Dear aspiring filmtogs,
I want to share my newest creation with you: “Film Street Photography Manual.” Print it out on standard printer paper, fold it in half, and make it your new companion. Also you can download the translated version in Russian (thanks to Alexander Goroshilov!)
You can carry this little manual with you everywhere you go, and hopefully for you to learn some of the basics of shooting film when sitting on the bus, hanging out at the cafe, or waiting in line at the grocery store.
This little 34-page book is based on the last 5 years of what I have learned shooting street photography on film. I am not the expert when it comes shooting film, but I hope that my experiences coming from digital and then trying out film is valuable to you.
I am also a newbie to Adobe InDesign– which I used to design the book. You can also download the original InDesign files below, to hopefully print this out correctly, and you can staple it together and make a little handbook out of it.
Or you can download the book as a PDF, just keep it on your phone or tablet, and read it on-the-go.
In terms of learning how to shoot film, special thanks to my friends Charlie Kirk, Bellamy Hunt, Mike Nguyen, Junku Nishimura, Sean Lotman, Vishal Soniji, and many others who I probably forgot to mention.
Download the book with any of the links below:
PDF Download (12.6 mb):
- Russian (thanks to Alexander Goroshilov!)
Also for your convenience, I will have the entire book embedded in this blog post (if you prefer just looking at it here):
Film Street Photography Manual
WHY SHOOT FILM?
One of the main questions you might be wondering: why shoot film in today’s digital age? After all, film is inconvenient, expensive, and a pain in the ass to process.
However many young photographers are starting to re-discover the love of shooting film. In an age where we are constantly plugged into social media via our smartphones, shooting film allows us to unplug. Shooting film helps us disconnect– to be more reflective and meditative when shooting, to consider more about what moments are truly meaningful to us, and the chance for us to re-connect with our forefathers of photography.
Shooting film won’t make you a better photographer; but shooting film will make you more contemplative, more thoughtful, more reflective, and will generally help you appreciate the process of shooting photography more.
Not only that, but after training yourself shooting film, I think you will also appreciate digital photography more. And the principles you learned from shooting film– you can apply this to shooting digitally (not looking at your LCD screen, taking your time when taking photos, and trying to make each shot count).
I am not the expert of shooting street photography on film, but I do come from a digital photography background– so I will try to explain everything I know about shooting street photography on film in a comprehensive yet basic way.
Now undust those old film cameras in your closet, and let’s get to work.
Friday, March 11, 2016 / Berkeley / Philz Coffee
Okay to start off, you first need a film camera.
If you’ve never shot street photography on film before, please do not run out and buy a film Leica. Find the cheapest, most affordable film camera possible. If possible, try to ask your parents, family, or friends for old film cameras. I guarantee you that everyone has at least one old film camera collecting dust in a closet somewhere.
When you are experimenting with film, you are not 100% sure whether you will like it or not. Remember, if you’re primarily a digital shooter– this is just an experiment.
If you don’t have access to any free film cameras, I recommend starting on a cheap film SLR. Canon AE-1’s are cheap to find on the used market, as well as Nikon FM-series cameras, or any point-and-shoot film camera.
For street photography, the best “bang-for-the-buck” compact camera is the Contax T2– a superbly built film camera with a 38mm f/2.8 lens, a titanium-body, and the ability to pre-focus at certain distances, or you can use with auto-focus.
If you happen to do have money to burn, a good film rangefinder starter kit is the film Leica M6 and the Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 lens. This is a kit that can (in theory) outlive you.
Secondly what you want to do is pick up some film. I generally recommend Kodak Tri-X 400 for black-and-white, and Kodak Portra 400 for color. For black-and-white, ILFORD HP5 is also a fantastic option. If you’re on a budget, Kodak Gold or any cheap Fujifilm color films are a good alternative. Check out CameraFilmPhoto.com (outside of U.S.)
LOADING THE FILM
Okay if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. So far you’ve got your film camera, your film, and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Now what you got to do is load the film into your camera. Don’t be alarmed– the best way to learn how to load the film into your camera is to watch a tutorial on YouTube. Search: “How to load film into ‘Camera X’”, or do a Google Search. Guaranteed you will find a tutorial somewhere online for free.
Now most modern film comes with 36 shots per roll. There are some older films that come with 24 shots per roll– try to avoid these, as you get less “bang-for-the-buck”.
Now the next step you’re probably wondering is: what technical settings do I use on my film camera?
First of all, if your camera has automatic settings– just use the automatic settings. Just because you know how to shoot fully-manual doesn’t make you a more artistic photographer. 99% of the issues that beginning film shooters have is that they just can’t get their exposure right (when I started, the majority of my photos were under-exposed and looked like crap).
If you plan on shooting fully-manual, as a tip, always over-expose whenever possible. Why? With film, you can always recover details if you accidentally blow your highlights. However if your photos are under-exposed, it is almost impossible to draw details out of the shadows.
Okay you’re stubborn– you don’t want to look like a “noob” and shoot fully-automatic. I get it. So here are some practical manual shooting tips when you’re on the streets.
If you’re shooting black-and-white, I recommend “pushing your film” to ISO 1600. Which means you can use ISO 400 (or any other film speed) and “trick” your camera into thinking that the ISO 400 film is actually ISO 1600.
Before I go on, you might wonder why you should shoot at ISO 1600. The reason is because the higher the ISO, the faster the shutter speed, and the more depth-of-field we can have in our photos. Whenever possible, it is ideal to max-out your shutter-speed (1/1000th on a Leica), and also shoot with a deep depth-of-field (f/8-f/16).
The reason is because if you’re shooting film in street photography, you want to avoid two things: 1) Blurry photos and 2) Out-of-focus photos.
By shooting with a really-fast shutter speed (ideally you want to shoot faster than 1/250th of a second) you won’t have blurry street photos. Your subjects will be sharp.
Secondly, by shooting between f/8-f/16, your photos will be in-focus. Do not make the sucker mistake of trying to shoot everything “wide-open” at f/2-f/2.8. This is a common newbie mistake, because who cares how much “bokeh” you can get in your photos, if your photos are out-of-focus?
Explaining how “pushing” film works is a bit complicated– and not every camera has the ability to push film. However here is how you can push your film on different cameras:
PUSHING FILM 101
There are different types of film camera out there (for the discussion now, let us stick to 35mm cameras).
First of all, you have the SLR (Single Lens Reflex), which is the “standard” film camera you will see almost everywhere. They look like DSLR’s, except (duh) they are film (DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex). Pretty much the benefit of an SLR is “what you see is what you get” — meaning, when you look through the viewfinder, you’re actually seeing what your lens sees. Which means your framing will be very accurate. Not only that, but SLR’s are very cheap and widely available. Downside– they are often big, clunky, and loud (Single Lens Reflex cameras use a mirror and therefore have an infamous “shutter clack” when taking images).
Assuming you have a film SLR that allows you to shoot manually, this is what I would personally do:
- Set your aperture to f/8 (f/8 is a good comprormise between having a deep depth-of-field while also allowing in a lot of light).
If your camera has a built-in light meter, set it to ISO 1600. If your camera doesn’t, you can download a smartphone “light meter” app, or use a “real” light meter (and set the ISO to 1600).
All you need to do is adjust the shutter-speed depending on the lighting situation. Because once your aperture (f/8) and ISO (1600) is locked, the shutter-speed is the only variable you need to adjust. That and of course, the focusing.
If you are still unsure to “push” your camera to ISO 1600, just Google: “How to push film for ‘Camera X’”.
PROS/CONS OF DIFFERENT FILM CAMERAS
Let us now talk about the benefits/disadvantages of different film cameras out there.
Before we start, let me get it out of the way: a film rangefinder is not necessarily the “best” camera for street photography (although Leica marketing will have you think otherwise). There are a lot of benefits to compact film cameras in street photography (I actually prefer compacts over rangefinders), and sometimes film SLR’s can be superior. Let us continue:
1. FILM SLR
Pro: Cheap, affordable, “what you see is what you get”.
Con: Big, clunky, loud shutter.
Pro: Small, compact, optical viewfinder allows you to see a bit outside of your lens.
Con: Assuming you want a Leica, it is expensive, what you see is not what you get (search ‘Parallax Error’), and generally requires having to shoot fully-manual (fine if you are an expert, difficult if you’re a newbie).
Pro: Small, unobtrusive, fits in your front pocket.
Con: Often lack of manual-controls (can be a pro or a con), most are generally autofocus (once again, can be a pro or a con), and a bit slower than SLR’s or Rangefinders when shooting.
Regardless of what camera you use, there is no “perfect” film camera for street photography. I honestly prefer compact cameras (you always have them with you).
Assuming you are shooting with a film SLR or a rangefinder (or any camera or lens that requires manual-focusing), here are some basic tips when focusing when shooting on the streets.
To start off, street photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography out there. You need the agility of a ballerina on the streets, the ferocity of a boxer, yet the technical know-how of a scientist.
When you’re starting off shooting film in street photography, you will be very slow. But once again, we all need to start somewhere– kind of how kids need to start off riding tricycles before they can “upgrade” to bicycles.
The real world is fast, hyper, and unpredictable. You can’t take 10 minutes to focus on somebody like you do a flower or a landscape. What you see before you will happen only once. Either you get the shot, or you don’t. If you miss the shot, you will never capture that moment again.
Generally with lenses, I recommend a 35mm “full-frame” equivalent. Why? With a 35mm lens, it is generally wide enough to capture most of everything you see before you. If you are too far, you can always take a step back.
50mm is also a nice “classic” focal length– but the downside is that most street photographers I know complain that it is too tight and restrictive. Most film SLR’s have 50mm for very cheap, but 35mm lenses are generally a bit more expensive. Another downside of a 50mm; you have less depth-of-field when you’re shooting
28mm is also solid for street photography, but I think most beginners find it a bit too wide to “fill the frame” with.
One of the main mistakes a lot of beginner street photographers do when shooting film is that they try to focus everything perfectly. No– this is a waste of time, and you will never be fast enough to capture the action on the streets.
What you want to do instead is to pre-focus on your subjects before you take their photo.
For example, a good “default” focusing distance is 1.2 meters (roughly two-arm-lengths away). On a 35mm lens, that is a good distance to “fill your frame.”
As an assignment, I would suggest keeping your lens pre-focused to that 1.2 meters distance, and taking all of your photos at that distance for a month. Why? It will help you get to know that distance really well, and generally at that distance with a 35mm lens, your compositions will look good as well.
If youre shooting at 1.2 meters, with a 35mm lens, at f/8, roughly everything from .9 meters to 1.9 meters will be in-focus. Which means; even though your viewfinder shows that your subject might not be “perfectly” in focus– they will actually be in focus.
To test this out (as well as anything in film) use a digital camera. Dial in the settings you want in manual mode, pre-focus at different apertures and shutter-speeds, and see whether your shots are in-focus, sharp, or not.
Another practical tip when you’re starting shooting in the streets with film: carry both a digital and a film camera with you. Whenever unsure about your settings, just try it out on digital and look at your LCD screen to see the results. No, this is not “cheating” (it is called “learning”).
FINDING YOUR SUBJECT
So far you’ve got your camera, you got your film loaded, you know some (basic) settings, and you got your focusing (somewhat) down. Now the next practical question: “What should I shoot?”
Now that is a personal question. What interests you in the world? Only shoot what you personally find interesting– never take photos of what others think are interesting.
To start, just take your film (and digital as a backup) for a walk, and just photograph anything you find interesting. You can start off by shooting (non-people) like telephone wires, buildings (urban landscapes), interesting things you find on the streets, your friends, your family, or anything that catches your eye.
The strange thing about shooting film is that anything you take a photo of will automatically be more “artsy”. I hate to say it– but it is true. For some strange reason, photos of urban landscapes or random stuff you find on the ground, when shot on film, seem more intentional and contemplative. Why? Because if you find a scene so interesting and you’re willing to spend real money to capture that moment, it shows more “intentionality.”
But don’t be a film snob– there is no reason you need to shove into everyone’s face that you shot a certain photo on film. Just because you shot it on film doesn’t necessarily mean it is a “better” photo. Remember, we are shooting film because we personally enjoy it and we enjoy the process more.
Now the next step is trying to shoot more candid photos of strangers on the street without permission. This is the real task, and the most difficult thing to do when shooting film.
CANDID STREET PHOTOS
Okay now you’ve graduated to the point where you want to take candid photos of strangers or situations (for now, without permission).
The first tip I want to tell you is this: if you find an interesting person or a scene, take more than 1 photo. If possible, take 5, 10, 15, or even 20 photos of a scene. If you see a “moment” that you think is truly valuable and once-in-a-life-time, shoot the entire roll of film on a scene.
What I have personally discovered from shooting street photography on film is this: be more picky and stingy with the situations you find interesting, and be more generous with shooting a lot of photos on the scenes you actually do find interesting.
For example, let’s say you walk around for an entire day. If you are able to identify 2-3 scenes or “moments” you find interesting, shoot the shit out of it. Know that in street photography, it is very important to “work the scene”, and not to be satisfied with only 1-2 photos.
If you are still unsure how to use the technical settings on your camera, or if you are a bit slow, don’t feel bad asking your subjects for permission.
One of the big benefits of shooting film is that people are fascinated by old film cameras. I have found that whether I’m shooting candidly or asking for permission– people are a lot less paranoid about being photographed (on film) than being shot on digital. Perhaps because they feel honored that you decided to actually spend money to take a photo of them (whereas digital is a bit disposable). I have also had a lot of strangers start converstaions with me saying, “They still make film?”– which can open doors.
Here are some practical assignments you can do in your free time to hone your skills on shooting film.
1. FOCUS ON THINGS AT HOME
One of the most difficult things in film street photography is getting to know your distances very well. So what you can do is when you’re sitting at home on your couch, watching TV or whatever, is keep your film camera close and guess how far the distances of certain objects in your house.
For example, if you’re sitting on the couch, look at the kitchen table. Guess how many meters (or feet) it is away from you. Then without bringing the camera to your eye, pre-focus to what you think the distance is, and then bring up the camera to your eye and see how accurate you were. The more you practice this, the quicker you will be at “prefocusing” in street photography. Vary your distances. Guess the distance of things close and far from you, and from “medium” distance (1.2 meters).
2. KEEP NOTES
Use a small notebook to test out exposures and settings on your camera. Go for a walk, and if you see an interesting scene take three photos at three different exposure settings. Try to take 1 photo that is perfectly exposed, one photo that is under-exposed (by 1 “stop”), and one photo that is over-exposed (by “1 stop”). When you get your film processed and scanned, see which exposures look good to you.
3. SHOOT 1 ROLL A DAY
Practice makes perfect. Shoot 1 roll a day for a month.
PROCESSING & SCANNING
Another big thing that first scared me when I started shooting film is wondering how I could process and scan my film.
First of all, if you’re somebody who is really busy (and has some extra cash), I just recommend sending your film to a lab and having them develop and scan the film for you.
Assuming you make $40,000 a year, and your labor is worth $20 an hour– ask yourself; how much do I value my time?
For me, I prefer shooting over developing and scanning my film. So I don’t mind paying money to free up my time so I can spend more time shooting (not developing and scanning).
However at the same time, I know a lot of photographers who love to develop and scan their own film. They find the experience a good time to reflect, meditate, and “zen” out.
With color film, it is always easier to develop it at a lab (and generally cheap). Black-and-white film is easy to process at home with a “changing bag” (no you don’t need a full-on darkroom to develop at home). There are a lot of YouTube tutorials on how to develop your own black and white films at home.
For scanning, either get the lab to do it or just do it yourself. If you’re a newbie, just pick up the cheapest Canon, Epson, or Plustek scanner (these scans look fine for the internet). Personally I find the best “bang-for-the-buck” scanner is the Epson V700 (scans both 35mm and medium-format film). For just 35mm, I recommend any “Plustek” scanner (scanning is slower, but the quality is incredible, and also the machine is quite affordable).
Most street photographers I know prefer 35mm film. Why? You get 36 photos on a roll (compared to 10-12 photos on medium-format cameras), 35mm cameras are smaller than medium-format photos, and you also get more depth-of-field on 35mm cameras (compared to medium-format cameras).
To start off, a medium-format camera is a camera that shoots with larger pieces of film– which mean that the photos have more detail, depth, and sharpness. Medium-format film is quite popular with “environmental portraiture” — when you get a subject to pose in front of an interesting background. Medium-format film is also good for urban-landscapes (if you can shoot on a tripod and your subject is not moving).
I have toyed around with a lot of medium-format film cameras, and while I do like the additional detail– honestly, I think 35mm is just a lot easier (and more affordable). Unless you are a fine-art photographer, you will honestly never blow up your photos to be massive prints. Even with 35mm film, you can blow up your photos to be quite large.
But like everything in life, it is good to experiment. For street photography, the best rangefinder is the Mamiya 7-series cameras (that make 6x7cm images). If you prefer square images (6x6cm images) the Mamiya 6 is a good compact option.
I also like the Hasselblad medium-format cameras, which are good for urban landscapes and posed environmental portraits. However the downside is that they are really big, heavy, and overall cumbersome to use. A more compact solution are “TLR” cameras (Rolleiflex, Yashicaflex) or any other film camera that have “flex” in them.
- Read more: My Experiences Shooting Medium Format Film
DIGITAL FILM SCANNING
If you are very ambitious, I recommend taking a course on darkroom printing. This is the true “pursit” approach– you take the actual film negative, and you make prints in a darkroom. It is a quite mystical, romantic, and beautiful experience, which makes you appreciate the art of photography a lot more. I have a 2-hour YouTube video titled: “Introduction to Darkroom Film Developing and Printing” which is worth checking out.
But in today’s digital age, you are probably better-off dealing with digital film scans. I think the future of photography is going to be a “hybrid” approach– new digital cameras that simulate the effect of shooting with a film camera more and more, and also film cameras embracing more digital technologies.
Anyways, when you scan your own film (the default Epson scanning software is good, otherwise use Silverfast) you will deal with issues of hair, dust, and (sometimes) scratches. Just use Photoshop or any other image-editing software to “clone” or “heal” away the small impefections.
Also when you have digital scans, you can use Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust the contrast, brightness, exposure, highlights, shadows. With scans, you have a lot less control when dealing with RAW images. But a little post-processing with digital tools will help improve the look of your images quite a bit (and no, this is not “cheating”).
A lot of people will wonder: What is the point of shooting film if you’re just going to scan the photos digitally anyways? For me, I still prefer the process of shooting film, and also the digital scans of film photos still look more aesthetically pleasing to me than digital photos. Ignore the old-school film snobs; embrace both analog and digial.
FAVORITE FILM CAMERAS
There is a lot of information out there about film cameras, one of my favorite resources is JapanCameraHunter.com (my friend Bellamy Hunt runs it). Below are some of my personal favorite film cameras for street photography:
1. CONTAX T3
Famously used by Anders Petersen, the T3 is a compact camera that has a brilliant Carl-Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens, all in a tiny and compact body. The photos I get on the camera rival that of the photos I get with my Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH lens. I usually shoot it in “P” mode, and use autofocus. Downside: quite expensive.
2. RICOH GR1-SERIES
There are a ton of Ricoh GR 1-series cameras out there (GR1, GR1s, GR1v). They all have 28mm f/2.8 lenses, are tiny (fit into your front pocket), and are extremely ergonomic and easy to hold in the hand. The downside is that they are fragile cameras and break easily. It is difficult to find any place that repairs them anymore, so if you find one second-hand that is in good condition (for a good price) just give it a go.
3. LEICA MP
Leica MP stands for “mechanical perfection” (yeah super-pretentious). It is a film Leica with a light-meter built into it, made of solid-brass, and will probably last for another 200 years or so. If you want one film camera for the rest of your life, this is the one for you. I personally bought a second-hand one from Japan from my friend Bellamy, and it has been my constant companion. More affordable options are the M6, M5, M4, M2 or the Bessa rangefinder.
FILM VS DIGITAL?
You will see a lot of debates on the internet on “film vs digital”. Honestly at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what you shoot. Ultimately, I think it isn’t film vs digital, but film and digital.
For example, you send emails to your work colleagues, but you write hand-written cards to your loved ones.
You stream your music to your smartphone when you’re at the gym, but you prefer to listen to music at a concert when on a romantic date.
You type out notes on your computer, but you also hand-write notes or journal in a notebook.
The future of technology and life isn’t this battle between the analog and digital. It is the blending, or the hybridization of both.
A lot of digital technologies try to apply analog approaches (new digital cameras look like film cameras). And at the same time, analog is becoming more digital (you can scan your notebooks into digital form).
Personally all the photos I’ve shot that are truly meaningful are shot on film. It costs money, it is a pain to process, but I feel that I am willing to spend that extra money on what really matters to me. For example, photos I shoot of Cindy (the love of my life) are mostly shot on film– whereas photos of strangers are usually shot on digital.
So ultimately embrace both film and digital photography– perhaps you can compartmentalize it in different ways. Maybe film for personal photos, digital for commercial? B/W film, and color digital? Do whatever fits for you.
I will admit– one of the things I am horrible at is organizing and storing my negatives (in a logical and coherent way).
I have a lot of friends who are fantastic about cutting their negatives, and putting them into clear sleeves, and keeping them all organized according to date, camera, lens, and type of film.
For me, I just throw it all into a box, and hope one day my future grandchildren will know what to do with it.
If I could do it all over again, I would keep my negatives organized according to date, location, and keep them stored in a safe place (my mom’s house).
One of the hidden benefits of negatives (versus digital files) is that in 200 years, the negatives will still exist in a physical form. Which means it will be easy to scan negatives in the future.
However how easy will it be for future generations to access our digital RAW files, which are trapped in our hard drives?
I have a friend who takes all of his family photos on film, because they will always have access to seeing the images without having to use some digital device to access them. You can simply take your negatives, hold them up to the light, and see what images they are.
Sure your house can burn down and you can lose all of your negatives. So take a hybrid approach: keep your negatives organized, and keep many digital back-ups of your scans (hard drives and on the cloud).
THE FILM “LOOK”
The main two reasons I look to shoot film is that I prefer the more meditative and “zen-like” process of shooting film, as well as the ultimate aesthetic (how the photos look).
I love the grain of film images, the irregularities, the coarseness, the texture, the “beautiful mistakes”, and the imperfections. For me, digital photos often feel “soul-less”– they are too sharp, precise, technical, clinical, and “perfect.”
I shoot a lot of digital– and I try to make my digital RAW images look like film. There are a lot of ways to do this– I have free Lightroom film simulation presets you can download to convert your raw images to look like Tri-X pushed to 1600, or even the look of Portra 400. You can also use plug-ins like Silver Efex Pro (black-and-white simulation), or VSCO.
However unfortunately, no matter how good these digital simulations become– it will still never be like the “real thing” — because in terms of physics, the digital photography process of image-rendering and the way that film renders light is fundamentally different.
Digital sensors are small computers that detect light in a scene, and encode it into an image which is made out of binary data (1’s and 0’s).
Film records the physical light in a scene, and embeds that light onto a film negative.
Not only that, but (in 2016) film still has more “dynamic range” and data than most digital cameras. The result is that (to most people) film photos will still look better than digital photos. But ultimately, aesthetics is something personal– just do whatever looks and feels best to you.
SAMPLE STREET SETTINGS
Below are some sample settings you can use when shooting street photography at ISO 400 and 1600. When shooting color, I shoot at ISO 400, and when shooting black-and-white, I will “push” the film “two stops” to 1600. You can also use the “Sunny 16 rule”, but I think these settings below are better for street photography (because it allows you to shoot between f/8-f/16 for deep depth-of-field.
ISO 400: SAMPLE STREET SETTINGS
SUPER-BRIGHT SUNNY DAY
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/1000th sec
- ISO: 400
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/250th sec
- ISO: 400
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/125th sec
- ISO: 400
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/60th sec
- ISO: 400
- Aperture: f/2
- Shutter Speed: 1/30th sec
- ISO: 400
ISO 1600: SAMPLE STREET SETTINGS
SUPER-BRIGHT SUNNY DAY
- Aperture: f/16
- Shutter Speed: 1/1000th sec
- ISO: 1600
- Aperture: f/16
- Shutter Speed: 1/250th sec
- ISO: 1600
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/500th sec
- ISO: 1600
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/250th sec
- ISO: 1600
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Shutter Speed: 1/60th sec
- ISO: 1600
THE CINDY PROJECT
One of my on-going life projects is the “Cindy Project” — a photo-series of the love of my life (Cindy), shot mostly on film.
Well– I like the idea that I can create physical remnants of Cindy’s soul and presence (in a film negative). I have taken a lot of photos of her on digital, but if my hard drives crash or my cloud services crash, there is no way my future grandchildren will be able to see these images.
Also, I have tried really hard to make my digital photos have the same aesthetic, emotion, and feel of my film photos. While I have had (some) luck (I have about 80-85% the “look” I like), I still far prefer the film photos.
All of these photos of Cindy are shot on my film Leica MP, 35mm f/2 Leica Summicron ASPH lens, Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600, and with a yellow filter (adds extra contrast and brightens skin tones).
How did the light look? ____________________________
What did I shoot? ________________________________
Where did I shoot? _______________________________
Shutter Speed: ____
#MORE MEGAPIXELS, MORE PROBLEMS
Videos on film street photography
Introduction to Darkroom Film Developing and Printing
Introduction to Shooting Street Photography on Film
Articles how to shoot film street photography
- Introduction to Shooting Film in Street Photography
- What I Learned Shooting 100 Rolls of Black and White Film
- What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year
- My Experiences Shooting Medium-Format Film in Street Photography
- A Guide on How to Shoot Street Photography on a Film Leica (or Rangefinder)
- Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography
- Video: Why I’m Switching Back to Black and White Film for Street Photography
Unleash your creative potential:
- November 7th, 2020: ERIC KIM BLOGGING MASTER CLASS (Online, via Zoom). [Register Intent Here]
- April 10-11th, 2021: BOSTON / Discover Your Unique Voice in Photography Workshop [Register Intent Here]
- May 1-2nd, 2021: CHICAGO / Street Photography Composition Masterclass [Register Intent Here]
- May 22-22nd, 2021: NEW YORK CITY / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS by ERIC KIM [Register Intent Here]
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