Getting into Film Photography in 2021

Before now, film photography had several advantages over digital photography because of its higher image quality. Today’s digital images boast more than 43.5 megapixels, but that has not caused a decline in the sales of analog films and cameras. We shall find out why and also give you some valuable tips to start your journey in the world of analog photography.

What is the meaning of film photography?

Analog and film photography share many similarities because they both describe image technology used with light-sensitive chemical compounds. However, analog photography is broader and encompasses films because you can also take analog photos with hard photographic plates or papers.Film photography photos are highly durable if properly stored, although they are more expensive and tend to be damaged during development or shooting than digital photos.

Types of Film Cameras Today

The Single-Lens Reflex, rangefinder, and Twin-Lens Reflex cameras are types of film cameras that can help you achieve accurate focusing through triangulation. You can create a 3D image effect using stereo, instant polaroid, and point-and-shoot film cameras. To shoot larger images, large format and panoramic cameras are used.

Common Types of Photographic Films

The common types of photographic films include black and white, colour negative,and infrared films. These films come in different sizes or formats. There is plenty of experimentation possible with so many different films at varying ISOs; each allowing for a range of fantastic results. After getting the films developed you’ll notice that certain films have specific qualities like grain, colour and tone.

Film Photography Tips for Beginners 

The following tips may be suitable for a beginner in film photography:

  • For an obvious place to start, make use of a 35mm film size:

As a beginner, you can start with a 35mm film because it allows you to choose different camera types and offers less stress when developing your films. It also allows you to take up to 36 pictures, unlike the large or medium film that are restricted to 16 frames. The Leica M-A, Nikon F2, Pentax K1000, etc. are excellent camera choices for this film size. There’s a huge amount of used film cameras online that suit every budget.

  • Master and surpass the rule of the exposure triangle:

By mastering the exposure triangle rule, you can avoid wasting your films. Photographers handling manual cameras set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO of their cameras. When setting your analog camera, consider the subject, film potential, and scene illumination. A higher ISO, wider aperture, and slower shutter speed produce a lighter frame. High ISO means higher sensitivity to light so generally speaking you can capture more detail in lower light situations. The aperture controls the camera lens hole and its size basically so a wider aperture means more light gets into the camera to hit the film or sensor – be careful with opening it up too much on well-lit subjects because you may overexpose the frame and lose all detail – unless that’s what you want of course!

  • Learn how to focus using the trial by error method:

It may be difficult to focus on images using the autofocus feature in analog cameras because it is slow (and some film cameras don’t have this feature either), and your subject may go outside your frame. Use manual focus technique by training your eye and focusing on static objects before moving on to capture moving objects.

  • Learn how to shoot in black and white:

Shooting in black and white helps you to master the art of working with shadow, light, and shapes. Learn the classic black and white type of photography from the onset. Consider the frame composition, textures, forms, shapes, and contrast when using monochrome films. You should also avoid using flash due to its unpredictable effect but it’s certainly worth exploring after feeling comfortable with your camera.

  • Consider lines, the golden ratio rule, and frames:

Make use of time-tested composition rules in balancing your composition to produce more appealing photographs.  Center the subject by placing it at the 3.3 grid line intersections and creating frames around your primary subject. A good place to explore this is actually on digital cameras because you can overlay grids on the viewfinder or LCD display to see this in effect. Again, this is not necessary but there is a golden ratio rule for a reason – it does produce appealing images. But with photography, experimentation and exploration serves the photographer best so while it’s good to look into rules and ratios that exist for a reason, find what works for you.

  • Try to do tricks that you cannot do with digital cameras:

With film photography, you can do several visual effects that are impossible to carry out using digital cameras. Some of these tricks include push and pull photography used to achieve interesting depths and halftones, or expired film photography, producing unpredictable or futuristic colours from expired films. You can also try out the double exposure trick by producing images with multiple exposures – there is plenty to be explored in the darkroom too.


You can improve your photography skills and find creative ways to produce outstanding images using analog photography. Since film cameras are semi-automated, you can develop your skills using the trial by error technique and develop exceptional photographic discoveries.

Author Bio:

Andrew Farron works for Fable Studios, a Creative-led boutique video and animation studio that creates tailored brand stories that endure in your audience’s mind. Fable combines your objectives with audience insights and inspired ideas to create unforgettable productions that tell the unique story of your brand.

Post Author: Kailyn Jay