1. JUST SHOOT
This assignment is for all you film newbies out there. Shooting your first roll of film can be super intimidating, but you got this! I want you just to go out and shoot! I recommend shooting with either Kodak Color Plus 200 or Portra 400 outdoors in good light! If you have a light meter, definitely use it! If not (and I didn’t when I shot my first roll of film so I just clicked and prayed)…set your exposure compensation to +2 and snap away! I would definitely recommend shooting outdoors vs. indoors for your very first roll.
2. PUSHING FILM
Pushing film keeps your film negatives in the developer longer and will brighten your highlights, deepen shadows and add contrast. If you underexpose your film (i.e. shoot Portra 400 at an ISO of 800), then you can push your film one stop (+1) when developing. You can also push your film without underexposing for added contrast and an extra pop. For this assignment, I want you to try out pushing film! You can intentionally underexpose one stop (or two) with the plan to push, or just push one roll for added contrast and saturation.
3. SHOOTING FILM INDOORS
We all know film loves light, so shooting film indoors might seem tricky. The key is always to find a good light source (window, door) and to meter for the deepest shadow. I frequently front light my subjects indoors for more even portraits. For moodier portraits, try side lighting with your light source. You can also ask your lab to scan for midtones or highlights depending on your scene and the look you are going for! For assignment 3, try shooting a roll of film indoors! Look for the light and snap away!
4. SCAN FOR HIGHLIGHTS + SHADOWS
Film doesn’t always have to be light and airy. You can add mood and depth to your images by changing the way you have your lab scan your film. Scanning for highlights will deepen shadows and make your highlights the main focus of your image. For this assignment, shoot a roll of film and have your lab scan your film for both shadows and highlights to compare the difference. Be mindful of the highlights in your images and where the light is falling (vs. shooting a subject in a well-lit, bright room).
5. SHOOT A ROLL OF BLACK + WHITE
Black and white film is timeless! Grab a roll of black and white and get clicking! If you have a light meter with a spot meter function, then spot meter for your subject’s shadows. If not, just meter like you would for color film!
6. FILM IN FULL SUN
This is where film totally shines for me! No more keeping your camera hidden away until golden hour. Pack that camera whenever you’re heading out mid-day and don’t be afraid to shoot. Meter for shadows and the highlights will fall into place. If you’re heading to the beach or pool, then grab a roll of Ektar 100, rate your film at ISO 100, meter at 90 degrees back towards the camera and shoot away!
7. BACKLIGHTING WITH FILM
Backlighting is tricky. Sometimes I win some and sometimes I lose some when I try to shoot backlit. The key to backlighting is to meter for shadows and then overexpose your film by at least 1-2 stops.You can do this by rating your film lower than box speed, reducing your aperture/shutter speed after metering. Remember to try to keep the sun from hitting your camera’s lens. This will add a lot of haze to your image and will likely make it difficult for you to grab focus of your subject.
8. TOY CAMERA FUN
There are so many toy film cameras and I love them all! They are mindless and easy and are just plain fun. If you have a toy camera lying around, run a roll of film through it just for fun!
9. ADDING LIGHT LEAKS
Add a pop of color to your film scans with light leaks! Be sure to check out the light leak video to see how I leak light into my cameras! A little goes a long way!
10. DOUBLE EXPOSURES
Grab a roll of film and shoot away. Then reload the roll back into your camera and double expose the entire roll! Remember to keep your camera orientation in mind as you shoot (i.e. shoot them all horizontal or vertical) and to keep in mind that a minimal background will help your second exposure show through! **Even better - shoot a roll of film and then trade it with a friend and have them double expose it!
11. DOUBLE EXPOSURES - BLURRED LIGHTS
Blurred lights are my favorite way to double expose my film! I usually pre-expose a few rolls of film, mark the canister and keep them in my fridge with my film so I can grab one whenever I’m in the mood! Check out the “double exposure - blurred lights” video for tips pre-exposing your roll!
12. GO CRAZY
Get creative and think outside the box! Is there something you have been wanting to try?? Maybe it’s to shoot an entire roll at a slow shutter speed….or maybe intentionally blur all of your images. Or soup your rolls for some colorful film soup. Just THINK CRAZY and do it! Let go of all expectations and just enjoy the process! That’s what shooting film is all about!