Film Photography, the struggle is real!

I have a love hate relationship with film.  I absolutely love everything about it, but I hate that it costs like $40 a roll (professional grade) to purchase, ship (two ways) and have scanned.  Yeah, that's a little over a dollar per image for a 35mm roll, ouch!  And when you're just learning, those can be some very costly mistakes.  So for anyone that cares, I'm guessing mostly other photogs who are picking up their first film cameras, I thought I'd write up a little something from time to time that maybe you could learn from, or find useful from my experiences when I shoot film.  Disclaimer, I am in no way an expert on film, just learning by doing.  So, what did I learn from this roll?  Well, first let me break it down for those who are interested.  These images were shot on a Canon EOS 3 (more on that in a minute) with a roll of 35mm Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 and overexposed 1 stop.  I do not use the meter in my film camera.  I have a hand held meter because I don't trust the in camera meter to be correct, especially when my subject is back lit.  A side note about the roll of film, it was not cold stored, yeah, oops!  Ideally I should have had the film in the refrigerator from the get go. So, the main lesson with this roll of film that stands out to me is that I shouldn't have back lit as much as I did.  It resulted in a number of underexposed images.  In hind site, I should have either stayed out of that light that allowed sun flare in the camera, or had my lab push the film when they processed it.  Sun flare when shooting digital and film are apparently two different beasts.  Secondly, my camera the EOS 3, in my opinion, sucks.  It has this eye control feature that once calibrated to your eye, you can look at the focus screen and the camera should automatically pick up exactly what you're looking at and focus on that point.  Well, it does do that, but it's SLOWWWW, and usually takes a few tries before hitting the focal point you want.  In theory it sounds great, in real life, it's not ideal and there's no way I could use it when shooting active kids.  35mm film is not going to be as sharp as digital, but the eye control feature misses focus waaaay too many times and results in soft images.   And by the way, after this roll was shot, my EOS 3 crapped out on me anyway, so there.   So to highlight,  what did I learn?  I will remember that back lighting (especially with sun flare) can trick your camera into thinking there's more light coming in than there actually is resulting in underexpose images.  However, I actually love some of the underexposed images I got off this roll, especially the one below.  See that mysterious heart reflecting on her shirt?  I totally dig that, like love it!  So, it wasn't a complete loss, and everyone is going to have different tastes when it comes to exposure. I'm just highlighting the basics of what I learn with each roll.  Underexposure and 35mm are not good together, the grain can get waaaay out of hand.  I personally think it's usually better in most situations to overexpose.  One other thing, somewhat unrelated, did you know that when it comes to shooting 35mm film, it kinda doesn't even matter if you're shooting with a $300 camera or a $3000 camera?  It's all about the lens!  Good to know right?  So for all you photogs out there who have invested in L Series lenses for your Canon digital camera, you can still use them on a Canon SLR film camera.  That's money in your pocket!

Next week I'll be going over what I learned from shooting a roll of black and white film AND staying away from back lit images.

About my subject, it's my Madi.  She'll be a junior this year, never too early to get a started on Senior Photos!  That little kitty she's holding was dumped off in a Hy-Vee parking lot because people are awesome like that.  I'm a complete sucker when it comes to animals and will take in all the strays.  Sorry about your college funds kids!