I go through various seasons when it comes to photography. There are bouts of extremely production-driven months that are fueled with creativity. It usually happens in the spring and summer after a long winter. I usually hit a run out of steam and hit a creative rut when fall rolls around. Running out of steam and taking a few months off to recharge isn’t always an option as a photographer. The hustle is real. So what should you do when you get stuck in a rut? I suggest slowing down and shooting film.
Do you ever feel like your client shoots hit a manic phase? Everything starts happening fast, and chaos ensues if you are not on top of your game. I can only maintain this level for so long before extreme brain fog kicks in, and my body puts me in a forced time out. Burnout is subsequent if precautions aren’t heeded.
Take the time to slow down and recharge. Pick up a film camera and your favorite film. It is a great time to photograph for yourself and shoot what you want. When was the last time that happened? Film is a great time opportunity to feed your soul and get back to yourself.
A huge thanks to Blue Moon Camera, who develops our film for us.
Table of Contents
Film Makes You Slow Down
Ordering your favorite film is the perfect remedy when you need to slow down, breathe in the fresh air, and smell the roses. There is no need to overshoot. Each precious frame is an indulgence and should be cherished. Kodak Gold 200 is a great all-around option. If you are shooting black and white and have access to a darkroom, I highly recommend it. Nothing is more relaxing and therapeutic than watching one of your images come to life in the developer. Kono Monolit 3 is a fantastic option for landscape photographers.
Photograph Something Different
Shooting film is the perfect time to turn inward and shoot to your heart’s content. Are you primarily a wedding photographer? Fantastic! Shoot nature and landscapes for a day. You have the opportunity to try something different and shoot whatever you want. Take a day trip and go to your favorite getaway. Grab a model and shoot some fashion-forward portraits. Or better yet, play tourist in your own backyard. After primarily photographing portraits, this is my favorite thing to do! It will open your eyes to new possibilities that you probably overlooked or hadn’t previously considered.
Experimenting with different film stocks, both color and black and white, will help define or refine your style. If you appreciate deep blacks and sharp contrast, you will take your time finding the perfectly lit scene. Shooting with different color films in various lighting will introduce you to the realm of color theory. You can have a lot of fun using color film effects to portray the overall mood during a portrait session. Film can also help you develop or evolve your style.
Lessons From Film
Unless money is of no consequence, the film cost adds up fast, so it is imperative to get it right. One of the best things about shooting analog is that it allows you to work on timing and composition. There is still such a thing as the precise moment with perfect framing. It also demonstrates how important it is to get it right in camera. That’s such a time-saving skill to carry over into digital.
One of my favorite things to do is take a model into the studio and shoot with my lighting gear. It’s a great way to test putting all of the moving elements together. I have to be able to focus quickly and ensure that hair, styling, lighting, and posing are on point. Mastering a test shoot with film helps me to shave time off of my digital sessions. Time is money.
One of the essential takeaways from films is patience. The entire process isn’t a fast-moving one, and it’s something to relish. It’s also a great reminder to be kind to yourself if a mistake happens. Film is much less forgiving than digital, and even when you do everything right, something can still go catastrophically wrong. It’s a good reminder to breathe and appreciate the process. It’s a never-ending journey.