Nowadays, anyone with an iPhone and an Instagram can be a photographer. Our draw to documenting our lives to share with others is nothing new, but has become exponentially more simple in the modern day. As a result of increased accessibility, quality has taken a sharp turn. Framing, exposure, and lighting are very rarely taken into consideration because cropping and digital editing are so easy to do.
That brings me to the title of this post. I believe that no matter your experience level, you can take something away from shooting with a film camera. What film does is it forces you to be more conservative with your shots and to think about things such as framing, exposure, and lighting. A typical roll of film will only have 24 or 36 frames. That means you have to think about what you’re doing because you have limited tries to get the shot. I find myself thinking long and hard before I take a picture on my film camera. On my DSLR I can snap as many shots as I want and readjust accordingly. With film you find yourself composing your shot and then committing to it as you press the shutter release.
Another great aspect of film is the delayed gratification. There is no monitor on the back of a 35mm camera. Only a body panel. You’re forced to wait until you’ve shot the whole roll and until your film has been developed to see how things came out. If you wait to develop film after you’ve shot a few rolls, you find yourself rediscovering old memories that you’ve captured. I’ll liken it to something more contemporary; it’s akin to scrolling all the way down your timeline and seeing pictures of yourself from high school.
I think it’s funny that a lot of people try to mimic the film aesthetic these days. It’s inarguably old technology, but the way colors appear can be very visually appealing. The whole point of apps like VSCO are to mimic the color tones of film. So go on eBay or head to the antique store and find yourself a nice old 35mm camera. Grab some film and just start taking pictures. If nothing else, your Instagram aesthetic should improve. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?