Film Photography: An Introduction

Three days before my first college film class I got a package in the mail. It was an old Pentax 645N with a braided yarn neck strap and a broken shutter speed dial. However, very quickly, she became my baby.

Learning about the basics of photography (shutter speed, ISO settings, and aperture) while also learning film types, how to develop film, how to use an enlarger, and how to read a light meter, made for a slightly more challenging class atmosphere than most. That being said, though, I would never change it. I grew to love the texture, the colors, and the boldness of film. I learned to trust myself and develop instincts about lighting. I was in love.

Then industry happened. One year after shooting my first wedding as a professional wedding photographer, my film camera lay abandoned in a trunk under my husband and I's bed. I just didn't feel film had a place in the fast paced, "need it now" wedding industry. In a world were a 2,000 image return was more important than emotion or art, how could I show up with a noisy, clunky, camera that needed film to work?! I was photographing weddings every single weekend, working for multiple different photographers, and becoming quite the "assembly line" photographer. But deep down, I was getting more and more burnt out.

Then my husband and I got a puppy! Our little furry bearcub; a Newfie we named Moby. Suddenly digital just wouldn't do. I found I longed for the emotion from a photograph that film used to bring me. The texture and colors, the transportation to a more perfect world. I found that when capturing someone I loved, I wanted to feel that love. I began to get back into medium format film photography, and the dream had begun. I wanted to start bringing this feeling to my clients. I wanted their photos to be more dynamic and organic. I wanted to bring them actual art.


I hope you'll enjoy joining me as I share the journey of the last two years of my life. Two years full of experimenting with different film labs, film types, re-learning metering, the ups and downs of film, and the joy of finally receiving your scans!

Here's a little example to start this film part of the blog. 

Film vs Digital. Can you see it? Feel it?

a Film Wedding image. Shot on my Pentax 645N with Portra 400

a Film Wedding image. Shot on my Pentax 645N with Portra 400

a Digital Wedding image. Shot on my Canon 5d MIII With my 35mm Sigma Art series lens

a Digital Wedding image. Shot on my Canon 5d MIII With my 35mm Sigma Art series lens