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Why It's Important To Think Like A Film Photographer

So in the digital age, we have the ability to take thousands of photos a month, not including the ones on our phones. But does that make us better photographers? Just because more people are able to take pictures, doesn't mean that there are more people that are taking GOOD pictures.

When film photography was the thing (like anytime pre 1990). It was expensive to be a photographer. (wait, it still is...) Not very many people did it professionally, so you were paying a lot of money to hire someone with a certain skill set. For those that were photographers as a hobby, they at least at basic knowledge to take decent photos. They had to know what a good picture looked like, or they would waste so much money in film!

Each shot had to count when you shot film. You only had 24 or so exposures on a roll. You could go on a whole vacation and only shoot 2 rolls of film. But If you knew what you wanted, each shot told a different story, that was timeless and beautiful. Unlike now, where your trip to mexico is about 1,000 pictures of the coffee you drank that morning in 5 different instagram filters.

There are certain things that we can learn from the film age. There was no LOOKING AT THE BACK OF YOUR CAMERA. You really had to know exactly what you wanted to take a picture of.

We call constant looking at the back of your camera in the digital age "chimping." I have no idea where that came from. But there is nothing more annoying than trying to look after every shot and miss the moment.

I try only to chimp if I am setting up my settings for a shot. After that, I shoot away, if my lighting is the same. My Nikon d750, especially while shooting RAW, doesn't allow me to chimp easily. It loads and loads and loads after every five images or so. So I really have to know what I want. It does get annoying at wedding receptions, when I really need to how the shot is looking, but I can't a lot of times. After the wedding, I am always surprised to see some shots that I didn't even know that I took!

If I was a film photographer, I would have to have my vision set up in my mind on what I wanted before I even took a picture. I couldn't just "spray and pray" and hope that one image would be nice.

Developing film was so expensive back in the day. Having mistakes while taking a picture would cost you time and money. Film photographers understood that they needed to know exactly what they wanted before taking a picture. They would often walk around with notebooks and a little light meter tool to help them get the right exposure with out even taking a picture. Wedding photographers had to go for hours to write down their setttings before actually taking a wedding photo. If they got the wrong settings, there was no photoshop, there was no fixing it! They had to get it right in camera, every time!

Film photographers had to tell a story. They didn't have time to waste on a boring photo of your cat sleeping in your laundry basket. They didn't have time to waste on a selfie shot in the bathroom, unless there was a reason for it. They had to tell a story that would sell and make money, if they were that kind of person.

I would love to see your photos using these principles: Hashtag me on Twitter (@_MarshallArts_) , instagram (@chicamarsh) or facebook (@Marshallartsstudio)!

Keep Shooting!


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