Who of us isn’t using a DSLR or mirrorless camera for everyday shooting? No worries, no digital photography shaming intended! The digitalisation of art is just an effect of the natural order of things.
The technological progress offers us much facilitation and it’s perfectly fine to benefit from it — as artists, as well! There’s only one condition — do it responsibly. What does it mean from a photographer’s point of view? And what can bring reaching for the analogue techniques? Let’s see!
The Challenge of Digitalisation
It’s especially tricky if you already work as a photographer and maybe even have your own business in the field. To stay afloat you just need to use digital cameras and photo editing software — portrait lightroom presets for professionals or photoshop filters for landscape photography sure aren’t unfamiliar to you. But doesn’t it sometimes cause artistic remorse?
Digital post-processing of photos is the norm nowadays. It’s perfectly reasonable that we want to make life easier and increase our work efficiency. The problem appears when we lose the distinction between being efficient at work and being a creative artist eager to experiment and discover new techniques.
It’s especially confusing for young, beginning photographers that grew up surrounded by the blessings of technology and for whom traditional film cameras are rather a curiosity than an actual photography tool.
A Relict of the Photographic Past?
Don’t get me wrong — I’m fully aware that there still are whole legions of film photography fans (just as of e.g., vinyl records) and I’m definitely not worried that this kind of art will ever disappear. What bothers me is the fact that traditional photography has become a niche.
Young people shooting with film cameras on the streets are ironically called hipsters while all they do is trying to rediscover analogue photography. These hipsters are not only keeping the photographic tradition alive but they also are mastering photography as a craft which is, generally speaking, a highly neglected aspect of this art genre.
I’m not saying that film photography rules over the world of photography. I’d just like to make the unaware part of the photographic society realise how crucial it is to learn the very basics and stimulate their analogue, creative thinking.
Deep Understanding of How Cameras Work
Learning the specificity of using film camera makes it more clear how your DSLR works. Practising traditional photography helps you develop a better intuition for using digital cameras and understand the exact functions of their features and different shooting modes.
Getting into the roots of today’s photography is as necessary for a modern photographer as learning to draw on paper first for e.g., a digital comics artist or a graphic designer. It’s the exact relation.
Making friends with traditional cameras supports the development of your technical skills in the long run. Working hard on the technical aspects of photography and depending on the camera only while photo shooting will also make you a more efficient photography entrepreneur — you won’t need to spend so much of your precious time improving the images in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Take Care of Your Creative Thinking
It might appear that film camera limits your artistic possibilities, whereas it’s actually the opposite! The lack of additional modes or the possibility of changing the lens gives your brain an opportunity to stimulate the process of creative thinking and problem-solving.
Digital cameras, image manipulation software, Instagram filters… Even though so helpful, they, unfortunately, make us lazy! Bad picture? Whatever, I can correct it later. Digital photography and technological features really can disrupt an artist’s workflow!
Setting your mind to analogue mode, as well, will help you embrace the opportunities of film photography fully.
Optimize Your Ability of Quick Decision-Making
Good reflexes are another feature of a successful photographer. Stimulated creative thinking that we’ve mentioned above has a huge impact on your decision-making process and perceptiveness, as well.
Shooting with a film camera makes you extremely focused — like a wolf going for hunting. You only have around 30 film frames to use and a little time to choose the right settings for capturing a given moment.
Make Smart Moves
Going for a walk with a film camera has another distinctive advantage — it makes you move! Not just walking around on the streets looking for nice shots but to use your whole body while photographing.
You’re limited with the only lens’ focal length so you’re forced to move closer to a photographed object or walk away from it a bit. It might feel a little awkward at the very beginning but the more you experiment with the camera the more comfortable and confident you’ll get!
Change Your Perspective on Photography
Understanding the analogue photography techniques and their complexity teaches you respect for the history and tradition of photography. Reaching for classic photography gives a whole new perspective on where we are now as artists and how lucky we are to have so many opportunities to discover and experiment with.
Don’t ever stop exploring and trying out new methods regardless of other people will be saying. Stay open-minded, creative, and respectful towards your profession. We tend to forget where the technology progress has its beginnings and we often neglect the classic education.
To become a better and better photographer every day, you need to get a proper basis for your knowledge and technical skills. Turning to film photography at least once in a while will help you achieve that!