice of film can dramatically influence the look and feel of your photographs. At ArtByPino, we offer over 65 varieties of film, each with its unique characteristics. Color films range from vibrant and saturated to subtle and natural, while black and white films offer a range of contrasts, from sharp and gritty to soft and nuanced. The ISO rating of the film determines its sensitivity to light, with lower ISO films suited for bright conditions and higher ISO films for lower light settings.

Taking Your First Photographs: Film photography requires a more deliberate approach than digital. With a limited number of frames on each roll of film, each shot becomes a thoughtful decision. This limitation encourages photographers to develop a keen eye for composition, lighting, and moment. Film photography is not just about capturing an image; it's about capturing a feeling, a mood, or a story.

Developing Your Film: Developing film can be an incredibly rewarding part of the film photography process. While some photographers prefer the convenience of professional labs, others find joy in the hands-on process of developing film at home. This process allows for a deeper connection with your photographs and provides opportunities to experiment with different development techniques to alter the final look of your images.

the dynamic range of film photography

The Unique Aesthetic of Film Photography: Film offers a dynamic range and depth that is often challenging to replicate with digital sensors. This quality enables film photographs to have rich, nuanced shadows and highlights, contributing to a more three-dimensional and lifelike image. The organic grain of film adds texture and character to photographs, creating a sense of nostalgia and timelessness.

Sharing and Preserving Your Work: The digital era has made sharing photography easier than ever. However, film photography provides the unique option of creating tangible prints directly from negatives, which carry a different weight and presence compared to digital prints. Engaging with film photography communities, both online and offline, can provide a platform for sharing your work, gaining inspiration, and learning from others.

Conclusion: Film photography offers a unique blend of artistry, skill, and authenticity. It's a journey that rewards patience and creativity. At ArtByPino Film Photography, we are committed to supporting this journey with our extensive range of cameras, films, and development tools. We invite you to explore the rich world of film photography and discover the unique joy it brings.

Call to Action: Start your film photography adventure with us at ArtByPino Film Photography. Visit our online store for a curated selection of film, cameras, and development tools, and join a community passionate about the art of film photography. We also offer 1-on-1 coaching through zoom or a video call.

Other Resources

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.