Thoughts on Thursday | Shooting Film

I’m writing today’s “Thoughts on Thursday” on a Wednesday — not because I’m super efficient like that, but because on Thursday I’ll be busy with school preparations all day long.  Ho hum.

Summer is prime season for photographers.  There are long days, lots of sunlight, bold colors, flowers, and plenty of outdoor activities.  I’ve had a busy wedding season this summer, but I also enjoyed taking some time to try to capture the mood of the season on film.  I shot four rolls, both 120 and 35mm, and got the scans back this evening.  This little set is by far my favorite.

I am by no means a great film shooter.  I have a light meter I never really use, and much of the time I don’t even bother to look at the camera’s internal meter either (I just guess).  I am constantly opening my camera at the end of a roll to discover I’ve loaded the wrong film inside, and I waste quite a few rolls by loading them incorrectly.  I guess I like Kodak Portra, but I don’t shoot enough film to have any real preference.  I hate paying $15 for a roll to be developed and scanned (not counting the cost of the film itself).  I miss focus a lot.  And I’m nowhere near confident enough (yet) to use film at a session without also doubling the shots on digital.

But regardless of all those troubles, I’m still hooked on the medium.

Being limited to only a few shots in any given situation means you think more carefully about what you shoot.  Although I hope the shots above seem carefree and summery, they were actually very carefully planned.  I wanted to capture fragments of a summer’s day rather than a more traditional portrait of Caroline in her bathing suit (which I have plenty of already).  I wanted a shot of her little post-sprinkler curls and her blackberry harvest.  I wanted some shots of the flora to set the scene.  I thought a photo of her interacting with said flora would tie the whole set together nicely.  This is exactly the kind of imagery I love to shoot for myself, but rarely shoot quite the same for clients.  I’m not sure why that discord exists.  Perhaps it has to do with time available, or the pressure to deliver something readily framable.  I’m often torn between a desire to create really beautiful, classic portraits and a need to experiment with more dreamlike, storytelling images.  I love both styles for different reasons.

My favorite thing about shooting film, though, is that you have to wait to get it back.  The suspense drives me a little nuts, I’ll admit, but I love rediscovering the photos when the scans reach my inbox.  I never doubled this particular set of photos on digital, and I completely forgot I even took them until I saw the scans tonight.  It was a pleasant surprise.



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1 Comment

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    August 28, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Beautiful story. I love Caroline’s wet curls. Have you thought of doing day in the life sessions? I know that is time but I think you would do a beautiful job of telling someones story & the details of everyday life. Our wedding photographer has done them and they are so moving & emotional. You may always test it on us 😉

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