Getting Started with Film Photography


The rise in film photography popularity has gained traction over the past couple of years. A trend that is aimed to be enjoyed by amateurs and experts alike. The younger generations gravitate towards the “vintage” style. Whereas the generation that grew up on this form of photography views the growing trend as a nostalgic look to the past. I purchased my first film camera two years ago and have had so much fun using it since! In my experience with learning the ins and outs of film photography, I’ve acquired valuable insight to share with others who may have a similar interest in getting started!

The Camera

The first and most important step is deciding on and purchasing the camera you will use. This medium can be fairly accessible, and depending on your level of interest changes the monetary commitment.  If you’re on a budget and not sure you want to commit the money to the hobby yet, disposable cameras are a great stepping stone! You can get a feel for the picture and winding mechanism at its simplest form while still producing some lifelong memories in the pictures you take!

Start by asking friends and family if they may have a camera tucked away somewhere that you can borrow. For a more long-term piece of equipment, I’d recommend doing a little bit of research before you invest. B&H Photo buys and sells used camera equipment. Their site is a great resource to find high-quality equipment in good and working condition.

I’d also recommend looking at marketplace sites such as Facebook Marketplace or even Depop. Some camera enthusiasts are selling their old gear on those sites. Others have listed refurbished cameras they find from a second-hand shop. Check your local thrift store (Goodwill, Salvation Army, or local second-hand shop for their selection. While this is one of the more cost-effective options, you will not be able to guarantee the camera is in working condition until you purchase it.

Regardless of the camera you choose, most will that you require to become familiar with the fundamentals of photography. Including but not limited to ISO Level, determining the depth of field, and care of equipment.

Trial and Error

In a digital age where information is available to us within seconds, patience has not always been a priority. Patience and care are essential to the art of taking photos with your new film camera. With your camera and film roll in hand, it’s time to get started taking pictures! Take pictures of anything and everything. The possibilities are endless. An adjustment period is normal when you first get started. Not being able to adore your photos and post them to social media immediately is one of the downfalls. While this is not always ideal, it’s equally exciting in the anticipation you’ll have when you develop your film, making the images even more special.

A couple of the many takeaways I’ve gained from film photography are the importance of patience and the art of letting go. Although you can manipulate settings on your camera prior to taking the shot, you do not get immediate validation that the image looks the way you intended it to. You never know the masterpiece you may create when you release a little bit of control. I recommend embracing this aspect of the art form and look forward to the uncertainty of it all!

One thought on “Getting Started with Film Photography

  1. Love the the things you share. I feel like I know you a little more! Enjoy all life’s adventures.

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