To build upon FILM 101: I wanted to review Kodak Portra 400, my favorite 35mm color film:
Where to buy Portra 400
Useful article: What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year >
1. The best 35mm color film
For street photography, Kodak Portra 400 is the best 35mm film. At a speed of ISO 400, it is fast enough for most scenarios. Also, the color tones of Portra 400 (Portra = Portrait) is optimized for red, yellow, and orange tones (skin tones as well).
2. Portra 400 x Flash
This is where things get fun:
Kodak Portra 400 film shot with a flash.
Colors become extra-saturated, and look fascinating.
Shooting with flash on Kodak Portra 400 opens ups a WHOLE NEW WORLD of photography. Why? You’re not limited by the film speed of 400 (which is generally quite slow):
3. Photo projects with 35mm Kodak Portra 400
For example, most of my SUITS project, it was shot (99% on Kodak Portra 400), much with flash:
4. Is shooting Portra or 35mm in general ‘worth it’?
My very basic thought:
If you spend thousands of dollars in film (or any camera equipment), and you make even 1 great photograph, it is worth it.
Photography is justified for even 1 great photograph.
5. Kodak Portra 400 vs Digital Color Photography
One thing that changed photography for me:
Discovering how great RICOH GR II with flash (positive film preset) looks!
These photos are shot with flash on digital RICOH GR II:
Therefore I encourage you to experiment shooting with film, just for fun! But ultimately, I don’t think that film photography is superior to digital photography. In fact, digital photography (at this point) is probably superior to film photography (in terms of of cost, convenience, dynamic range, color rendition).
6. Portra 400 for personal photography
Portra 400 looks absolutely beautiful. I really love it for personal photography — photographing your loved ones (on film)!
The great thing about film:
Even 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 years from now, the photos will still look good.
Its easier to keep a consistent aesthetic when shooting color film than with digital. Digital JPEG presets, filters, and RAW post-processing is constantly changing and evolving.
Experiment with film for fun!
New: FILM NOTES MOBILE x PRINT EDITION
New: FILM NOTES: Mobile and Printable Version >
Film Photography Articles
- Why Do Film Photos Look Better than Digital Photos?
- Film Street Photography Tips
- Take Photos of Your Loved Ones on Film
FILM PHOTOGRAPHY by ERIC KIM
If you’re interested in learning how to shoot film, start with this guide:
- FILM PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS by ERIC KIM
- Film Street Photography Manual
- 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
- The Zen of Shooting Film Photography