Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to get started with analog photography

Okay, why would you want to shoot film when there are digital camera's out there? I'll tell you, it's much more fun! I love the look of those vintage camera's and the look of the photo's. And the surprise element of it is also fun. You don't know what the photos you took look like until they're developed. But were to start, and how does all this stuff work? I'll share some tips here for you guys.
Well the first thing you'll need is a camera. There are so many different types of camera's. They all look different and 90% of them looks awesome, but there is also a big percentage of camera's that are broken. Here are some tips on how to get one that suits you for an affordable price. 

-Where to get a pretty vintage camera- 
They don't sell these things in the supermarket so where to get them? Flea markets are great, but you have got to be a little patient, finding one can take some time.  Something you should try is asking your friends and family if they have an old camera somewhere in there house. They probably didn't use it for years and are happy someone els can have fun with it and give it to you for free. Most old cameras aren't worth much. Personally I would never buy a camera for more than 20 euros unless it's really special. I advice not to buy them online, because these camera's are mostly a bit overpriced and you can't check if they are not broken.
-what kind of camera do you want?-
All that a camera has to do is project the light of the scene you want to photograph on the film. Some camera's can't do much more than that but others have a lot of options and buttons. Don't be afraid when you see a camera with a lot of buttons. When you're a beginner in photography and don't know yet how to use shutter speed and aperture to get good photo's you probably want a camera with a automatic exposure function or one that has a build in light meter. When your camera hasn't got a build in light meter this might come in handy. SLR camera's are really nice to work with because you can see though the lens, this enables you to focus more precisely. When you can't look trough the lens focusing is just guessing. There are also simpler camera's with a fixed focus, like Polaroids, which means you can't focus, but mostly you get pretty sharp images anyway. So ideal for beginners is a SLR camera with a auto exposure mode. I wouldn't advice a Polaroid or other instant cameras because the film for them is so expensive, although they are much fun.
-What kind of film do you need?-
So you have an awesome camera, now you'll need some film for in it. There are a few things to pay attention to:
Size: Film can come in quite some sizes, the most camera's use 35mm film. That are the ordinary film cannisters. This is the type of film you can still buy in some shops. In almost all 35mm film canisters there is room for 36 photos. Then there are bigger 120mm film rolls or medium format film. There are also a lot of camera's that use this type of film. Mostly there fit about 12 photos on each roll. There are more types of film but I have no experience with them and they are much more rare than these two sizes. When you are a beginner or can't develop your own film I advice to stick with the 35mm film and with a 35mm film camera. The type of film a camera shoots is also an important thing to pay attention to when selecting a camera. There are places where they do sell and develop other film sizes but they are harder to find. 
ISO: Besides different sizes of film there are more things to pay attention to when selecting film. One thing is the ISO number of the film, the higher the number the more sensitive it is to light. When shooting outside in daylight ISO 100 is just fine. But when you want to shoot inside a lot you might like ISO 400 film. In most cases an ISO between 100 and 400 works fine. Mostly you can turn a wheel on your camera to set the ISO number of the film you're using so that the camera knows how to expose the photos.
Type: Then there are different types of film. There is black and withe, color and slide film. Slide film doesn't produce negatives like the other kinds of film but shows the scene in correct colors. This type of film is meant to view in slide shows, you can scan the images with a scanner to have them digital and print them. But color negative film is most ordinary to use.
TIP: when the film package says 'develop before 1996' you can still use it. That date indicates the time that they can guarantee that the colors and stuff will come out normally. But a bit weird colors are fun so it's only more awesome.
-How to use a vintage camera-
 So you have got that camera, and some film. Now lets take some photos! err, how? The first step is putting the film in the camera, youtube is your friend on this one. Search for 'how to load film in a ... camera' with your camera type in the place of the dots. 
And you might find a video where someone explains it. A user manual can be very handy too, if it didn't come with your camera try googeling for it. Something that helps understanding your camera too is chating with the former owner, he/she probably knows a lot about the camera. So when buying one, don't hesitate to ask a few questions about the camera. 
     When you have shot your photos you'll need to get your film developed. There are still some places that do this for you. Places with photo printing cervices like some department stores often offer this service. There are also some websites that offer this and than you'll have to send your film to them, I never tried this myself. An other alternative is experimenting with developing film yourself. But I wouldn't try that until you are completely comfortable with analog photography.
Tip: don't shoot important memory's the first time you try out a camera, if something goes wrong and your photos are ruined you'll lose these important photos, and that would be pretty sad. 
Wow that became a little longer story than I intended, what can I say I just love talking about camera's. If you have any questions or if something isn't completely clear just ask me! remember google is your friend when it comes to learning something new like this.


  1. I loved this post! I am getting a camera soon. All your cameras + film are just so quirky and cute! Love your blog, I followed x

    1. Thank you! I'm really glad I inspired someone to get into analog photography. It really is a lot of fun I promise. Lots of luck