DC Film Photographers are frequently asked many questions about film, so I wanted to compile the most common questions and their responses in one place for you!
Film is a medium that some photographers choose to photograph with over or alongside digital. I would estimate that the vast majority of photographers photograph using digital alone in this day and age. However, there is a passionate community of photographers that have switched to film (or never left) for a few reasons.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit more about film photography and why I love it so much.
What exactly do you mean by film photography?
Film photography is basically what it sounds like. Remember, this is photography, so we’re not talking about film as in video.
Film cameras take photographs on thin plastic strips, or film. I won’t dive into all the nitty gritty details, but basically, when a camera’s shutter is released, the film is exposed to what the lens is seeing. This creates negatives that need to be developed (think back to those disposable Kodak cameras!). Once the negatives are developed, they can be scanned into digital files and printed.
What is the difference between film and digital photography?
As I mentioned above, film uses rolls of film that create negatives that need to be developed. You can only see the images AFTER the film is developed. Additionally, each roll of film only has room for a certain number of images. This means a roll of film can only accommodate 16-36 images, depending on what kind of camera is being used.
Digital cameras use electronic sensors instead of rolls of film to capture images. The images are stored on memory cards, and you can see the images instantly. You can store significantly more images on a memory card than you can on a roll of film (hundreds to thousands!).
Why would someone photograph with film over digital? Digital sounds much more efficient.
Ah, yes. The why. Film photographers choose film for many reasons. I wrote an entire post on why I photograph with film. Below are my favorite reasons.
The creative process.
Because you are only given 16 images per roll of film, it requires you to be extremely intentional with every image you take. For me, this enhances my artistry and creativity. I don’t have the advantage of having hundreds of images to go through; instead, I must ensure I “get the shot” the first time.
For me, the color profiles and skin tones on film just cannot be surpassed. Digital has come a long way, but film produces natural, creamy skin tones and gorgeous color profiles. Although digital can be edited to mimic the appearance of film, it is very, very difficult to get it to match exactly.
Film also conveys a soft, nostalgia in its images. I think about the passing of time constantly, so I am very drawn to the idea of nostalgia – especially when it comes to motherhood. This consistent push and pull of time translates beautifully on film and really encompasses motherhood for me. This interpretation also renders exquisitely in the artwork I provide my clients.
How long will it be until I see my images?
The film process IS longer than the digital process. Back when I photographed solely with digital, I had a two week guarantee for gallery delivery. Now, I schedule the image reveal appointment between 3-4 weeks after the session to provide time to mail the film, have it developed, and have the scans delivered back to me. I schedule sessions with my clients with this in mind so everyone can be happy with the timeline.
Although the wait is slightly longer, I promise you it is so, so worth it.
Do you have any questions about film? I’d love to help.
DC Film Photographers | Marie Elizabeth Photography
Marie Elizabeth Photography specializes in fine art Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography based out of Washington, D.C.
It is always an honor to serve as your DC Film Photographer. I provide a custom, luxurious experience to lead you every step of the way, beginning with a planning guide to make you feel confident and prepared, a consultation to achieve your portrait goals, a client wardrobe, hair and make-up artists, and finally, artwork to adorn your walls and preserve your memories forever. Let me be a part of your story today.