Learning To Shoot On Film…Again

A few months ago I stopped into my local camera store and asked about buying a film camera. I know it is a trend right now, but I was seeing some beautiful images on Instagram and I wanted to see if I could learn to shoot on film…again. I say again because I actually started taking pictures on film.

In 1995 I was in the 8th grade and we took a field trip to some sort of mine in the Appalachian mountains. Somehow my Father decided to loan me his Canon 35mm camera…That or I “borrowed” it without telling him. The latter is much more likely. I don’t remember much about the trip…TBH most of my life’s memories are kinda a blurry haze thanks to trauma, but I do remember trying to get some good shots while I was there, and this was one of the images I took.

Fast forward many years later, I have been shooting digital for over 10 years now and I want to try my hand at film again. Now keep in mind film itself has come a long way since 1995, but the manufacturing of film cameras has not. Most manufacturers stopped producing film cameras many years ago, so if you want to shoot film you have to find a vintage camera. This is a good thing, because most of the vintage cameras take excellent pictures, and the lenses that were made back then can seriously hold their own against the lenses of today. Today everything is made out of plastic and has sort of a cheap feel to it vs. the cameras of the past were made with strong quality materials, many of them metal, carry a good heft, and their manufacturing was so good that cameras built 40 years ago can still today take amazing photos!

I decided to purchase a Pentax Super Program 35mm camera. This camera was manufactured and released back in 1983…2 years after I was born, but as you can see from this image it can certainly take amazing images. This image is literally straight out of the camera with ZERO editing. I was out on a walk, saw this dried-up leaf, framed and composed the image, adjusted settings, and click got something worthy of framing.

See that is why learning to shoot on film…again was so important to me. As digital photographers I think too often we rely on our post-editing skills to make a photo look amazing, and many of us have forgotten the first rule of photography…get the photo as close to perfect IN CAMERA before you ever touch a piece of editing software.

Now that being said learning how to shoot film…again is not as easy as it sounds. I recently developed my 2nd role of film and out of 30 exposures only 11 pictures actually came out ok. Why? because I was relying too much on the camera’s auto abilities and shooting in shutter priority mode instead of shooting in full manual and using a light meter to help me determine settings. So now I am working on my 3 roll of film and working hard to be more mindful of what and how I am shooting in order to get better shots.

If you would like to see more of my work from this roll of film check out my Patreon where I share more of my photography.