Traveling with Film

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My family and I recently took a very short trip (much too short, when can we go back again?) to New York City, where I tried to shoot as much as was physically possible with about 24 hours, two children and a tight we-must-show-them-everything schedule. Before hand I made a lot of decisions about what to bring based on the fact that I knew this trip would be absolutely nuts- and it paid dividends.

Are you feeling daunted with the thought of traveling with film? I get it, it’s a a lot to think about, but here are a few pointers I feel like I’ve come up with over the past few years that have really helped me zero in on what to bring, and helped me to be pleased with the scans after the fact.

  1. Know the type of trip you’re going on

    Thinking through the type of trip you’re going on is going to help you pack the equipment that is going to get you the best images. Is it going to be fast paced? Slow and easy? Should your grab bag include manual focus or auto focus lenses? What camera ratio is going to be best for what you’re wanting to shoot? Is bringing more than one camera going to be a pain, or will you have a place to stow extra gear so you can carry one at a time? These are all excellent questions to ask yourself before you set foot on the plane, load a roll or take a shot in your new destination.

  2. Think about the type of images you’d like to make

    Along with what type of trip you’re going on, for a planner like myself, I always like thinking about the types of images I want to make. The format of a camera is always an important thing to think about, what ratio are you wanting to shoot? Do you want to have the ability to make double exposures (ummmm, always yes for yours truly), are you hoping for a more gritty grainy style or something soft and clean?

  3. Always bring more film than you think you’ll use

    Nothing is more horrifying than being on a trip and running out of your most precious commodity: film. Always bring more than enough, and allow yourself to shoot to your heart’s content to tell the story of your trip.

  4. Stream line the process

    Pick one film stock to shoot for your entire trip. This keeps you from making silly metering mistakes and allows you to meter and shoot exactly the same the entire trip.

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Melese MillerComment