Film Photography is an old-school way of capturing special moments. Its popularity has been increasing steadily in the last decade as many photographers seek to learn the fundamentals of photography. As it is the beginning and the only true physical method of photography, the film photography technique is an irreplaceable method of making pictures.
If you have an interest in capturing images on film; then this article provides you with the necessary information on the camera, processes, and techniques to make it all possible.
What is Film Photography?
Film photography is where it all started. Before the invention of digital photography, photographs were taken on strips of plastic with layers of emulsion. Even before that, photographers used glass and metal sheets which played both the role of light carrier and print in the photography process.
These strips are made with a coating of a silver halide solution, which are then protected by a layer of gelatin into which are burned imprints of the photographs taken. To obtain a negative out of this, certain chemicals and wash processes stripped the plastic of all its coating, revealing a reversed image.
On the negatives, dark areas of the scene would show up as transparent on the negative. The grain or what is referred to as ‘noise’ that is seen from higher ISOs comes from the size of the silver pieces. The larger the pieces, the better they are at capturing light, but that also meant they were large enough to be seen.
Film photography relies on the process of deliberate image-making as it allows for a limited number of frames. It brings a physical element to the photography process with the possibility of experimentation, although it is time-consuming due to the developing and scanning process.
In recent times, film photography has been making a huge comeback; as people continue to find fresh reasons to shoot film. In addition, there are many online communities, collectives, and groups on social media who are similarly interested in the film photography renaissance.
Why Should You Try Film Photography
I am quite certain that by now you already know the difference between analog and digital films processes. We see a lot of it all the time with music and film. The film photography process came first, and then the digital revolution followed. Digital cameras were designed on the exact mechanic of SLRs.
But why bother with a process that seems to have been relegated to the past? The best answer I think lies in the huge advantage that film photography offers you as a way to learn. Almost all analog film cameras are completely manual, meaning you have to change all the settings yourself.
There are many disadvantages to shooting film, but these only are relevant when comparing analog to the modern DSLRs. However, the quality of your negatives can better your DSLR with the right camera and scanner.
Nonetheless, analog photography provides a plethora of great cameras to choose from, including cameras that are specific to their time and location, as well as great lenses that can be mounted on DSLRs using adapters.
In terms of feel, sound, and outputs, a Japanese camera like the Mamiya differs greatly from a Russian Zenit. Unlike the digital cameras preferred today, film cameras have a look about them that reflects a feeling of a culture and time. Compared to film cameras, digital cameras do not last nearly as long as film cameras.
Some of the benefits of film photography were that, back in the early days of the process, scientists and documenters found film cameras as a very useful tool in documenting their works. Afterward, the cameras found their way into the hands of studio photographers, documenters, and artists revolutionizing the worlds of fashion, advertising, modeling, and so forth. It goes without saying that if not for film photography; digital photography would not have been born.
In fact, it was as a result of Thomas Knoll’s struggles to overcome the process of dodging and burning in the darkroom that the Adobe Photoshop technology was born.
Today, film photography still offers a lot of choices as many different types of the film give you different looks in the real world without having to use presets to mimic the unique looks in a Lightroom.
General Tips for Film Photography
One of the ways film photography is different from its digital counterpart is in how we expose a shot.
It is better to overexpose with film photography since it is possible to bring the exposure down later. You are also able to push or pull a film in the event you wish to change the exposure while developing. Whereas, in digital photography, the opposite works better, as underexposing a shot allows you to pull details out of the shadows.
Film photography goes through loads of physical processes that require research and practice to master. But it is also an amazing way of getting in touch with the roots of photography. Not being able to use film is like a musician that cannot play any musical instrument.
The return that film photography is making now offers photographers the perfect opportunity to get hands-on with the process of film photography.
The Film District Dubai is committed to producing high-quality photography and film. We create inspiring content for consumer and luxury brands, real estate and construction, travel and hospitality, food and beverage, and sports.
Jul 21, 2021
by Eguaogie Eghosa