We are asked quite often, “how do I get started shooting film?”. Wait….you shoot film…like video? All the time. We don’t mind at all and we are always so excited to chat film with anyone who asks. So, we thought we would share our advice on getting your feet wet with film and helping you make the ultimate decision, is film right for your business? Here are 7 steps to start shooting film.
Consider starting small. Buy a manual 35mm camera, like the Canon AE-1, or Auto-focus Canon EOS Rebel or Nikon F100. You definitely do not want to throw a lot of money into gear until you are sure film is the right fit for you.
Buy a light meter. We love our Sekonic L-358. Exploring your metering style is just as important as learning how to use your film camera. If you’d like to learn more, you will love our post on How we meter? If you do not want to invest in a light meter right away you can get the app on your phone. (we use this one all the time)
If you really want to start with a Medium Format camera, you may want to invest in a Pentax 645 or Mamiya 645. They won’t break the bank quite like a Contax.
Take your film camera everywhere with you. This is one of the main reasons, other than cost, you may want to start with a 35mm. You can play with lots of lighting situations while running around town and you can take your time learning the ins and outs of your camera in less stressful scenarios.
Shoot all different film stocks to find your favorites and which ones work best in different lighting situations. Our favorite is Kodak Portra 160. It is not ideal for all lighting situations, but the skin tones are to die for.
Once you feel more confident, begin taking a couple rolls on sessions with clients. If you second shoot for another photographer, ask them if you can shoot some film as the second shooter.
Find a lab. And when you find a lab, treat them with love and respect. They are going to be an intense part of your workflow. Take the time to build a relationship and have an open line of communication with your lab. Ask them what you could have done better (our absolute favorites are Photovision and Richard Photo Lab).