Why I Shoot Film

Oct 31, 2021 7:46:31 PM | Photography Why I Shoot Film

Megapixels seem to be all the rage these days. Here are five reasons that I love shooting with film.

Megapixels seem to be all the rage these days. 

I own a mirrorless Canon R5, and honestly, I rarely ever use it to shoot landscapes. Of course, Digital has its moments when it's advantageous - particularly with low-light photography and portraiture, i.e., astronomy and headshots - but I don't enjoy shooting digital as much as I do shooting film. 

What makes film so different?

Here are five reasons why I prefer to shoot film. 

1. More Focus On Composition

Instead of playing the game of numbers by shooting as many photos as I can and then going back to my computer to see how many shots looked good, I have to think more about how I can take the perfect photo in somewhere between one and three exposures.

This focus on composition means that I have to consider how the shot will turn out by evaluating lighting conditions, what film stock I have loaded, what aperture I want to shoot with, how far away the subject is, and what I wish to have visible in the frame. 

2. Limited Number Of Exposures

Depending on what camera and film stock I am using, I am limited by how many shots each roll of film can take and how many rolls I have on hand. It would be a waste of my day if I only had enough film to take 40 pictures, and I had used most of that upon the first subject of the day!

Because film has the same characteristics throughout the roll, this also means that every photo I take will share the same look, and shooting a roll of film is like applying the same filters or presets to every shot from the same session. 

3. Fixed ISO

Each roll of film has a single ISO, and more attention is placed on aperture and shutter speed to achieve proper exposure. With only two of the three sides of The Exposure Triangle to adjust, the quality of my equipment and the steadiness of my hand comes into play, especially with slower films.   

4. Film Has Grain

Grain is a texture that adds a level of complexity to the way each shot looks. Films with higher ISOs tend to have more grain than films with lower. Some black and white films have grains of different shapes. Typically, the presence of grain is how you know the photographer used film.

5. Less Post Processing

The type of film chooses aspects such as color profiles and white balance - there's no requirement to "warm-up" photos in Lightroom. Once you find film stock that you like, and you get comfortable using them, you'll only be doing minimal amounts of post-processing. By the way, if you don't use Lightroom, you're in luck - Old Sad Songs is an affiliate with Adobe, and we can help you get started. Check this out! 

There's More To Come

I can go on and on about how working with film is different - and I'll save it for future posts. In the meantime, if you also prefer to shoot film, why do you like to shoot film? Let me know in the comments.

Chris Ruiz

Written By: Chris Ruiz

Hi, I'm Chris, a photographer, inbound enthusiast, and social media know-it-all. When I'm not working, I enjoy Texas-style BBQ, classic cars, and bourbon.