To celebrate the release of our Go Offline & Be Inspired Book, we’ve been setting a series of Offline Challenges to give you a taste of what’s inside. To finish off our series, we’re sharing one of our favourite challenges – rediscovering film photography. There’s something so special about learning how to use your camera and then the anticipation of waiting for your prints to arrive. To help you gain the confidence to try this gorgeous practice, here are a few tips to get you started.
Choosing your camera
If you’re just starting out shooting on film, don’t splurge on an expensive camera straight away. There are so many great second hand options out there. Explore flea markets or look online for cheap cameras to experiment with. And don’t be afraid of wasting film. The best way to get started is to just experiment by snapping away and then learning from your developed prints.
Playing with settings
It takes a while before you’ll feel confident at choosing the perfect setting for each shot you take. Experiment by taking the same picture with several different apertures and shutter speeds, writing down the different combinations in a Notebook. When you get the film developed, examine how the different settings changed the appearance of each shot. Now you’ll have a better idea of which to use next time. Try this technique with several different lighting conditions too.
Getting the perfect shot
Because of the costs involved with buying and developing film, you’ll probably want to think more about setting up each shot. Pause to think about things like framing and composition. For example, if you’re taking a portrait or close-up, think about balancing each element, as well as the finding the perfect crop. For wider shots, it’s useful to use the rule of three. Think about your image as a grid of three horizontal and three vertical lines. Place elements of interest along the intersecting points to find the perfect composition.
Finding your light
The best thing about film photography is the unique flaws and lighting effects you can create – no two pictures are alike. For each shot, think about how the lighting will add to the photograph. Try shooting first thing in the morning and at dusk to get that soft, gold lighting that will make your photos gorgeous. And don’t be afraid to ask your subjects to move into better lighting if this will get a better shot. Once you’ve gained confidence at shooting on film, you can try out techniques like lens flare and silhouettes.