Film Street Photography Tips

If I started shooting film street photography for the first time, this is advice I would give myself:


Respark your joy of photography with FILM NOTES: your personal manual to having fun with film photography!

First of all, for black and white shoot Kodak Trix 400 and “push” it to 1600

This means change the meter on your camera to 1600, while you’re using the 400 speed film.

Then when you get your film processed, fell the technicians to “push it two stops” (or to develop for 1600).

Benefits of pushing film is:

  1. More grit and contrast
  2. You can shoot with a faster shutter speed, which is beneficial if you’re shooting street photography at f8, which means your photos are less likely to be blurry.

Second, shoot at f8

My suggestion is set your aperture to f8 and only adjust two variables: your focus and shutter speed.

F8 is ideal because it’s the best combination of enough depth of field (everything in focus) and fast enough shutter speed (f16 is good, but often your shutter speed is too slow).

The caveat is if you’re shooting in super bright light at ISO 1600, switch your aperture to f16.

3. For color film, use Kodak Porta 400

Portra is expensive but it’s the best color, hands down. Just shoot less, and invest in the best film. You’ll be glad you did.

I’d just recommend shooting it at 400. My friend Trevor has pushed Portra to 800 with great colors and results.

You can also see my Portra 400 photos >

4. Experiment

Film photography is fun because it’s chaotic, random and unpredictable!

Experiment shooting with flash, reflections, and of course experiment with your own films.

My suggestion:

Shoot anything and everything because you’re curious to see what it will look once you get your photo processed and scanned.

Like Garry Winogrand once said, “I photograph to see what the world looks like photographed.”

Inspire yourself with FILM NOTES

Pick up a copy of FILM NOTES from HAPTIC PRESS, and have fun shooting film! Explore, experiment, and respark your passion for photography!

Film Street Photography by ERIC KIM


Take it back to the old-school: FILM NOTES by HAPTICPRESS x ERIC KIM.

Film Photography Articles


Contax T3 x FILM

If you’re interested in learning how to shoot film, start with this guide:

  2. Film Street Photography Manual
  3. Introduction to Shooting Film in Street Photography
  4. What I Learned Shooting 100 Rolls of Black and White Film
  5. What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year
  6. My Experiences Shooting Medium-Format Film in Street Photography
  7. A Guide on How to Shoot Street Photography on a Film Leica (or Rangefinder)
  8. Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography
  9. Video: Why I’m Switching Back to Black and White Film for Street Photography
  10. The Zen of Shooting Film Photography

Videos: How to Shoot Film

Photo by Josh White
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