How Shooting Film Makes You a Better Photographer

A couple of months ago, I shared my interest in shooting film. Luckily for me, my husband purchase a Canon AE-1 before we were married. I've been itching to shoot film, and finally I got some developed by the friendly folks at Christian Photo in Des Moines. 

I am not being paid to say this, but I loved having my photos developed there. They developed my black and white Ilford C41 film within the day last Saturday, and they were completely friendly and helpful. They didn't "talk down" to me as a photographer, yet were happy to share their expertise. I highly recommend going there for film developing!

There is something so satisfying with being able to physically flip through your prints after they've been developed. It's a feeling I'm going to be pursuing more and more. I am addicted to shooting film. It's a game changer for me. 

The first roll of film I had developed was my previously mentioned Ilford, black and white C41 film. I love the look of black and white, but it's more challenging than I thought for several reasons:

1. It's not digital. It's not instant.

I have several 'film inspired' Lightroom presets to give my digital images a texture reminiscent of flipping through an old photo album. I'm fairly satisfied with them, but there's not substitute for the chemical process that is involved with film.

Obviously, film is not digital. That means there's no instant gratification, and I can't immediately see what I did right or wrong. 

Ivy Lou's peekaboo.

Ivy Lou's peekaboo.


2. It's hard to think in terms of black and white.

When looking through my viewfinder, all I see is color. It's hard for me, personally, to predict what an image will look like black and white. Some of my photos turned out like I'd hoped, and some didn't. And it's okay!

A double exposure that didn't really find success.

A double exposure that didn't really find success.


3. You have to slow down.

This ties in with number one. It was very frustrating for me to take photos that I couldn't see immediately and couldn't immediately edit as soon as I got home. It was so hard for me, but as with most things, if it's a challenge it's probably good for you.

Wesley helped me get started with reading the light meter and adjusting my lens and shutter speed accordingly. Again, it's hard but satisfying knowing you are working really hard to earn each picture.

Taken at, where else, Nine Eagles with my favorites.

Taken at, where else, Nine Eagles with my favorites.

It's safe to say that shooting film is changing my life in a very positive way. I'm so looking forward to sharing more film with you from my recent and upcoming adventures!