This post is for those of you who have always loved, adored, and fan girled over the look of film but have been intimidated to get started! This post is all about getting started with film photography or at least those looking to give it a try! Well, I can tell you from waiting for years to dive in that it took me too long and I wish I had started long ago. The thing is, I’ve been collecting film knowledge, but what’s the use if I don’t put it to work? I knew which film stock my favorites used, the major labs that develop film, and even all about the coveted Contax645 (my dream camera).
I have to thank my friend Sara for hosting an incredible film workshop because knowing I’d have a small, warm, and safe environment to shoot film meant I was finally ready to commit. Okay, I borrowed a Pentax645, but it was still the commitment of renting a camera, buying film, selecting a lab, and paying the cost of admission to the workshop.
Here’s my gear list //
Pentax 645 (borrowed, thanks Hannah!)
Portra 800 (suggested film stock as we’d be shooting indoors, I love this video explanation on film stocks and when to use which from Darc’y Benincosa)
Developed with premium scanning at PhotoVision Prints
So I was a little intimidated to not have digital backups and I sent the film bubble wrapped ALL OVER. I kept looking at the back of the camera, which is just black. Old habits die hard, I guess!
I’ve since gone on to purchase a Pentax645 and shoot some Fuji400h and Portra 400, and I’ve used The Find Lab as well. Here’s my first hybrid (digital + film) engagement session. I’d love to answer any questions anyone has, while I’m just getting started with film, sometimes it feels a little easier to ask another newbie!
My goal in the future is to write down what my settings were while using film, I’m already slower with film then digital, but I want to remember what I like, and keep telling myself it’s okay to overexpose and shoot in more sun! I’d love to mentor with someone local who knows the desert and how film reads light here. Oh, and speaking of reading light, I bought the Sekonic 358 light meter used from a sweet gal in Alabama. The iPhone has a light meter app as well, but I didn’t want to chance it considering the cost involved with film.
Incredible Vendors who made this shoot a success //
Sara Bishop Photography // The Film Workshop
Melissa // Moellex Events
Mattie // Lola Lee Invitations
I know I am totally just getting started with film but I want to share from the beginning of my journey in hopes of helping others who are just getting started as well! I recently heard a toast given by a father of the bride that went something like this “it’s the climb that’s meant to be enjoyed, not the view at the top of the mountain.” Paraphrasing : Enjoy the ride! That’s what I intend to do and I’d love to help anyone else I can on the journey. <3
*So the only thing I can say about the Pentax645 that I’ve struggled with is that it takes a little bit of time getting used to focusing! While I love that it has autofocus, you can not focus and recompose without switching to manual focus, which is hard to break from shooting digital for so long. A Summer goal is to shoot more film for ME and so this will be something I continually work on and enjoy!