January 2021


Grace Paul



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5 Things to Know Before You Shoot Film

My top 5 things to know before you start shooting film


At first I was afraid, I was petrified.

But really though. I spent years telling myself that I could never shoot film for a laundry list of reasons. And guess what? It turns out none of them are true. I’m going to share with you 5 things to know before you shoot film. So whether you are wanting to break into hybrid shooting or just have a fun creative outlet this will help get you there.

1. You know more than you think you know

If you are already a photographer then chances are you know more than you think you know. The same basic principles are the same no matter what medium you choose to shoot. If you know the rule of thirds, how to shoot in manual mode, and how read the light then you are way ahead of the curve!




2. Lighting is everything

Film is less forgiving when it comes to low light situations. It needs a lot of light in order to get a proper exposure. Instead of sessions right up until sunset, back it up to 2-3 hours before. For inside, hug the windows, open doors, anything it takes to get that natural light.


3. Get used to low shutter speeds

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when my light meter told me to shoot at 1/30th of a second. No way, Jose. I was used to no less than 1/250th with my digital camera.

But you’ll see that reading regularly if you shoot indoors with film. My favorite tool has been this monopod. Think tripod with only one leg. It steadies the camera but is more lightweight than a full tripod and much easier to carry around. For less than $25 it’s a no brainer to save you time and money when shooting film indoors.


4. Invest in a might meter

I tried to wing it without one and that was a huge mistake. Film cameras don’t have the same metering technology as newer age digital cameras. My personal, and an industry favorite, is the Sekonic l-358. If budget is tight then invest in the good light meter and a less expensive camera, I promise it will yield better results.

Then once you start to get familiar with metering and shooting film in general you’ll find that you don’t need to use it every time. I don’t take a meter when traveling or playing outside with my kids.


5. Start with 35mm

35mm cameras are a low cost way to ease into shooting film. The cameras are generally less expensive and you get 36 frames(photos) per roll versus the medium format that only gives you 16 frames. My favorites are the Nikon F100 and Canon 1V because you can use modern day DSLR lenses with them.

Those are my top 5 things to know before you start shooting film! Don’t be afraid to play around and explore. You will make mistakes and embrace it! That has been the quickest way I have learned. Have any questions? I’d love to answer them for you. Leave a comment below for the chance to be featured on a future blog post!


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