Why shoot film nowadays?

I was reading this article from Alex Moss that outlined “Top Photography Tips From Steve Bloom”. Steve is a world renowned photographer of wildlife and well, life. He has been a huge inspiration to me recently, a key driver in the way I like to incorporate people into my work. You can check out Steve Bloom’s work here.

Anyway, the TLDR on the article is this:

  1. Shoot from the heart.
  2. Don’t chimp.
  3. Shoot less photos.
  4. Use less equipment.
  5. Compose carefully.
  6. Respect your subject.
  7. Do your research.

A pretty damn good list on how to become a better photographer. Pretty much all you need to tell someone who asks you how to take better photos. When reading this, all I could think was how much shooting film forces you into doing these things. Let me explain:

1. Shoot from the heart,
Shooting film slows you down. This draws you into the experience of the “scene” you’re in. As a result you think more about the environment you are in. Not the settings on your camera. You will find your shots will unintentionally become more thoughtful.

2. Don’t chimp,
You can’t! There is no LCD screen to review. This, also relates back to my point above.

3. Shoot less photos,
You have to! Each shot costs money, so it’s natural to shoot less. Plus, unless you buy a motor drive you’re not gonna be on burst mode. Single shot mode it is!

4. Use less equipment,
Equipment is generally more limited when shooting film. Unless you get very serious, you are most likely going to own one camera and one or a couple of lens’.

5. Compose carefully,
You can’t shoot hundreds of “free” shots so, you become more careful. While you miss out on those seldom happy accidents, you do take more time to compose. Which in turn makes the shot more thoughtful (point 1).

6. Respect your subject,
There is no reviewing your photos. I find reviewing photos separates the photographer and the subject. When shooting film you will find that you spend much more time looking at the subject through your eyes. People react better to people and in doing so will open up more to having their photo taken.

7. Do your research
Cost per shot makes you more careful. When you are more careful you are more inclined to do your research. Research is the key. The more you know, or are aware of, the better off your are. You will need to research film types, exposure settings, developing methods and almost everything.

So get on eBay and pick yourself up a film camera today. I wrote an article recommending beginner film cameras and what to look for when buying used. You can find it here. I love shooting film and do exclusively for all of my personal projects. If you are interested in learning how to develop your own film at home you can find my article and educational film here.

So now I would like to turn the table on you. Do you shoot film? How has your photography changed since you started shooting film? I would love to start a discussion in the comments below.