Why Shoot Film in 2024?

Why Shoot Film in 2024?

Film might seem like a step back in the tech-driven world where digital everything reigns, but there’s a certain charm to it that keeps me reaching for my film camera.

So, why shoot film in 2024? What’s the benefit?

Well, the process of film photography is thoughtful and deliberate. With each frame, I’m mindful of the composition, lighting, and the story I want to tell.

This isn’t just about taking a picture; it’s about capturing a moment. 

The tangible nature of film adds a layer of excitement for me. Loading the film, advancing it frame by frame, and the anticipation of waiting for the developed pictures is a delightful experience.

why shoot film in 2024
By Tim Gomes

Film photography also imparts unique qualities to images, such as tone, softness, and grain, which can give photos a classic, distinctive look that I find immensely appealing.

When I consider what it is that pulls me towards film photography, I think it’s the unmistakable character of the images and the sheer pleasure of the process that stands out.

Each photograph is not just a click but a craft, enveloped with anticipation for the final reveal.

Unique Aesthetic and Texture

I’m particularly fond of the film grain that adds a layer of depth and a nostalgic feel to my images.

This texture gives the look of film its distinct quality, which is often sought after to convey the emotion that digital photography struggles to replicate.

There’s something about the film look that feels organic, and I’ve noticed it often contributes to what many consider a good photo.

Tactile Experience and Mindfulness

The process of shooting with film cameras is a tactile experience that cannot be mimicked by digital counterparts. From loading the film to manually adjusting focus and aperture, I find myself engrossed in every shot.

This hands-on approach fosters mindfulness, making me deliberate about each frame. It’s not just about taking photos; it’s about making them count.

Film Photography Community

What I love about film photography is the sense of community. There’s camaraderie in sharing techniques, favorite film types, or even troubleshooting the quirks of our cameras.

Whether online or in local meet-ups, the bonds I’ve formed over the love for film are irreplaceable.

We share a common appreciation for the tactile nature and the aesthetic appeal of taking time to create something truly special.

why shoot film over digital
Image Credit: Pexels

Film Versus Digital

When comparing film and digital, I like to focus on the tangible and aesthetic differences. Each medium has its unique characteristics that appeal to different photographers and audiences.

Image Quality and Characteristics

35mm film has long been praised for its unique aesthetic. What makes film often considered better than digital to some photographers (guilty!) is its natural dynamic range, creating images with smooth transitions between highlights and shadows.

When I shoot film, there’s just something about the grain structure and color rendition that digital photos struggle to replicate.

Film also introduces a level of unpredictability and uniqueness in each photo, which can be very appealing.

Film Costs and Investment

Investing in film vs digital means considering ongoing costs. Each roll of film has a price, and I also have to account for developing and scanning fees. 

On the flip side, once I have a digital camera, the cost to shoot additional digital images is minimal.

However, the real cost to digital is my time, as oddly as that sounds. Since each shot is disposable, you end up shooting way more than you actually need. And that’s not a guarantee you’ll get what you want.

There’s an undeniable charm in the process of shooting film, which may justify the extra investment to some, especially those who cherish the tactile experience.

why shoot film photography
By Bob Lewis

Workflow Comparison

My digital workflow is quite streamlined. I shoot digitally, and moments later, I can review my digital photos. Digital image processing is fast with software like Lightroom or Photoshop, and I can upload a photo to Instagram or social media in minutes.

On the contrary, film photography involves manual loading, winding, and often, a wait time to see the results post-development.

I like thinking about the photo I’m taking, snapping, and being done with it for the time being. It lets me live in the moment.

This slower pace can be both a meditative practice and a challenge, depending on what I’m shooting.

Getting Started with Film

Embarking on the journey to shoot film is an exciting and rewarding endeavor.

With the right camera, an understanding of film types, and a grasp of exposure principles, I find that anyone can begin creating beautiful, tangible pieces of art through film photography.  

More on getting started with the entire process here.

Choosing Your First Film Camera

The first step to starting any film shoot is to select a suitable camera, whether it be digital or film. While digital cameras forgive many errors, a film camera teaches the art of precision and thoughtfulness.

So where to start? 

For beginners, a 35mm film camera is generally recommended due to its availability and affordability. There are also instant, reusable, and disposable cameras that shoot film. 

An ideal starting point could be a simple point-and-shoot camera or, for those desiring more control, a manual SLR (Single-Lens Reflex).

I personally started with a 50mm fixed lens as it allowed me to focus on composition without being overwhelmed by lens choices.

Understanding Film Formats and Stocks

Next, it’s crucial to understand film formats and stocks. Film comes in various formats, with the most common being 35mm. However, other formats like medium format or 120 film offer a different aesthetic and image quality.

When picking a film stock, consider the ISO number, which indicates the film’s sensitivity to light; lower numbers (ISO 100-400) for bright conditions, and higher ones (ISO 800 and above) for low light scenarios. 

Each film stock also has its unique color rendition and grain texture – this choice can largely influence the mood and style of the images.

Learning Exposure Basics

The “Exposure Triangle” – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO – determines how light is captured.

Shutter speed determines how long the film is exposed to light, while the aperture controls the amount of light passing through the lens.

A slower shutter speed can create motion blur and a wider aperture results in a shallower depth of field.

Getting these settings right is a dance I’ve learned to cherish, as it dramatically affects the outcome.

Your film camera’s light meter can guide you, but I always recommend experimenting to truly understand the impact of each element.

The Future of Film Photography

As a film enthusiast, I’ve closely observed the evolving landscape of film photography where technological innovation and growing interest signal a vibrant future.

Technological Advances and New Products

It’s an exciting time for those of us who love the tactile feel of film. New film cameras are being developed, blending the charm of analog with the convenience of modern technology.

For instance, I’ve seen Kickstarter projects aimed at reviving classic designs with digital features.

These endeavors not only cater to the demand for film but also encourage me to believe in a future where film shooters can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

The Resurgence of Film Popularity

There’s a significant shift as many photographers are moving back to film, drawn by its authenticity and unique aesthetic.

I’m thrilled every time I hear someone deciding to shoot on film. It’s not just about nostalgia; photographers find joy in the process, from carefully composing each shot to the anticipation of developing the film.

In this digital world, the demand for film denotes a resurgence that proves film is still relevant, cherished, and enjoyed by a dedicated community.

Sustainability and Film

One of my personal commitments as a photographer is sustainability. I’m encouraged by the industry’s efforts to produce new film stocks with a smaller environmental footprint.

The challenge of making old film cameras work for today’s photographers is being met with innovative solutions to refurbish and maintain them, reducing waste.

As we continue to appreciate film photography, it’s imperative that the industry and film shooters like myself prioritize eco-friendly practices in creating and making film products.

In this evolving story of film photography, I’m eager to witness and contribute to its unfolding chapters, which promise a blend of tradition and innovation.

Happy Shooting!