Try shooting the streets with film!

Despite the explosive advances in digital technology, film is still with us and it has made a big comeback in recent years. Suddenly, people are interested in film once again and labs are dusting down their enlargers, community darkrooms are popping up and film sales are booming.

If you’re still in possession of a film camera, you’re in luck. If you’re not, they are in plentiful supply and you can find them for sale in car boot sales, in charity shops and on auction sites such as eBay. Whether it’s roll film or 35mm, colour or black & white it doesn’t matter. Just buy some of the stuff, load it up and shoot some street photography – you’ll be in for a real treat.

Here are 12 good reasons to shoot film:

  1. Celebrate ‘slow art’! Shooting with film will really slow you down and think more about what you’re shooting; you will pay more attention to the composition and also to exposure and focusing.
  2. Rather like learning theory in music, it will help you better understand the technical aspects of your camera.
  3. If you shoot only using film, your images will take on a consistent look (film shooters tend to find one type of film they like and then stick with it). It will help you develop your own personal style.
  4. If you really get into film and do your own developing and printing, your hobby takes on a whole new meaning and you learn a completely new skillset.
  5. You won’t be chimping (reviewing shots on the LCD screen) all the time and will be able to concentrate on the ‘here and now’.
  6. You will be more thoughtful when shooting – more conscious of your surroundings and more ‘in the zone’. You’ll also be more discerning about what to shoot and will become more self-critical.
  7. You won’t obsess about gear as much as the simplicity of film shooting will act as a ‘digital detox’.
  8. You will develop as a digital photographer as film shooting will make you think more critically about how you capture and process every single image.
  9. If you don’t fancy having a darkroom, most labs will develop a film and send you an envelope with the negatives and also a CD with all the JPEGs – this takes you right back into the digital process.
  10. Prints made from film have a ‘look’ that digital can’t seem to replicate.
  11. It’s exciting: there is no instant gratification and the anticipation of waiting to see your a feeling like no other for the photographer.
  12. Everyone will love you! Walk down the street with a huge DSLR round your neck and you’ll be public enemy number one. But when people see a film camera they’ll smile and start to reminisce. Old cameras make people happy.

Do give it a try. Get yourself an old camera and commit to using it exclusively for a month. Be highly disciplined and don’t be tempted to reach for anything digital until the month is over. You will almost certainly relish the experience, producing stylish images and growing as a photographer.

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