Digital photography is gaining popularity and scope, but analog film photography techniques are thriving among professional and amateur photographers. Although analog cameras are more difficult to find, there are still many film cameras on the market.

Exploring film photography is a rewarding and fun way to expand your photographic skills. These are some of the most important points to remember when shooting film.

Understanding the basics of film photography

Understanding the Basics of Film Photography

To create photographic exposures, the first analog cameras used metal sheets and glass coated with chemicals. Back then, photography setups were large and complicated. You also needed to be trained and make a significant financial investment in order to start.

Photography became a more affordable hobby after the introduction of 35mm film, and other popular types of film.

How film photography works

The photographic film is made up of strips of plastic coated with a chemical adhesive. The camera records exposures when the emulsion on the negative film is exposed to light.

The darkroom removes any light sensitive chemicals from film and locks the exposures in the roll of film. This allows you to create photographic prints.

Different types of films

There are several common types of film. Most fall under the black-and-white, color, and slide categories.

Both black-and-white and color film are types of negative film. Negatives will show dark areas of the image, while prints will show areas that are lighter.

Slide film creates a positive image. Therefore, areas that look light on film will appear brighter when projected onto a screen. Dark areas will stay dark.

You will need either black-and-white or color negative film to make prints in the darkroom.

What are the differences between film photography and digital photography?

What Are the Differences Between Film Photography and Digital Photography? - 42West, Adorama

When shooting film, the mechanisms of photography are identical to digital photography. Both digital and film cameras use the same camera settings to control exposure, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO. There are key differences between them.

Digital vs. Physical

The method of recording an image is what makes film cameras different from digital cameras. Film cameras such as 35mm cameras, point and shoots, and SLRs record an exposure onto a negative film film, while digital cameras like DSLRs or mirrorless cameras capture images using a digital sensor. Images are then saved to a memory stick.

Film can be more challenging

Film photography is more difficult than digital photography. It takes longer to review your images, and you can check your progress. Film photography supplies can be less expensive at first, but you will eventually spend more money on film rolls and developing your film. Your main investment in digital cameras is made upfront.

What to Look for in a Film Camera

What to Look For in an Analog Camera

You will need an analog camera and at least one lens to start film photography. Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm are some of the most popular brands for analog cameras. You should also check out other brands such as Pentax, Lomography, and Mamiya for analog cameras. You should also consider buying an analog camera used, as not many camera companies make new film cameras.


When shopping for a film camera, think about your future plans. For greater creative flexibility, SLR cameras offer great versatility. You can add lenses to your collection at any time. While they offer less flexibility, point-and-shoot cameras are often very affordable.


Some cameras require that you manually advance film frames with a film advance lever. Some film cameras can be powered by batteries and automate certain parts of the process, such as loading and advance film.

As a film photographer, how to get comfortable

Getting Comfortable Shooting with Film

It can be both fun and frustrating to practice shooting film. You may lose a roll of film, no matter how careful you are with your settings.

You can practice your skills by purchasing film in bulk, or even using expired film. You can start with simple film and work your way up to the more complex types. You can then start investing in more expensive and unique types of film once you feel more confident.

Practice makes perfect, as with all photography. You’ll improve your skills as a photographer if you do more work with it.