ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY: The Ultimate Guide
“Film Photography values the moment” Photo Courtesy- Dicky Jiang
Analog photography aka Film Photography has been used for centuries. Today we live in the 20th century. It’s obvious that you might not know much about it but let me tell you it’s still there for a reason. Because once the technology increases day by day we will forget this and maybe tomorrow it’s gone forever! If you just type #filmisnotdead on Instagram you will find millions of photos because they still have loyal buyers adding into its life year by year. It’s not simple to try analog photography as the cost of the film is expensive even if you find the camera cheap. It also requires a lot of patience as you don’t get the image in hand in a day like digital cameras.
The post-production flow is more than a click and uploading on your PC or Laptop. Stick to me to know which cameras are good for Film Photography, Types of film Photography, Influencers to follow for film Photography, Tips and tricks, and a lot more!
“Lost in the Crowd” Photo Courtesy- Willem Verbeeck
About Film Photography
Film Photography was started in the mid 19th century, it is traditional photography that still exists in this digital world. But is about to extinct soon as time changes. It’s good that we are moving forward but few traditional things should be part of tomorrow so here I am talking about Film/ Analog Photography!
Film photography is a nonelectrical gadget that captures the silver particles, which remain printed on the film roll when processed for post-production flow.
Unlike your digital camera, wherein you just add the picture on PC/Laptop/Cell phone and post it within a day! A Film camera has two types of film roll. One is a color film and the other is a black and white film. It captures the whole particles and then the film is sent to the trusted labs which take about a week to scan the images. As I said above it requires patience!
Clean Your Camera
“Old is Gold” Photo Courtesy- Janhavi Sawant
This is my dad’s camera, COSINA CT1 SUPER, it is a very old camera built-in 1989. I am planning to make it useful by cleaning the inside body, I am sure you want to do it too. So join me! You need ear picks, a set of small screwdrivers, and a sanitizer with more than 80% alcohol content. People have made many videos on how to fix old film cameras on youtube. I have attached Willem Verbeeck’s video about how to fix it as I also used it for my dad’s old camera for reference. I hope you watch this video. It is very useful and essential to treasure such things. The digital world has improvised and I hope you don’t forget the old and traditional stuff. The camera’s value rises when they are hard to find. I think it will be an asset if you try a film camera. As it teaches you the science of photography. If you are planning a career in this.
Elements of Film Camera
Since most of you buy a 35 mm camera these are basic things which are important to acknowledge a film camera. It’s difficult to learn film camera features but if you know a digital camera you will learn this too. The most important thing is to manage shutter speed and aperture together in a film camera. You should watch videos on youtube to understand better visual images. Also, I have mentioned a few influencers at the end of the article you can follow them, for greater perspective and knowledge about film cameras. I personally would suggest you watch the first one on the list.
The Inside Story of Film Photography
LOAD YOUR FILM CORRECTLY
I have seen a lot of people complaining that sometimes they go on a trip and click photos with a film photography camera but when they return home they find that their film wasn’t loaded the way it should be because of which the pictures were never shot.
First, you have to load the film, then you have to push the rewind knob down till it sits back into its position. Then, you have to plug in the lead of the film in the takeup spool. How will you know if it’s adjusted well? You have to click and see if the rewind knob is shifting its position. Usually, the rewind knob does not move when the film is not loaded correctly.
For visual understanding, you can watch this video of Pushing Films.
SHUTTER SPEED AND APERTURE
Your hand balance is not that perfect so the moments cause the photo to appear blurry and uncertain. If you have a tripod, it will help the photo to be more accurate and it won’t blur the background.
The Shutter speed is located on the top of the camera. The speed 30,60,125, 250 represents the 1/30, 1/60, 1/125,1/250 of a second. About the shutter speed, if it is 500 then, the Diaphragm will close quickly and allow less light to enter the film and if the shutter speed is 30 then the Diaphragm will close slowly and allow more light to enter the film. While the aperture will be 3.5, 5.6, and all the way to 22. The less the number of apertures the more exposure to brightness.
So how can you adjust the two? If you set the aperture at 3.5 and shutter speed at 500. You will get the perfect exposure and have a perfect picture. Once you are familiar with this, your photos will appear good and advance with time. But, these are just a few tips that differ from camera to camera, so you have to try for yourself with perfect numbers.
It helps you to adjust the aperture and shutter speed. As the photos are clicked both on daylight and night time, we need to know how we want the picture first. If you walk into the daylight, the photos will vary with highlights and shadows. If your object is a person you and you want to take an angle from the shadow part of the face, you need to check with the light meter. It will help you adjust the image into different forms. Light meters are built and we also get the spare.
For the inbuilt one you can move close to the object it will help you check how much sunlight is falling on the object. Then, you can move back to your original place. If you don’t have it built as those cameras are expensive you can always buy it differently and use it while you are taking photographs. You can also download an application on your cellphones to check the light exposure.
You have to click a picture with your camera then you have to give the same photo in 3-4 labs and check the quality of the image. Why do you have to do this? Because every lab differs with the technology of the scanner. If the scanner has perfect tools that are updated it will help to gain more expectations.
You have to practice to have good end results for shooting film photography. Make a goal of capturing 10 pictures without any errors from your digital cameras or cell phones. Keep practicing and gaining confidence to click at one shot! Once you gain it use your film camera. You should never start with one film camera unless you are sure about clicking better pictures
LIGHTS AND LIGHT METER
Travel-friendly lights can help you to save space and luggage weight at every destination. There are many Flashlights to travel easily in different locations. The cheap one will be Osaka Camera Flash Speedlight for 2600 rupees. The price range of speed lights differs depending on the quality. The light meter is used by many film photographers. It gives a good sense of guessing the aperture and shutter speed for the particular shoot. If you are a beginner a light meter will help you enhance your capabilities in film photography.
You can get inspired by different magazines, a photobook of famous people, following famous photographers on social media, etc. The best thing to learn from your experience, everyone has a story to tell, what if you can capture one? Expand your imagination, remember what you see and feel. Books, paintings, and Movies also help you to improvise your imagination skills. This is a film photography book named The Art of Photography and this is the link of Goodreads for other photography books.
Keep notes of the photographs, as film photography is not that simple with setting shutter speed and aperture. Keeping notes will help your photos as you will post it on social media. Then the photos camera model and roll should be mentioned. If you add the aperture and shutter speed it will help you gain loyal followers who are willing to learn.
Your Film should be stored in a cold storage area to help the chemicals stay fresh and when you use it, it will look like you just brought the film. Sometimes because of good storage, it helps you to use it more days after the expected expiry dates.
Film Rolls Buylist
BLACK AND WHITE FILMS NEGATIVE
Black and white film negatives were used at the beginning of Film photography cameras. Here, I am going to suggest a few film roll brands to use for film photography.
1. KODAK PROFESSIONAL TMAX 400
“Seeking view from closed windows into nothingness” Source- La Noir
It consists of very fine grain with high sharpness and edge details. You can buy it on amazon for approx 3000 rupees for a pack of 5 with 120 rolls. As you can see in the picture, the black and white grains signifies the quality of the roll. Also, you can check out youtube for more reference regarding the feedback of the roll
2. ILFORD HP5 PLUS 400
“Walking old and flowing with time” Source- My Favourite lens
This particular negative film has a very old school look at the quality of the pictures. It has ⅘ ratings on amazon for black and white photos. It is available for Rs 899 on Amazon. The sharpness of the bridge, the lights highlighted on the person, the empty streets, and the street lights gave the picture a fine look. This film is good for street photography, I hope you find some inspiration with this.
3. ILFORD FB5 PLUS 400
“Missing the fun meet and greets before quarantine” Source- Emulsive
This particular negative film is good for capturing in shade or when the sun goes down. I find many people asking on social media or photography pages that “which film rolls are suitable for midnight?”
So here I am giving you a solution to your question. Also, this film captures good sunlight falling on your face or the object’s body. The photo indeed reminds of the days before quarantine, the warmness of people’s conversation cooling down with ice teas. Maybe tomorrow after quarantine we will have our social life and stop complaining about what we don’t have.
This film roll also captures good portrait images of people. This particular film roll is rarely found, maybe due to pandemic conditions it’s not available we have to wait till everything gets normal.
COLOR NEGATIVE FILM
Colour negative films were introduced by the Polaroid brand in 1963. After gaining popularity every brand started introducing its color negative roll. The color negative rolls use Primary colors like Red, Green, and Blue. The above chart explains the elements of a color negative film.
1. KODAK PORTRA 400
This negative film is available on amazon for 11,000 rupees approx with a pack of 5 roll packs of 120 rolls. This roll is for photographers who capture people as this frame represents good skin tone quality in the image. The frames are known for highlighting the natural skin.
“When you capture a cute guy in metro” Source- 30Mileswest
You should try it as many experienced photographers use this film roll. This frame has 5/5 ratings on amazon given by 342 people. In the above picture, you can see how soft and natural the skin of the guy looks. If you still have doubts you can click pictures to check the different shades of skin tone.
2. Fuji Natura 1600
“Ferris wheel of wishes and dreams” Photo Courtesy- GAKURU
This film is way more expensive than any other film it costs $100 approx for one pack with 36 exposures. This Film roll wasn’t much famous and was sold at a cheaper price. but due to higher demand, the prices were increased. You have to try this film once you get better with film photography. I will not recommend this for beginners.
Once you get halfway through in film photography with experience, you can use this film. You can add it to your personal catalog which is designed for your clients. This film has a 4.5/ 5 rating on Amazon with 70 reviews. You should try this film once in a lifetime. The reviews also claim the grains to be muggy and soft. The intense pictures or mute emotions are well captured in this film.
3. Kodak PORTRA 160
This film is available on Ubuy for 8000/-, Pack of 10 rolls with 120 films. The film has a perfect edge of sharpness and softness. As you can see in the picture the specks are very sharp but the person’s skin looks very soft which gives the picture a perfect look.
BUY LIST OF FILM CAMERAS
NIKON EM FILM CAMERA
Nikon Em Film Camera is a very friendly camera, good for beginners who don’t want any complications with the camera options. The thing about this camera is that you have to set the aperture and it will function its own shutter speed. It is like a Nikon FG camera.
“Save environment pollution, use cycles” Source- Lomography
This camera has received good reviews and the cost is 60$ which is very cheap and reliable. People who face difficulty with setting the auto mode are also present. I won’t recommend this for people who are exploring film photography and would like to learn for real as the shutter speed is decided by the camera. You won’t learn much as compared to other cameras.
MINOLTA SRT 201
Minolta SRT 201 comes with a working battery of “Duracell 625A”. The camera has received reviews of being better than expected and it has 5/5 ratings on amazon. When you peep into the viewfinder, you will see the speed at the bottom of the display and the aperture needle at the right of the display. It has a digital lens and is available for 40$ on online websites.
“Veterans highlighted my summer” Photo Courtesy- Nick Chismar
I have cropped the part of the picture, which is not needed. The picture displays the shadow of the plane in a sharp manner as you can see it near the veteran’s leg. It is cheap with good quality and will be available with free delivery on amazon. Hope you try it! It is for beginners, advanced and experienced people.
Mamiya 6 was released in 1989, another old camera which is very hard to find. It might be available on eBay or any other second-hand products website. An article about “On the road with Mamiya 6” was published by “Cory Miller”.
The review also has photographs captured by the camera featuring desert, animals, lake points, and more! It definitely gives you a view of every type of photography. People have also commented on Cory’s blog, who are photographers and use Mamiya 6. They have mentioned that they have traveled to places like China, Alaska, France, etc.
This camera has a (6 by 6) square view. This camera’s dimension is different as it captures square images. but works for the Instagram post as you don’t have to cut the images which are scanned. A camera with a lens will cost about 75-500 dollars. It’s a good handy camera, maybe to open your photography portfolio. This camera was introduced in 1989. If you want to buy a Mamiya camera this can be a good camera for a second purchase.
The Mamiya RZ67 covers the dimensions of 6×7, 6×6, and 6×4.5, its professional camera built-in 1993. The shutter is electronic and has a plastic outer body which makes its weight a little lighter. It is known as the best medium format camera on Youtube.
“That one looks talks more than words” Photo Courtesy- Han Rosemond
Mamiya RZ67 is not everyone’s cup of tea, A very heavy camera with a heavy price! But good for black and white photography. It is popular in the Mamiya camera range and many people buy it. Even the professionals use this camera. This camera isn’t travel-friendly. I will recommend this for people who have vehicles to travel for shoots.
The last recommendation, of course, will be one of the Canon range! Canon is always known for being a friendly camera with fewer complex features. This particular camera also has a book published by the “Book on-demand” company on Flipkart. It costs around 120-140 dollars with the lens.
“Half of my heart is in Havana” Photo Courtesy- Stephan Atohi
You will require a battery for this particular camera. Good for beginners, mediocre, and advanced photographers. It was built in Japan between 1978-1985. Nikon FA and Minolta X-700 are the competitors of this camera.
I hope this camera suggestion was helpful if you buy one of these do tag @Chiizmagazine or #Chiizmagazine. There are a number of film cameras with different qualities with battery or without battery, electronic shutter, auto shutter speed, etc. but these are few cameras with good quality at a fair price. I hope you do film photography because it’s traditional and to do this as a professional career you need to know the real roots which lead us to digital cameras.
INFLUENCERS OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY
1. WILLEM VERBEECK
“Snow comes with a glow of Christmas” Photo Courtesy- Willem Verbeeck
Willem is known as a famous film photographer Youtuber. He has made more than 10 videos on film photography. He has more than 5 film photography cameras. You can check his videos, he has great tips on how to use expired film. How to scan images at home and more!
2. DYLAN FURST
“Lost in the mist” Photo Courtesy- Dylan Furst
He has a quality of photos he captures. What do you need to learn from his photography? That the photographer, Dylan, only captures pictures of a particular kind. He has a thing for forest photography. His profile clearly mentions “Live in Forest” and his profile is filled with Blues and Greens.
3. DAKOTA GORDAN
“Every person has a dark story” Photo Courtesy- Dakota Gordan
Dakota captures the dark side of a person and I feel she has done a very good job with choosing this type. Very few people in photography consider dark themes for their photography. Emotions can be sunny or dark. Maybe sometimes we need to see the dark pictures, brutal truths, and lies to know that there are two worlds.
I hope you read my blog. I have mentioned tips and tricks of film photography, cameras to buy, black and white rolls, color rolls, and influencers to follow for film photography. This blog is an introduction to analog photography, it will help you to acknowledge the science of photography before it went digital.
Of course, moving forward with digital is good but you should never forget the root of photography. If you want to be a photographer and see it as your career, you should learn film photography because people around you already know it. If someone asks you how the shutter speed and aperture were introduced you should know the answer to it.
Google will help you only with theoretical knowledge but practical knowledge helps you learn it in a better way! There will be a day when film photography will end and you will find rarely any shops who sell the cameras. There is also a hashtag on Instagram which says #filmisnotdead, a moment by film photographers who keep analog photography alive.
If you are new to photography, master it by attending various live online workshops regularly by us on our Events Website. Also, head to our Blog for more such tips and tricks about photography. You can subscribe to our digital magazine through Magzter or Issuu to delve into more organized and well-furnished photography content. And if you think you have learned a lot and you want to give it a check, then, proceed to our Contests content, participate there and win astounding prizes.
Till then keep reading, keep clicking, and keep growing!
About the Author
Janhavi Sawant is 21 years old and has completed her bachelor’s in BMS marketing. Currently, she is a Chiiz content writer intern. She is known for her imagination and creative writing skills and wants to be a Graphics designer someday, for that to happen she is currently working on her content creation and learning different software. She has few hobbies like playing guitar, painting and trying new recipes which plays a major part in her strengths of being patient, creative, and organized.