Masterclass Tutorial: How to Shoot Better Film Photos for Instagram

It’s pretty darn clear that film photography is coming back into fashion despite what haters may say. This goes hand in hand with photographers of all types trying to find a way through all the Instagram algorithms. It’s a rough world out there, but there is surely something to be said about producing good quality content consistently along with hashtagging just right and creating an inspirational message for your devoted followers. So if you’re looking to figure out the latest and greatest way to cut through all the fluff on Instagram, just note that it has everything to do with creating quality content. For those of you who suck at content, here are some tips.

Buy a Canon Camera and Only Use L Glass (Or Go Hasselblad)

Arguably some of the best film cameras ever made for Instagram are from Canon and Hasselblad. There’s great reason why everyone seriously only goes after these and it has to do not only with the high quality of their lenses, but also the great quality of their cameras. Canon cameras are world renowned and when a camera like the AE-1 came out, the camera allowed professional photographers to finally shoot in P mode: which was and still is specifically designed for professional photographers. Sigma, Zeiss and third party glass just won’t do it because there’s a special character involved with Canon L glass that brings out certain key tones in a scene.

Similarly, you should NEVER EVER underestimate what the square format does for photography on Instagram. While many photographers post in portrait mode and orientation these days to take up real estate space, also remember you need to craft a special message just for your audience. The square format lets your followers screen have the most balance and to therefore earn you that highly coveted double tap on your post.

Shoot With Only Kodak Portra

This is an absolute given, guys. Shooting film photos with Kodak Portra is bound to get you all the Reddit Karma, Instagram likes, and earn you some serious street cred on the Film Photography Facebook groups that you all want. Kodak Portra 160, 400 and 800 are all fantastic for great reasons. The films deliver pretty muted color tones that truly look like film and something digital simply can’t do. You’re bound to get:

  • Heart emoji comments
  • Heart in the eye emoji comments
  • Prayer hand emoji comments
  • “loooooooovvvvveeeee”
  • Wow…those tones.

Here are a few more image samples shot on actual Kodak Portra. Again, note that this is the real thing; not VSCO, Mastin, RNI, etc.

Shot with Kodak Portra 120. Outdoors during daylight

Pro Tip: the latest emulsions of Kodak Portra were designed to be scanned. We recommend Portra 400 more than almost anything else out there.

Find a Great Location with Beautiful Natural Light

Before you even go about shooting, do some serious location scouting. This can be done from your home with Google Maps, but it’s sometimes great to go out there and actually explore for yourself. You’ll be able to figure out how much of a hike it’s going to be to get there; and that goes hand in hand with our next tip.

Convince a Pretty Girl That She Should Be in Front of Your Lens

FACT: Some of the biggest Instagram accounts are pretty women related to fitness or models. Of course, this is for great reason. So you, as the photographer, need to take the next step: find a pretty girl and convince her she’ll look great on camera. Do this over and over again in those chosen locations and with the camera and lens that you’ve chosen. And don’t forget to shoot only during the Golden Hour, in soft light and of course with Kodak Portra.


Keep doing this and after around 20 rolls, you’re bound to get a single photo that you’ll like enough to post to Instagram.

Post Photos and Hashtag Like Crazy

This is an obvious step. There are a number of portrait hashtags and film photography hashtags that you can get in on. Also be sure to tag the 120+ curators and publications that you think will be more likely to repost or share your photo.

Editor’s Note: In case you haven’t noticed, this is obviously satire. The fact that I even need to write this is sad in a world of fake news. Hope you enjoyed this!