Shooting With Film

May 26, 2011

images by Sarah Wert

I woke up this morning thinking it was Saturday. And it was such a downer when I realized it wasn’t. So dumb! Do you ever do that?

I love these behind the scenes shots from our photoshoot last weekend. The photographer was Sarah, of Modern Kids, which is based in San Francisco. Sarah was on a vacation here in Normandy and when she realized how close we were, she offered to come by.

I didn’t know this until Sarah started taking pictures, but she’s currently shooting only with film. And she uses a giant old camera (which she let Ralph try out). Isn’t that the coolest? She’s getting the rolls developed next week. I can’t wait to see the results.

I don’t think I’ve bought a roll of film in 10 years. Do you ever shoot with film? Or even have a film camera?

P.S. — Sarah is fabulous! She’s lived everywhere and knows all sorts of interesting things. My kids fell in love with her instantly. As she was leaving Oscar called out, “I love you Sarah! You can come stay with us anytime. Just skype us and we’ll tell you where we live!!”

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah May 26, 2011 at 4:35 am

Although Sarah your photographer, does indeed sound great – your son Oscar sounds adorable!? And isn’t it just the mark of modern times – digital and transient as they are – that he offered to provide your location via skype? Ha!

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2 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 6:18 am

I thought the same thing! I love that from what he can tell, skype is how people communicate when they’re not together.

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3 k a t y May 26, 2011 at 5:56 am

I love how open children are to new people. That Oscar. Makes me want my sixth, and also my last, to be a boy. I’m not very sentimental either (referring to June’s Weaning), but I find I’m having similar thoughts to yours with this being my last pregnancy, trying to enjoy and savor each moment.

Yes, I still have my SLR Nikon that shoots with film I haven’t used in about 6 or 7 years. It still has a roll of film in it…like a little time capsule.

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4 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 6:19 am

Can you imagine how exciting it will be when you decide to have that film developed?

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5 Connie May 26, 2011 at 6:12 am

I work as a photographer, and though I own a film camera, I haven’t used it in many, many years. I like digital photography for the same reason I like oil paint (I’m a painter first, photographer second :) I find that digital photography is beautifully forgiving. I can take 100 shots, and you know what? It’s okay! I will only go through the process of retouching and perfecting perhaps 25 of those shots-maybe less! It lets me just be in the moment of snapping images.
That being said, I can certainly appreciate film because it forces you to be in that moment. I once forced myself to paint solely in watercolors for a full year simply because it sharpened my skills-there is no going back in watercolor, neither can you in film.

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6 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 6:19 am

I’m such an admirer of self-discipline. I love that you only worked in watercolor for a year!

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7 Sara May 26, 2011 at 7:09 am

Can’t wait to see the pictures! And, I LOVE Oscar’s comment!!

We only use digital, and have for about 10 years. I remember my parents got us our first digital camera the Christmas before we got married and at the same time, my then-fiance got me a new point and shoot film camera! He was excited to have the digital one, but felt a bit disappointed about my gift. I used it for about a year, but never went back. I think if I knew more about photography and we had a better film camera, I might be tempted occasionally, but it’s hard to resist the instant gratification and the ability to take so many shots without thinking about it that comes with digital.

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8 Angel May 26, 2011 at 7:22 am

Oscar is so adorable!

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9 Sandra Gonzales May 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

Really…do you dip your kids in cuteness when they’re born? Oscar’s an old fashion sweetheart.

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10 Sharon Johnson May 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

1.5 years ago I switched from digital to 100% film.. and I have never looked back. Film offers a saturation, contrast, grain and overall feeling that, for me, digital can never come close to. Film also MAKES you be better, and learn faster, because you cant shoot off 100 frames… well you can… : ) but it is pricey! I have grown SOOO much as a photographer in the last 1.5 year, it is incredible. I try to get convince as many people as I can to pick up a roll of film and old 35mm. It is so great to hear that more people are going back to this natural way of shooting.

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11 ryan May 26, 2011 at 10:08 am

I am making that transition now. I have blogged about it a few times and love that you posted this today. Makes me so happy to see it. Love that Contax she is using, they are hard to find, but in the right knowing hands can make some gorgeous photos. Get in touch about camera talk :)

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12 Sarah May 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

Gabrielle, I can’t tell you enough what a wonderful time I had with your incredible family. The kids just blew me away with their curiosity, enthusiasm, and overall warmth towards me and each other. I got hugs within the first few seconds of stepping into your French home and of course all of the hugs as I left. Oscar, put a smile on my face the entire rest of my day when he professed his love to me. What an incredible kid! Thank you all again and again. I can’t wait to share the images with you very soon.

p.s. On the film vs. digital front: We do shoot a little bit of digital to keep costs lower for our families but I’ll be offering more film-only shoots this year to families who want that experience. My mom taught me photography many, many years ago on a film camera and that experience has stuck with me. I found after several years of shooting digitally that I’m craving the slowness of film. I’m more thoughtful when I shoot film and I shoot much less than I would digitally but somehow the results are always better. I also like the final product better; from the bit of grain to the contrast to the beautiful skin tones. One of my favorite parts of shooting film is having more time in general. I do not spend as many hours processing thousands of digital files anymore. What a relief!

There are advantages and disadvantages to both but if your readers have never shot film or haven’t in a while I’d encourage them to pick up their old SLRs (everyone has these lying around, no?). It’s good to slow down sometimes and it’s a great way to brush up on your photography skills. Thank you again, Gabi!

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13 Cris Marsh May 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

I have been a day off all this week…I thought Tuesday was Wednesday and Wednesday was Thursday! I am so glad tomorrow is Friday, it has been a long week.
The last time I used actual film was our trip to South Africa in 2004. We had trouble with our camera and alot of our pictures were ruined. After that experience we purchase a digital camera.

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14 Gesche May 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Ohhh I’m so curious about your photos! And that’s what I love most about film! It’s alway a suprise to pick up the photos from the shop. And opening the envelope is a very exciting moment. I like both – film and digital. But I use the digital camera for the photos in my blog – I can use the photos immediately an I know directly if they are fine.
But when I’m on holidays I like film more especially my little Lomo-Fisheye. I took it to Amsterdam some weeks ago and I found a lot of old photos from other trips on the film, too! What a nice suprise! And the pictures are great and absolutley unpredictable.

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15 Ashlea Walter May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

So excited to see the photos and I loved Sarah’s thoughts she just shared on the slowness of film v. digital. Thought-provoking post. So happy I still have my old Minolta!

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16 Erin May 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I have a great old film camera (with great lenses), but the convenience of digital has taken over. I think I probably have a lot more quantity, rather than quality, though. Not bad, since I’m more inclined to take my small digital everywhere- therefore capturing more “moments”. This also makes me think of something I’ve been pondering since I visited my girlfriend and her newborn in the hospital this weekend. She said the hospital baby picture (those horribly ugly ones we all have) now come w/ the option of photoshopping. I don’t know how I feel about that, but it really bothers me to think we will have an entire generation of children who will grow up and be shocked when their own babies have baby acne! I’ve seen several bloggers who’ve mentioned photoshopping their kids to make eyes brighter, teeth not chipped, etc.. and it makes me sad. The older I get the more I see the beauty of children in their “imperfections”. Sorry, not really what you were asking, but with the digital age of cameras and photoshop I guess it’s possible to go through life w/o a single “awkward” photo (or realistic image)! I think film cameras give us a more accurate view of history!

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17 Lindsey Stewart May 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I love shooting with film! I still shoot digital, but film is where my heart (and wallet!) is. Can’t wait to see the photos :)

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18 the emily May 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

My photographer friend who took my family pictures last November shoots exclusively with film. I would be scared to do that (what if it didn’t load and you miss an entire wedding or something??) but I love the way film looks, so much better than digital to me. You actually featured her bathtime photo shoot on one of your link days a few weeks ago. She’s amazing. I love film, but I would be really scared to use it exclusively.

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19 Miss Stovetop May 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Hahahaha… I love that kid. Hugs to Oscar from Dubai. :)

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20 bdaiss May 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

It’s been a long long time since I shot film. I grew up with a dark room in the basement that I tinkered in with my dad, and development is something I’d love to learn more about and explore. But I’m afraid my husband barely puts up with my digital obsession. I can’t imagine how he’d react if I asked for a dark room. : )

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21 the mrs May 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I cried when my old film camera broke and they told me it was obsolete.
Yay for film!

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22 juliagblair May 27, 2011 at 8:23 am

The photos of Ralph with the big camera and Oscar with the stand and the girls surrounded in beauty…….such precious dreams to awaken to!
Enjoy Paris!

And of course, the tender pictures of Ben and June are treasures!

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23 charlotte May 28, 2011 at 12:42 am

what a lovely thing to do. i only shoot film as it just feels right to me. i grew up shooting with it and although i experimented in digital for a short while i quickly went back to my film cameras as, for me, nothing compares to the results that it gives. i’m teaching our eight year old niece to shoot with it at the moment and i love seeing her little face behind an enormous film camera – just like in the top shot, brilliant!

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24 film gordon May 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Your kids are super cute. Great pic with the tripod.

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25 Whitney May 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

We shoot with film and use a contax for our wedding business. The images turn out so pretty, romantic, and perfect every time. You just can get the same feeling with a digital camera, no matter how much post processing you do. Check out this shoot where we used the Contax film camera:
http://www.lavenderandtwinebride.com/2011/05/the-secret-garden/
I cannot wait to see your family photos this year!

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26 tiffani June 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

Jonathan Canlas is the most brilliant photographer.
and he ONLY shoots in film. you should check him out..

:) http://canlasphotography.blogspot.com/

I don’t own a film camera that still WORKS, i have an old Chinon that i can’t seem to make work, but i surely love film. it adds such a wonderful touch to each captured moment.

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