The Case for (Not!) Going Digital

The Case for (Not!) Going Digital
Author: Brian Duggan

Let’s talk about FILM. No, not movies… shooting in real honest-to-God physical film like your grandparents had on their wedding day. I started shooting film in college when I had my first ever dark room class. I was able to develop my own film (with chemicals courtesy of the Duke Lab). I loved it then but in the age of digital, I never thought I would get to return to it.

I found my way back to film with a Canon AE. You can buy one at a local store for under $100. There is no autofocus and it’s a 35mm film camera. From there, I launched into loving film for personal work and have since started incorporating it into my own wedding photography business.

Worth the Risk

Like anything, shooting with film has its setbacks. In my digital camera, I have two memory cards in the same camera (in case one corrupts). With film, I can’t see the final product until it is back from the lab. You also have to MAIL film (which you can insure but heaven forbid it gets lost). Film also takes significantly more time unless you have a film roller assistant or multiple backs. After every 16 frames, you have to change out your roll. It can be tough to roll on a tight schedule and it may make you miss some candids. Not to mention the overall expense of purchasing and processing film…

But as I always remind my clients, and myself, the reward will always outweigh the risk. The look of film is almost unparalleled by anything out there. The colors are richer and the depth/dreamy quality of the images speak for themselves. Film photographers tend to be more intentional with their images because they are paying for and thinking of every click. You want to be sure everything is just right and not just photograph a whole roll until one image of the 9 is a solid shot. Each image is unique, one of its kind and that makes it all the more powerful.

The bottom line? If you have a passion for it, it will always be worth the work (and the expense.)

Key Takeaways

  • Find ways to support your hobby – whether it’s a class, club, even a mentor!
  • Plan your budget to sponsor your hobby. Where can you save? Where should you spend?
  • Research, research, research. Your hobby could become your side hustle or even your career as long as you’re willing to focus
  • Technology is great, but don’t be afraid to explore the retro options