The Digital Photographer’s Introduction to Black and White Film Photography

Black and white film photography is more complicated than you may have thought.

Black and white film photography is back for sure. And with many folks returning to film photography, I wanted to pass on some knowledge that wasn’t given to me initially. Everyone always used to say, “Go shoot Tri-X,” and that was it. After shooting with other films, all that means to me now is that they didn’t know anything else beyond that. There are so many more films beyond that and so much more you should know.

Another myth is that black and white film is more or less the same when it comes to versatility. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. There are black and white equivalents for negative and positive films. Still confused? We’ll show you the differences. Prepare to be surprised.

In this tutorial video, we explore the differences between a lot of different films and what you should and shouldn’t know. What we’re not telling you is that when you shoot black and white film you need to develop a new type of muscle memory. This memory will let you understand how you should shoot images in black and white. Some folks call it ‘thinking’ in black and white – others refer to it as ‘seeing’ in black and white. What you may come to learn is that what you think won’t always be what you see.

First and foremost the absolute best film to get started on is Ilford XP2 Super. This film has the ability to have ISO 50 to ISO 800 images all shot on the same roll. You’ll learn even more in our video, but for further learning and reviews, you should check out our analog section. Also be sure to subscribe to our channel on Youtube.