Why I Still Occasionally Shoot Film

by | Jan 30, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

While much of what I shoot today is with mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, I still own several film cameras, including a Leica M6 TTL, Hasselblad XPan, Zeiss SW, Minolta Prod20 and a medium format, gold-trimmed Seagull TLR that Mary gave me as a birthday gift several years ago.

These days it seems like shooting film is as much about having fun as it is about making photographs. And isn’t that why we all got into photography in the first place? And while I really enjoy making images with mirrorless camera or DSLRs, there’s still a few things that I miss about shooting film.

  • Surprise. If you read my post A Photographer’s LIfe in Three Phases you know that Phase One in a photographer’s development occurs shortly after the new shooter purchases their first “good” camera and discovers photography’s potential for fun and creativity. During this time, novice shooters are fearless and enthusiastically explore their world creating images that look much better than they could have ever imagined. You still get that same excitement when shooting film.
  • Travel. When I’m on the road, in addition to all the normal photo stuff like cameras and lenses, I also take a laptop and an external drive to back-up all of the images that I shoot each day. Schlepping a laptop is just one more airport hassle and I’ve spent far too many nights while traveling, sorting and backing up images when I should have been out soaking up the local culture.
  • Time. Digital imaging takes lots of time. In the old days I’d drop film off at the lab and come back in a day and pick up slides, negatives or proof sheets. If they didn’t look good, I’d yell at the lab and make them do it over. Nowadays we’re the lab and it doesn’t look good then all I can do is yell at myself.

How I made this shot: Image was captured with a gold-trimmed Seagull TLR using an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/11 with Ektar 100 color negative film. Yes, it’s color but I thought, what the heck, let’s make some black and white and I used Exposure Software’s Exposure image editing plug-in to remove all that saturated color to put the emphasis on Mary and the photo in the background.

Will I go back to exclusively shooting film? No. But there’s no reason I can’t just shoot film and have my film scanned staying firmly in the digital realm as far as post-production goes. And scanning doesn’t get much easier that using ScanMyPhotos.com, who have done great work for me in the past, including some motorsports slides that I shot in the 1960’s.

The bottom line for me, is that digital imaging software lets me do a better job in less than an hour and I wouldn’t have to spend all that time working in the dark with smelly chemicals.


If you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use the cameras, lenses and lighting, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere that’s available from Amazon.com with new copies selling for $20.24 and used copies starting at $5.00, as I write this, which seems like a heckuva deal. Kindle versions are $19.23 for those preferring a digital copy.