Whenever I’m feeling in a creative rut, I usually try to push myself out of it by picking up a camera I haven’t used in a while and shooting away aimlessly. It’s so easy to get stuck in your own head and over think EVERY.SINGLE.THING. It’s easy to feel like you haven’t created anything fun or new or interesting in ages and it’s even easier to just NOT pick up a camera.Read More
Capturing details and trying so hard to stop time.Read More
A look at a recent personal project.Read More
Friends + photographer = magic.Read More
A beautiful sunrise session in Charleston, SC.Read More
Stock up on these two film stocks for all your summer photos!Read More
100 Days of Summer on film is about to start! Are you in??Read More
A special limited time sale on my Film Love Workshop!Read More
Why you should use a light meter when shooting film.Read More
My tips for shooting your first roll of film.Read More
My tips for selecting a film stock.Read More
Tips to help you choose your first film camera.Read More
If you’re a photographer, here is why you should be shooting film.Read More
Part two of my favorite images from 2018.Read More
The Film Love Workshop and all the details.Read More
Film is magical to me. It has completely changed how I photograph both my own family and others. I see the world differently with a film camera. There is just something about film that moves me in ways that digital never ever did. I still have a hard time finding the right words to actually explain it to others who don’t shoot film, so I'm sure most people probably think I'm a little weird (and obsessed) but it has completely stolen my heart - (and don't forget, 2018 is all about embracing my weirdness, so.....).
One of the things I love most about film is that it gives me the ability to get creative without initially having to worry about the end result. With digital, I was often so disappointed with the images I was seeing on the back of my digital camera and that always put me in a negative place. Now, I'm giddy excited about WHAT I am creating and am not really worried about the finished product. The process has FINALLY become more than the end result, and to me, that's what photography is all about.
Light leaks are an awesome way to experiment and play with film! I love the haze, light, color and just plain randomness of light leaks. No two are really ever the same and you can't really plan what you're gonna get. Basically you're leaving it up to the film gods.
To achieve a light leak, all you have to do is open up the back of your camera while you have film in there! Or you can use a loosely sealed toy camera (like a Holga or Sprocket Rocket), which will often result in various light leaks around the edges. I suggested opening the back of your camera in a darker area (rather than in bright overhead sunlight). I usually open mine either shielded closer to my body or in a darker room of my house. I find the result is less harsh than in bright overhead light. But again, it's film...and anything can happen! I've also had good results by trying to hand roll an exposed roll of film in a super dark (but not completely dark) closet. I kinda did this by accident because my camera wouldn't rewind, but the results were magical and now I try it every once in a while just for the heck of it!
So go grab your camera and experiment! Film is purely magical and the process is always the best part!
Last week I mentioned my love for film and how I would be sharing some of the stocks I've been shooting just to help anyone else out who might be interested in film. Today is all about Ektar 100!
Ahh....Ektar 100 is just amazing. It has minimal grain and is just so vibrant! I started off with a love-hate relationship with Ektar but I was determined to figure this stock out because the colors are out of this world. I still don't have it down to a science, but after practicing and changing some things up I feel way more confident shooting this stock. I shot a few rolls of this when we were in St. John, USVI and the pictures were EXACTLY as the island was - bold, vibrant, clear, colorful! My biggest struggle with Ektar is the skin tones. Ektar has a red undertone and if you under or overexpose, skin tends to get super red/orange and scary looking, lol. My daughter has more red/orange to her skin tone in general, so I really noticed this if I overexposed/underexposed with her (vs. my son who has a little more peachy-pinky skin tone).
The key with Ektar is to expose it properly. When I first started practicing with Ektar I'm pretty sure I was overexposing by a stop or two (by the way I was metering - bulb in, facing down at 45 degrees). In the Virgin Islands, I didn't take into consideration the light reflecting from the sandy beaches, so I probably added on at least another stop of overexposure there....whoops!
Now I meter (using my external light meter) bulb in, racing my camera, at 90 degrees....and typically, the skin tones are perfect! The amazing Wendy Laurel has an article on her blog about shooting with Ektar that is definitely worth checking out!
Here's some of my favorite Ektar 100 images!
If you've been following along with me on Instagram, you've probably heard me raving non-stop about film. This summer I was kind of burned out with my personal work. I was struggling BIG time with creativity, motivation, ideas, self-doubt, weirdness and on and on and on. I am a creative person by nature and I ALWAYS have to be doing something, whether it be photography, sketching, knitting, dreaming, etc... But my creativity has to bring me joy. And excitement. And giddiness. There is a spark in me that has to ignited for me to love and enjoy it. And if that spark isn't there, well, then I'm basically just wandering around mopey and sad.
Film was my summer challenge to myself. All of the cameras I had growing up were good old film cameras but I honestly knew NOTHING about film. And I was SO incredibly terrified of film. It was so different and way scarier than digital. I couldn't see what I was shooting. I couldn't change my angle if the first shot didn't work out. I couldn't make sure I was able to "recreate" what I had in my head. But I love learning new things, so I bought a Canon 1V from eBay, called up everyone I knew who shot film (thank you Ashley, Jamie and Jennifer) and basically just threw caution to the wind.
What happened was magical. It saved me. It brought back my creativity. It let me get out of the rut of staring at the back of my camera and overanalyzing the image I created. It made me shoot for ME. It made me slow down and actually enjoy the process of "waiting" for the right moment to click that shutter. And that's just the photography side of things.
Film has made me a happier creative. It's made me a happier person, in general. I spend more time with my kids. I enjoy shooting and capturing them WAY more than I did with my digital camera. Film brought magic to the art for me. The unknown is magical. The process is magical. The moments are magical. Our life is magical.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still terrified of film. I break out into a cold sweat every time my scans come through just waiting for disaster. And yep. Some images are absolutely awful. But most are magical. They may not be technically perfect. The composition may be all off. I might have chopped a limb off. But you know what, the magic is still there....
Now usually when you start out shooting film, it's recommended to pick ONE stock of film and shoot with that so you get a good understand of exposure, how the stock reacts to light, yada yada yada. But yeah, I hate rules, so I basically threw caution to the wind and have shot every stock I could order from Amazon and B&H photo. I thought it would be fun to share some of our summer FILM photos here on the blog and decided to break them down by stock to maybe help out anyone who might be interested in shooting film/learning more about film.
First up is Fuji Superia Xtra 400 (35mm)
-This is a consumer stock and you grab it at Wal-Mart and a few other local places (pharmacies, etc..).
-has only 24 exposures (which I kind of love because I'm always jones-ing to finish a roll)!
-It has an ISO of 400, so it's a pretty good choice when it comes to most any type of daytime lighting.
-Kicks BUTT in full sun (but seriously, all film rocks in full sun)
-Pretty saturated colors
-Gorgeous skin tones when overexposed (it likes overexposure)
And here's a look at some of our summer shot with Fuji Superia Xtra 400!!
Fuji 400H is an amazing film stock. It's definitely one of my favorites and I find myself gravitating towards this stock often for newborns and family sessions. This is also my go-to stock for most indoor photos. The stock is incredibly soft and delicious and skin tones are always amazing. The film itself has blue/green undertones, which I think always makes whites and skin tones seem more neutral and natural than some of the other film stocks out there. The key to this stock, though, is that it LOVES light. Like for real loves light. It might be rated at 400 ISO, but I feel like Fuji could change that to big ole 100 and be just fine. I have rated this stock anywhere from 100-800 and have loved my results each and every time. If I can rate at 100, I totally will, but I feel like you have to live on the sun to rate it that low, lol. My happy place is usually between 200-400 ISO. When I'm rating between 400 and 800, I typically always have my lab (Indie Film Lab) push my film 1 stop (which basically means they leave the film in the developer a weeeeeee bit longer so the highlights are a bit brighter).
Below are some of my favorite Fuji 400H images!!