Like everyone else at the time, I took a film photography class in high school for fun. Then, digital cameras revolutionized photography at an accelerated pace and film was pushed to the side. However, transitioning back to film has been a natural process for me. I have never stopped to think about the reasons to why I shoot film until now because I get asked this question a lot. So after thinking about it here are my own 5 reasons why I still shoot film in the digital age.
- I like film cameras because of the construction. Most older film cameras are made with full metal frame, heavy, and sturdy. They’re made to last with very few electronics to break.
- I like the process of shooting film. The initial investment in film photography is relatively cheap. Film is costly because it costs to develop in addition to the recurring film cost itself. This forces you to slow down a bit and pay attention to things more. You become a lot more aware of the little details.
- It’s great right out of the box. Once you have the process down and you are consistent, your photos will be great right out of the box with very minimal editing. This helps a lot with post processing because you don’t have to spend a lot of time after each shoot.
- The aesthetic. Mainly, I just prefer the colors on film over digital, specifically the skin tone. It is more true to life and authentic. Even though it’s harder to duplicate the colors of film, I try to transfer all of that to my digital work. The result is that my work is consistent and my clients receive something that is unique and timeless.
- It’s imperfect. Film won’t be as sharp as digital, and if you’re shooting medium format film cameras, the focus system is also not as good. However, film is beautiful because it is imperfect. It’s more true to life with all the flaws, more organic, the most honest form of photography left. It’s timeless in my humble opinion.
Again, all photographers have their own reasons why they shoot a certain method. These are just my own personal reasons for shooting film.
James Tang is a hybrid (analog and digital) portrait and wedding photographer based in Southern California. He’s also a co-founder of OutdoorBrides.com.