Getting Creative – Film

Would you believe there are pro photographers who still shoot film? Film isn’t dead, even despite Kodak coughing and gasping on its deathbed.

Why should you consider shooting film?

For the look – photographers spend a huge amount of time and money trying to duplicate the feel. Why not do it for realsies?

Cost – It sounds crazy but bear with me. Every time you put a roll of film in your camera, it has cost you money. And that cost continues with development and printing (or scanning/uploading). Taking a poor picture has its price. But on the upside, you will value a good picture far more. You’ll take more time and care in choosing your image. And that mentality will transfer to dSLRs.

Education – In going film, you’ll be forced to learn the fundamentals of cameras. Why the holy trinity of ISO, speed and aperture is so important. You’ll take more effort to make sure your images are exposed properly because there’s no fixing the image in the postprocessing stage. That education, too, will translate to shooting digital – it’ll help streamline your workflow and save you time.

Satisfaction – if you take it a step further and develop the film yourself, there’s an inherent sense of satisfaction in working with your hands. In the anticipation of the unknown. Did you get it right? Or screw it up? That moment when you hold your breath as you pull out a roll of film from the developing tank, and check it anxiously by holding up to your bathroom light to see how the images look.

I will admit, I did a triumphant fist pump when my films came out of the tank just fine on my first try in over 15 years.

For about $50-$75, you can get everything you need to develop B&W film in your own home. If you want to develop your own prints, that’ll take a bit more cash. Alternatively, scan the negatives onto the computer instead.

Today’s featured photographer is Mark Ashbee; he shoots both digital and film; and his images are just lovely. Check him out.

I recently started shooting film in conjunction with digital, and while my film photography is experiencing growing pains – I’ve gotten spoiled by my dSLR – I enjoyed the whole process very much.

Below is an image taken with my very antique Argus Argoflex E, a medium format TLR camera. I think I paid, maybe $20 for it. Film is 120 T-Max 400.

by Zombie Photography


  1. My father wants to give me his old camera, but I was a little hesitant. After reading your posts, I think I want to try it! Thanks for the inspiration!

        • I looked it up online. It’s a different version of the AE-1, which I have. The difference is the T is 100% manual – no aperture priority nor shutter speed priority. It’s not a big deal, really. I shoot in manual mode 99% of the time. 🙂

          It does have a light meter, which will help with figuring out the exposure. Hmm. You might have a little trouble finding a compatible battery locally (I had to hit 3 stores for the battery), but should be able to get it online if that’s the case.

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