3 Reasons It’s Worth It To Shoot Film

Reason number 1 isn’t so you can feel cool. That’s number 4.


I’m a photographer and I love digital cameras. They’re portable, easy to use and you can take bazillions of photos with them without ever running out of space. Why in the wold would anybody still shoot with film?

Okay, first of all, you can’t actually shoot bazillions of photos with a digital camera. You will eventually run out of hard drive space. Or you’ll wear out the shutter on your camera. Or the buttons. But still, you can shoot many, many photos with a digital camera.

But I love shooting with film and in some cases it’s totally worth switching over to that good ol’ analog camera you’ve got lying around.

Here are 3 reasons it’s worth it to shoot film:

1. It forces you to slow down.

It’s rather difficult to shoot many, many photos in a short period of time with an analog camera. One reason is that in most cases you’re dealing with a piece of machinery, not a collection of computer chips and sensing units. It operates physically slower than a digital camera.

Another reason is that you’re physically limited in terms of the number of untaken pictures available.

If you only have 1 roll of film with 24 exposures available, you can only take 24 pictures.

This will force you to slow down and think about each shot you take.

When you’re shooting with film, it is actually possible to waste a shot.

While this might not work out very well if you’re trying to photograph a sporting event, it can work out in your favor if you’re shooting something a bit more slow-moving, or a subject you can more or less control.

By being limited to only taking a few pictures, you’ll be more aware of the ones you’re taking, you’ll take your time getting the exposure just right and you’ll be mindful of your composition.

2. It allows you to embrace authenticity.

It’s much easier to “doctor” a digital photograph than one taken with a film camera.

It’s almost like digital photographs exist to be edited. It’s easier than ever to achieve perfection with a digital photograph, which leads to many people striving for perfection in their images.

When you’re using a 30 year-old analog camera, you start to realize that perfection probably isn’t going to come out of that machine.

So instead of trying to achieve it, you start to focus more on the inherent beauty of capturing what was.

This may not be true for everyone, but it’s been true for me.

Most of the time you’re not going to be delivering images taken on film to a client. So there’s really no need for them to be perfect anyway.

3. It keeps you brushed up on your skills.

Oops. Yeah, not all your shots will come out that well.

Oops. Yeah, not all your shots will come out that well.

If you’re shooting with a film camera in “auto” mode, you’re doing it wrong.

If you want perfectly exposed pictures and don’t want flex your creative muscles so to speak, just use an iPhone, or a digital camera. There’s no point in going through the hassle of using a film camera if you don’t want to exercise full creative control. Seriously. You’ll get better results just using a digital camera.

Using a film camera and actually having to manually adjust exposure, and being willing to be wrong when your film is developed, allows you to brush up on your photography skills and possibly learn something new.

Anyone can take a picture with an iPhone. But it does take knowing what you’re doing to get a decent picture out of a 30+ year-old camera.

Bonus 4. You feel cool doing it.

I know I said 3 reasons, but I couldn’t help it. There is something undoubtedly “cool” about using a film camera in today’s binary world of 1s and 0s.

Bonus 5. You’re less likely to be robbed.

This might sound like a joke, but if you’re in a city known for muggings, you may be better off shooting with a film camera.

A shiny brand-new DSLR is much more appealing to a street criminal than a clunky-looking, worn old film camera.

Also generally speaking, if you do get robbed, an old film camera is going to be cheaper to replace.

There you have it 3+ reasons it’s worth it to shoot with film. I hope you find some value in these.

If you’re interested in shooting with film but don’t know what camera to get, my personal favorite is the Nikon F3. A super cheap one you can find anywhere that also works quite well is a Pentax K-1000.