Why I Shoot Film - Heather Anderson Photography

Why I Shoot Film

Apr 4



Why film? It’s one of the most common questions I am asked about my photography and it immediately excites me. I love when I get to share the reasoning behind one of my biggest passions with my clients and mentees. So I thought I would turn to my blog to share a bit about why I do what I do.

My first SLR camera was a Canon Rebel film camera that was loaded with 35mm film. I studied film photography in college but digital cameras were quickly taking over the photography world, and so I purchased my first DSLR in 2009 and switched to an all-digital workflow.  A few years after, I was feeling like I was stuck in a creative rut. I needed inspiration and began looking at other photographers workshops for inspiration. Around that time I came across a workshop called The Film Photographers Workshop and I loved the idea of getting back to my roots. I reached out to Sarah, the host, and let her know I didn’t own a film camera and I wasn’t sure I even remembered how to load film.  She reassured me that there would be plenty of film cameras for me to use and I took the leap and signed up for the workshop.  I had no idea that leap would be so inspiring to me and breath fresh life into my photography! 

I quickly fell in love with the art of film photography. I love that it requires me to slow down, stay in the moment and really focus on what is in my frame. Even though it can be difficult waiting for the film to be developed, I love that when I am done shooting I don’t have to upload all my images and then cull them and edit them.  I just mail them off to my lab and a few days later they show up in my inbox. It feels like Christmas morning every time I see new film scans in my inbox!

And I have to say, the thing that I love most about shooting film is the constancy it brought to my portfolio. The look of film is timeless and classic; the colors are natural so that when you look at the image you can be transported back to that moment. My wedding was shot on film and I love looking back at my images because the colors are true to the day and the moments.  I want my clients to be able to look back at their wedding images in 10 or 20 years and feel like they are right back in that moment because the colors are true to life and their photos don’t have that over-processed and filtered digital look. 

Film slows me down and keeps me focused on what is happening in my frame. When I started shooting film I noticed that I focused so much more attention to my light and overall composition of each image because it is so important to get it right the first time.  I don’t have the luxury of clicking away because each click of the shutter is pricey. 

Since beginning my film journey, I have had countless photographer friends asking about shooting on film. They’re incredibly intrigued but afraid to take the jump. Trust me, I completely understand how intimidating it can be.  However, I deeply believe it will push your creativity and photography to the next level. Yes, it does take some time to master film. You will need to practice and there will be trial and error, but if you stick with it I know you will be happy you did!  When I first started to transition from digital to film I would take on full shoots with just my film cameras and would leave my digital in the car.  I think immersing myself in it really helped me be able to dive in and learn quickly!!  I reached out to a lot of other film photographers with questions, I looked for second shooting opportunities with film photographers, and I attended workshops and mentorships. The thing that surprised me is that not only have I transformed my process and my business, but I have found a truly wonderful community of film photographers that I cherish learning, practicing, and growing with! So I wanted to share the love, just as other film photographers have done with me. I want to share the things I have learned with you. So this is the beginning of a series of film photography blog posts. I’m excited to share tips, tricks, and stories that I have picked up along the way. In the meantime, if you’re feeling like your in a creative rut, or been contemplating the switch to film, feel free to reach out to me! I’m here to answer your questions and share everything I can!



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