Film Unpredictable?!?

April 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Over the past year or so I have run across several blogs of current “photographers” who seem to believe it is not possible, or that it is hard, or unusual to produce good work using…gasp….FILM!!

Here is a quote from one such blog: “I stumbled across the website for XXXX XXXX. He was producing beautiful work and doing it entirely on film. This is possible, I thought.”

This is possible? I seriously wonder do these people think photography just began with a digital camera?

Here is yet another quote from a different blog: “I don’t mind film for unpredictable results when creating personal artwork or on the side as an added bonus, but it has reminded me that I will not rely on it for a client who is paying for consistent and reliable results. I will not put my clients in a situation in which my choice to use film has resulted in a lack of coverage or an undesirable outcome.”

Unpredictable results? Lack of coverage?

I am sorry, but all these previous posts point out is that there are a lot of people out there selling themselves as photographers who have NO CONCEPT of the craft of photography.

Digital is a new addition to the world of professional photography. For all you who think film is unpredictable and not worthy of using on a paying gig…get a bloody clue. We were shooting film in every circumstance you can possibly imagine and were delivering quality images that were as good as or better than what is delivered from most people using a digital camera today.

In my opinion all these blog posters showed was their lack of understanding of the craft of photography. To be a true professional and master of the craft of photography it really should not matter what kind of camera you use, it is just a tool. You should understand light, how your camera captures that light, how your recording media records that light.

In the days of shooting slide film (chromes) most photographers settled on one type of film and knew exactly how it would respond. I know whenever I shot a different kind of film I did tests to find that films true ISO, to see how it pushed or pulled, to see how it worked recording “magic hour” light and so on. To not do this was asking for trouble. Nothing like grabbing a box of Velvia that Fuji said was an ISO 50 film and shooting it at that only to learn it worked far better rated at ISO 32.

I will say this, if a photographer says they can not get consistent and reliable results with film then I’d be willing to bet that you are looking at a photographer who uses Photoshop to fix their lack of ability. They are not getting consistent and reliable results in digital either.

With film, in particular chromes, you either get it right or you don’t. Film is more of a test of your abilities than digital is, it is a final, complete, one frame at a time test.


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