Film photography 101

I like taking pictures.

These photographs capture not only the places I've explored, but the essence of who I was in those moments: who I was, what I was thinking, and how I was feeling.

They also serve as portals to my past, allowing me relive past experiences and immerse myself in a sea of memories, rekindling emotions that might otherwise have faded away.

One goal I have, is to get into film photography at some point. I think I'll enjoy it a lot. The craft and detail that goes into taking each shot, and the adventure in choosing the right camera and roll of film.

I watched this video and got to learn a little but more about film photography.

First, how does film work?

The basic idea is that film is a roll of plastic containing a magical mix of chemicals that make it sensitive to light.

When film is placed into the camera, it lives in complete darkness.

Every time you shoot a photo, you let light in through the lense. That light then hits the film, and burns it in a way that shapes and color are reflected on the material.

The second question is which camera to choose.

There are 3 main types of film cameras:

  1. SLR (single-lens reflex camera)
    • what you see on the viewfinder is very close to the image (thanks to mirror)
    • option to change lenses and shoot manually
    • bulkier and heavier
    • who? action photography
  2. Rangefinder
    • a different type of viewfinder that has framelines that assist you when shooting
    • not all of them allow you to change the lens (the ones that do are more expensive)
    • compact, smaller setup
    • who? street photography
  3. Point & shoot
    • automatic cameras, no need to set exposure or focus (depending on camera)
    • require batteries
    • who? easily capture moments of everyday life (first two requires precision and time)

When choosing a type of film, there are two variables: style and price.

And these films differ in color and contrast.

For beginners, go with Kodak GOLD 200 (cheapish color film)

Now for how to shoot.

When shooting film, exposure matters.

Opposite from digital shooting, details in film are harder to recover from the shadows and easier from highlights. So, it's important to expose correctly or slightly overexposed, which means using a light meter.