Why We Switched to Analog Film – Arizona Film Photographer

To it’s credit, digital photography has put cameras in the hands of many aspiring photographers, myself included. It’s made it easy for a generation to become adept at capturing images by providing an inexpensive and consequence free way to take thousands of photos. With the ability to shoot thousands of high resolution photos an hour and then effortlessly apply dramatic filters to them in editing, why would anyone “revert” back to film?

There are thousands of people doing just this, and for a variety of reasons, but here are my big ones.

The film “look”

Organic grain, depth, and beautiful colors

If you have spent any time speaking with other photographers or happen to be in photography facebook groups you will often see terms like “filmlike” thrown around to describe a certain editing style. Companies that sell “filters” or presets, often use this term to describe their products. The true look of film is something I have always desired to emulate, and I too have participated in this dialogue. Eventually, I came to what should have been an easy realization, I CAN SHOOT ACTUAL FILM, and do it with professional results. And, if I have my second shooter shooting digital, I have an incredibly accurate reference to edit the digital files with.

The film experience

All film and hybrid film photographers will say that they shoot differently when they are shooting film and it is TRUTH. Before I switched to film, I found myself shooting dozens of frames of the same pose, same angle, and same subject. I was getting stuck shooting things that didn’t require me to shoot them 27 times because it was digital and I could rapid fire off dozens of shots a minute with no repercussions. While that ability can have its advantages, it can lead to monotony and a very impersonal experience. With film, every frame counts and it causes you to think, to move and to connect with your subject in a deeper way. Film makes me be present in every moment, and that awareness translates into my photography.

Consistency

Film provides a consistent and beautiful pallet every time. When I choose my film stock (usually Kodak Portra 400 for weddings) I know exactly what the end result will look like if I expose the film in a certain way. I know I’m getting beautiful natural skin tones and painting like backgrounds with just enough edge to catch the eye. With digital photography its easy to go wild with editing and you see the results on instagram daily. Unnatural skin tones or scenery that looks like the person is on an alien planet. It can be eye catching, hip, and creative, but at the end of the day, styles change and those images are likely to look dated in just a few years.

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