Do you love the look of film photography but not sure where to start?
6 FILM PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS : In this article, I am giving you my favorite film photography tips for beginners. These tips will help you avoid costly mistakes and start creating beautiful movie pictures!
Over the years, I’ve had many digital photographer friends who loved the look of film but were too afraid to try it. After all, this can be very difficult and expensive if you don’t know what you are doing or where to start!
I have been able to teach them how to step out of their comfort zone and start shooting film photography with more confidence! And now it’s your turn, so let’s dive in!
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6 FILM PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
1. go slow
Learning to shoot film isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Shooting a film is an investment and you have to pace yourself.
As you can imagine, film isn’t cheap, and if you’re transitioning from digital, you’re probably used to shooting as many pictures as your SD card can handle.
But with film, there is a limited number of shots on a roll of film. Going from an unlimited number of images to just 16 or 36 images at a time can be quite a change. Therefore, I highly recommend that you start slow when you are shooting.
Take your time and enjoy the process of finding the best angle, finding the right location and taking your picture.
Putting time and thought into your images can allow you to slow down and be a little more intentional about what you’re shooting and the results you want in your images.
2. Shoot One Roll at a Time
When I first started learning film shooting, I went crazy and started shooting for a storm. Only to realize, I shot so many rolls on a broken $20 dollar camera that I bought from E.B.A.
It’s safe to say that very few images came out of them, if any, and that I wasted so much money using multiple rolls of professional film on a broken camera. Oops.
So take it only one roll at a time. I know it can be tough to do one roll at a time, because you are excited and you just want to keep shooting, but, trust me, it is going to save you so much time and money in the long run.
Shooting and developing a film or two at a time will let you really analyze the images and get to know how your film camera works. You’ll be able to troubleshoot problems like underexposure (or a broken camera!), and learn how your shooting process and the details of your camera affect your images.
If I could start, I would have just rolled one of a few different film stocks in a few different locations to see what I liked the most about each film stock and location.
3. 35 mm . start with
My next film photography tip for beginners is to stick to 35mm when you first start shooting film.
Both film and cameras are often cheaper with 35mm than with medium format, and at 36 images per roll of film, you get more breathing room to experiment and shoot!
Shooting a medium format roll of film only gives you 12-16 photos, depending on which camera you use, and that’s less than half what you’d get with shooting 35mm! !
4. Professional Lab Use
When I started filming, my local Walgreens was still doing a one-day turnaround for film photography, and that’s how I began my film journey.
But after sending several rolls to Walgreens, I was disappointed with how my images came out. They didn’t look like anything other people were posting on Instagram!
I got so upset that I gave up on my film journey for several months!
So, take it from me when I say it’s very important to send your film scans to a professional lab. Especially when you’re first starting out, because every role counts when it comes to feedback and learning your own film techniques.
The first time I sent my film scans to my professional lab, Photovision Prints, I was blown away by the results I got!
5. Ask Questions
This was probably one of my biggest mistakes when I first started shooting for the film. I could have reduced my trial and error efforts to so much if I just reached out to other fellow film photographers and asked questions!
And the best place to ask questions is your lab!
Professional film labs are trained and specialize in film, and if you’re trying to achieve a specific look, they’re the people to ask. They’ll help you troubleshoot problems to achieve your film goals.
And not to break my own horn, but you can always reach out to me for questions too. I might know a thing or two!
6. use manual focus
If you’re transitioning from shooting digital, you’re probably used to relying heavily on autofocus.
Unfortunately, film cameras do not have the speed that digital cameras have when shooting with autofocus. You’ll find that if you rely on allowing your camera to choose what to focus on, you’ll lose focus or miss the moment you want your autofocus to take too long. want to shoot.
So, take it from me and start using manual focus for all the blurry images I took in the beginning.
If you’re not used to shooting manuals, this can be quite a change. You will find that learning to trust your eyes when it comes to focusing can be intimidating and takes a long time to learn.
Because of this, I recommend you practice your manual, focusing on still life topics. Plants, flowers, buildings etc.
When I first tried to develop my focusing skills I did it with my kids. no good people. Kids don’t sit still, even when you throw all the fart jokes and candy promises your way.
It can be tough at first, but I promise, if you just stick with manual focus and keep practicing, it will soon become second nature and you may even need to think twice about doing it. Won’t be needed!