Why shoot film?

melesemiller_shootingfilm-2.JPG

It’s possible after reading this title that you’re thinking, “But, Melese, aren’t you a little biased?”, and while it’s true that I LOVE this medium to the moon and back, I also actually believe the above statement: Learning to shoot film really can make you a better photographer.

  1. Your story telling abilities will grow.

    You’ve got sixteen frames per roll if you’re shooting medium format, and that’s not a lot, so you have to be picky. Shooting with limitations will help you tell a much more concise story, and let’s be honest, a concise story is a better story.

  2. You will become better at seeing the light.

    Because film is so dependent on light you have to train yourself to see where it’s falling, and to know what light will work and what light won’t. This skill benefits both film and digital and will make your editing life so much simpler and easier regardless of which camera system you’re shooting.

  3. Your technical skill set will grow.

    Back in the day, you really had to know your stuff. Old school film shooters were developing their own film, using colored flash gels to color balance, and dodging and burning in the dark room to develop their images. We’ve gotten a little soft. With the editing programs that we have and the cameras that can do every little thing for you, it’s convenient for sure, but in some ways I think it’s made us a little lazy. Understanding how to produce the art that’s in your head is a technical skill that’s essential to growth, and film forces you to pay attention to that.

  4. You’ll start to really trust yourself.

    You’re shooting blind, and it’s scary but the more you shoot the more you learn to slow down and think through things. Where is the light? What are my settings? How am I going to expose this for the look I’m going for? Sometimes with digital we don’t think about those things until we’re editing, and we throw out a few curse words in the process. The more you shoot film the more you will trust yourself & your knowledge, and your confidence will grow - AKA rockstar photographer status.

    If you want/need something to push you into thinking through your image making a bit more, film is your best friend. Come join the analog resurgence and gain some crazy mad skills along the way!

Melese MillerComment