Saturday, November 15, 2014

All About Film

I have had a lot of people question my decision to start shooting with film this year, and I've been wanting to start blogging more, so here we go! :-)

At the beginning of this year I found myself bored with my photography. I felt like I was doing a lot of everything, and while I was feeling pretty good about the technical aspects of my photos, I just wasn't happy with my style. I started searching for artists who inspired me. Photos that made me smile. Motivation to keep me going. It was around that time that I decided to narrow my focus to wedding and couple's photography. Its what I love. I want to create photos that people can look back on in 50 years and remember what it was that made them fall in love in the first place. I want to document the friendship and love and unique interaction that each couple has.

Anyway, while I was searching for my style and work that inspired me I realized that 99% of my favorite photographers shoot film. My first thought was probably the same as most people--WHY?? In this digital world where we have instant gratification in almost every area of life, why would anyone shoot film? Its expensive. Its outdated. Its hard to come by and it takes time, money, and effort to process, so why bother?

I started experimenting with my editing processes trying to emulate the look of film, but I just wasn't happy with the results so I made the jump. I ordered my first rolls of film (at least since B&W film class in college) and assumed that my film photos would be terrible and I would completely embarrass myself. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of my first couple of rolls and the ways that film changed my feelings about photography. It forced me to push myself. To be more creative. To stop relying on Photoshop and the capabilities of editing a RAW digital image. I found myself slowing down and really thinking about each photo as a piece of art. I also started to like my own work again which was worth every penny that I spent on the film. The dreamy colors, the excitement when film scan day arrives, the ability to open a film scan and have it look perfect without any editing...its all good! Shooting with film also changed the way that I used my digital cameras. I am more intentional with every photo and I don't press the shutter aimlessly. I try not to rely as much on Photoshop and I make more of an effort to get everything right in the camera.

I could go on and on and on, but this has already gotten more wordy than I was planning, so I'm going to move on to some photos!

The following 2 sets of photos were taken in the same locations, at the same times, and all of these photos are un-edited. The photos on the left are digital and on the right is Kodak Porta 160 film. The colors are UNREAL with this film! Would it be possible to edit the digital photos and get a similar result? Probably, but ain't nobody got time fo dat! ;-)

 Portraits on film? YES PLEASE! Look at the skin tones and the emerald-colored greens. **Swoon** Again, these 3 photos were taken with Kodak Portra 160 film (my hands-down FAVORITE!)

Details on film? Another yes! I have a newfound love of detail photos and I owe it all to film. It feels more like making art and less like a job.

I love incorporating film into my paid work, but even more than that it has given me back a love and excitement for photography. I'm noticing beauty in unexpected places and stopping to take photos for ME again. 

The next two photos take me back to my days of black and white film in high school and college. I love the grain and the contrast! 

My goal for next year is to incorporate even more film into my work and **hopefully** transition into using both 35mm and medium format film. Time to start shopping for a Contax! ;-)