Do Photographers Still Shoot With Film?

Short answer? Not many. But I do, particularly when a client is interested in having me create black and white portraits for them. Can I use my digital camera for that? Sure! But there is a purity, an authenticity that comes with shooting with film that I have found no substitute for. The fine grain in the film has been imitated with actions in Photoshop, but just never hit that nail quite squarely enough on the head for my taste. I’ve been at this a long time, and the nuances stand out to me.

I’ll be honest. I fought the age of the digital SLR for as long as I possibly could. My old Contax IIa had become almost an extension of my body. It went everywhere with me from the time I was a little girl. I spent hours in darkrooms learning the processes, honing my skills at manipulating the images to get the look I was trying to achieve. I learned how to be a really good photographer with that camera in my hand and I had a hard time giving that up. So when I have a client now who asks, “Do you shoot film too?”, I’m sure the resulting grin resembles a more benevolent Cheshire cat while I fight my exuberance over the mere question.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been completely sold on the benefits of shooting digital, simply because of the level of technology it provides, along with greater flexibility with lighting. Its a bit like having an assistant living in the camera body to give everything a boost. It lets us get the instant gratification we crave in the form of on the spot results, and that creates excitement. I’m sure we can all agree, excitement feels good, and isn’t feeling good a key element in the way a wedding day or portrait session unfolds? It creates confidence for clients, and I think that’s what I love most about the digital age.

So, while I have fallen in love with the artistic possibilities that the digital photography age has enabled, I’ll never abandon my love of film. It started my lifelong journey, this abiding love of the art of photography that lives inside me. That will never change. And every once in a while, I’ll have a client who asks the question, “Do you still shoot film?” And my reply will always be the same: “I’ll never stop.”

Looking for a wedding or portrait photographer who still shoots film? Get in touch! We’ll make some magic together!


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