Film photography has steadily become more expensive over the years. And in the past few years, the prices have pretty much exploded. With more photographers shooting film, the demand has surely grown with only a few brands making film. But is there a cheaper route? Well, there surely is. However, it comes with a few caveats.
A good buddy of mine caught the film itch really badly. I remember a while back I was walking along Diversity Plaza when he sent me a message of him holding a Leica M4. “I get it,” he told me. And we continued to discuss how wonderful both film photography and shooting with Leicas is. Granted, he shoots for a living, and cameras are also still a passion of his.
His name is Corey Boland, and he’s been on the site a few times. Very recently took to buying Kodak cinema film stock up. If you look around the photo space though, you’ll see that lots of folks are doing that and then re-selling it for themselves. But Corey chose not to. It wasn’t until we were developing my film that we saw why.
Corey sent me some Daylight and Tungsten film both to shoot to my heart’s content. While doing that, I saw some of the beautiful photos that he posted on Facebook and Instagram. They’ve got this appeal that digital just can’t give you. It’s like the difference between pistachios and cashews. They’re both nuts, but they’ve got different textures, looks, etc. They both go wonderful in ice cream, but they’ve got different fans.
Corey’s film was awesome; and mine, well, not as much. We found that mine had some faults to it. When Corey showed me what went wrong during the development, I showed the issue to another friend of mine. None of us had seen what happened before, but apparently, some of the emulsion was just totally stripped off. Weird; but I’ll admit that it made for some really unique and aesthetically pleasing images.
This is a long way of saying that sometimes, photographers opt for buying the film in bulk and rolling it themselves. But this can open you up to a bunch of problems potentially. Granted, this can happen to you with film that’s been purchased to. I mean, if you’ve got bought and shot with CineStill, you’ll find lots of problems that occur. Luckily, the Wright Brothers care about their product, and they’ll send you free film; at least they’ve done so with me.
The site’s Copy Editor Mark Beckenbach, has spoken to me about buying up film in big rolls before portioning it out himself. Indeed, lots of photographers are considering it to save money while still shooting something that they’re passionate about. It surely does have its pros and cons; and I think that photographers naturally need to consider these all very carefully.
I mean, is buying up a huge roll really worth doing if you can just buy a ton of smaller roll and put them in your freezer? And would you really shoot all that film anyway? I know I personally will, and at the moment I’ve gone through most of the film in my freezer. But lots of photographers also shoot film, and then buy a ton of it to just hoard it.
What I learned in the pandemic is this: Why sit there on the film in the fridge and not shoot with it? I really started thinking about this with FP-100C as I recently started clearing it out of my fridge to shoot with.
So if the film is just sitting there in your freezer or fridge, what’s the point? Why not just buy a smaller amount and shoot with it?