"Why don't you just shoot digital?", "Can you even get film anymore?", "What's film?". Let's just say I've gotten pretty much every question you can about why I shoot film. And the main reason is that I love it and can't stop shooting it if I tried, don't even try to tell me that digital's better, DON'T TOUCH MY FILM!!! ..... Um, yeah. Totally a film addict.
So let's get on to the more rational reasons that film is my obsession and I must photograph ALL the peoples with it!
1. Latitude, baby, latitude.
So to start out on the technical side, "Exposure latitude is the extent to which a light-sensitive material can be overexposed or underexposed and still achieve an acceptable result." That basically means the amount of information a photo shows in the shadows and in the bright spots. Because of this rad sciency stuff called emulsion layers, film is able to keep so much more detail in bright light and also include shadow detail. And in Florida's blazing, tropical sun, that is a big win! Because of it's latitude, it also makes images (skin, flowers, rad street murals, whatever) look softer because it can transition more smoothly between the bright light and shadows. I can't take a shot like this when I use digital:
2. It's REAL!
Digital totally has it's uses and is awesome in low light situations but until you have a printed copy in your hands, it's only 1s and 0s. It captures light via a computer sensor chip inside the computer and translates it into digital data for your memory card. That's cool and all but I just love that film literally absorbs light into it's layers and immediately creates a picture. It has to be developed in special chemicals before it's permanent but it's there. A real tangible, light-written picture. The word photography literally means to write with light and I can't get over the magic of it all when I stare at my negatives.
3. Simplicity is my jam
I choose my film, shutter speed and aperture and that's it. No fussing around with white balance, LCD screens or file sizes. Once my camera is set, I'm free to focus on the person I'm photographing; to live fully in the moment instead of being interrupted by constantly checking a screen. A lot of the look of a picture is determined by the film you use and by how you take the picture. There's not a lot of wiggle room on the computer afterwards. I choose the look before I take the picture not afterwards and I know what it will look like before I ever get the scans back from my lab. It helps me to focus and slow down so that I don't miss what's important.
Q: Does film mean that I can't have pictures on my computer?
Nope. All of my film is professionally developed and scanned into high resolution files by this amazing lab!
Q: Can you photoshop things on film photos?
While I can't mess around with exposure and colors as much as digital, I can absolutely zap away things like that stress zit that popped up the night before our shoot.
Q: Do you miss moments because of having to change film rolls?
As funny as it sounds, I find that I actually catch more real life when I use film than on digital. * Partially because I really have to think about the photos I'm looking for. No spray and pray machine-gun style shutter clicking. When I'm working at a faster paced event like a wedding, I preload extra film and have a digital on hand just in case. Plus I always have an assistant photographer with me so we're doubly covered.
Q: Why are you so obsessed with film, you crazy lady?
Because it's just SOOO PREEEEEETTTTTTYYYYY!!!!!!!! *Insert ugly crying here*
Q: You convinced me. How do I learn more about film?
I'm so glad you asked because I can be more long winded about this than you ever thought possible BUT... I will send you to the master instead. FIND in a box. You're welcome. ;) I do occasionally take on mentor sessions where we go out and shoot film together and I answer all your burning filmy questions, so go ahead and contact me if that's more your speed.
*See again that my brain works muuuuch better on film than digital. I'm not into starting a digital vs film war. I just found my jam and that's that.