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My Journey into Film Photography

Film. It has captured my heart. Yes, I am talking about the old school film you had to send off to get developed and then would get back 4×6 prints of.  I love, LOVE film. Film has helped shape me into the photographer I am today.

My first camera ever was film. It is what I grew up taking photos with. In high school, I began using my dad’s SLR film camera and eventually took it with me when I went to college. I loved taking photos of everything! But, while in college, I bought my first DSLR. Our world was quickly going digital, and I felt the need to move along with that. I began using my Nikon D90 to photograph everything! I mean, it is SO convenient to be able to see your image on the back of your camera right after you take it. So for the next several years, my Nikon D90 ruled, while my film SLR sat lonely in my closet collecting dust.

In 2014, I attended a Julie Paisley Photography workshop (www.juliepaisley.com). Let me tell you, that workshop changed my life! Not only is Julie one of the most genuine people I know, but she is an amazing teacher. I left her workshop feeling inspired, motivated and ready to take some big steps in my business. It was at this workshop that my love for film began to flicker again.

I came home and dusted off my film camera and later in 2014, I took a film photography workshop with Julie. It was at this workshop that my love for film totally exploded!! Why had I given up film in the first place? Its AMAZING!

Okay, so what is it about film that excites me? First, with digital, it is very easy to just click away and take hundreds of photos in just a few minutes. With film, I have to slow down. Film is expensive to do, so each click means something. With film, I cannot go back and just delete the image, so every time I take a photo it is so precious. Shooting film has helped me to slow down. I pay attention to details more and I never take a shot for granted. Even when I shoot digital now, I take my time and I don’t over shoot.

The colors of film blow my mind! The colors are so rich and beautiful. The fine grain of film adds to the texture of the image and the way the skin tones appear are so natural. Film captures what you see in the most stunning way possible.  

Photo taken at a Julie Paisley Photography workshop I assisted at last fall. 

Photo taken at a Julie Paisley Photography workshop I assisted at last fall. 

So, how do I process and develop my film? Well, my film cameras of choice are the Contax 645 and Pentax 645N for medium formats and I use a Nikon F100 for my 35mm camera. I love using Fuji Pro 400H film and Portra 400 film for my color film and I love Ilford film for my black and whites. Once I photograph a session or wedding, I package the film and send it to Photovision Prints where they professionally develop my film for me. I then receive the film in the format of digital files, that way I can easily share them with my clients. 

So, I am happy to say that after 1.5 years of shooting film during weddings and portrait sessions, I can officially say I am a hybrid film + digital photographer. It is who I am. Film has made my business grow into the direction I’ve been dreaming it would. Film allows me to express myself artistically in ways that I always have wanted to. 

Below are examples of images I have taken using only film! <3

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These are all images that have been taken using one of my film cameras. I hope you enjoyed and I cannot wait to continue to use film to capture love and happiness xoxo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                        

  1. Kandi Zadel says:

    Love! Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Melissa says:

    In love with your post and these images! I am headed in this direction and I’m so excited to see those who have taken the leap. Thank you for inspiring me and many others!

  3. April says:

    Film photography is an art form that I’m glad is not completely lost. I’ve heard from some photographers that they simply don’t have the time to shoot film. But you know what, that’s what’s wrong with so much of today’s society. They don’t want to take time and slow down. By doing that, they miss out on some of life’s most beautiful, intimate moments and details, as you have captured here. Beautiful job!

  4. Kathryn Ivy says:

    Beautiful!!! I’m getting into film as well and I just love it! Right now I use an f100 and am saving for a Pentax or Mamiya- yay for film!!

    • Kelli Garvin says:

      Oh great!! I started on a F100 as well, then got a Pentax 645N (which I love) then got a Contax 645!

  5. Nikki Schell says:

    These images are all so beautiful! Great work! I started out in film and it makes my heart happy that there is such a big transition back to it. Also, fun fact, I think I own that green chair!

  6. Meggie Francisco says:

    This is beautiful! Shooting with film takes guts.

  7. Deb Whitaker says:

    Your film images are absolutely stunning! I want to be you when I grow up;)

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