Why I Still Shoot Film

These days, you will be hard pressed to find someone who answered "film" if asked "what kind of camera should I buy?" - the market has been flooded with so many fantastic digital cameras that film is becoming a long lost art form. Everyone is now a photographer with a camera built into their smart phone - why go through the hassle of developing film!?

I'll tell you why.

Film photography is an art. It's raw. It's genuine. Film doesn't respond to gimmicks and tricks quite like digital. It takes a real artist to compose and shoot film.

Of course I'm not saying people who shoot digital are not real photographers - I still love and use my Nikon D800 and D610, but the film camera carries an allure that the digital camera will never replace. When I shoot in film, I feel like I'm walking on the path of so many famous photographers who only knew of film.

Digital photography makes me lazy. If I am not paying attention and mess up a shot there aren't any consequences. I can just recompose my photo and click again. I've inconvenienced a few electrons. With film, especially my larger formats, it can cost $3+ per negative, so mistakes can be expensive! This forces me to slow down, pay close attention, and really compose my shot carefully. My rate of "keepers" with film is much greater than with digital - I can't afford to blow shots.

I love the look of a film photograph. I develop my own prints and love the "hands on" feeling I get - I am so much more in touch with those images and they are more personal to me. Instead of just clicking and having a file ready to email, with film I have to develop and scan - a process that can take hours. I know that doesn't sound like a benefit, but to see the end result is so much more rewarding because of the work I've put into the shot.

There are still plenty of circumstances and environments where I prefer digital, but when the time is right, I'll reach for one of my film cameras to get the traditional bliss that only film can offer.

Some 120mm negatives drying after being developed in my studio. Developing my own prints is a rush and nothing is more rewarding than opening the developing tank to see 12 beautiful prints.