model laying down on beach for film photography photos

A Deep Dive into Film Photography; What to shoot with and how to get started

Why I love Film Photography

There’s no denying that the film photography has made an unmistakable comeback. The way a film camera captures moments is unlike any DSLR camera- the grain and grittiness of the photo create a series of imperfect, perfect pictures. As social media continues to paint images of perfect photos of people with perfect lives, families, and careers, film photos challenge this preconceived notion and add unique contrast.

Unlike modern photography, the film evokes a sense of nostalgia and timelessness in each photograph. When analyzing a film photo, the only way to depict the time era it was taken is by paying attention to small details such as clothing or trends or the background of the photo- adding a sense of mystery. Each photograph has its intentions and story, ensuring that no two will be exactly alike.

film photo of groom kissing bride

bride and groom leaning into each other

far shot of bride and groom leaning into each other

film photography of bride and groom holding hands at the beach

What film camera do I shoot with?

This is a very common question I get asked frequently! There are so many different types of film cameras and endless options of brands to choose from; however, my go-to cameras for film photography are 35mm and polaroids. Along with those, I have a variety of point-and-shoot and a couple of SLR cameras. When shooting different sessions, I like to switch up the camera I’m using depending on the overall look I aim to achieve. Lighting, venue, and time of day are all significant factors that play into the decision-making process when choosing which camera to operate for film photography. Seeing how each camera can create its own version of an image is so satisfying! 

model is standing against the tree

boyfriend is carrying girlfriend on the beach

bride and groom walking along rocks on the shoreline

groom is hugging bride from behind

film photography shot of the bride

How to get started in film photography

The notorious question that many want the answers to. With film photography on the rise, this has increased interest and desire to try out this finicky artistic side of photography. I’ve compiled a few of my top recommendations from frequently asked questions from beginners interested in getting into the film photography industry.

portraits of bride and groom

couple is running along the beach together

two portraits of the couple hugging and kissing

Which film camera should I get?

For those wanting to get into and try film photography- I recommend one of these two cameras- Canon AE-1 or a camera that is 35mm. Let’s start with the Canon AE-1; this trusty camera is known for its durability and reliability, especially for a beginner! A camera that shoots 35mm film is my other recommendation for its widespread format, which is versatile with a wide variety of equipment. 

bride and groom are kissing

portrait of bride and groom

portraits of the bride and groom getting ready

Where to buy film cameras?

The options for this question are endless. Some people have antique cameras passed down from older family members to use ( I am incredibly jealous!). Others enjoy the conquest of rummaging through thrift stores until they find the perfect one. If you want to purchase one from a store to avoid the risk of the camera needing repairs, I would suggest checking out KEH, Roberts Camera, or B&H. Buying from a dealer will be slightly more expensive, but you have assured peace of mind and reliability.

black and white shot of couple holding hands and walking along the beach

couple is hugging

black and white shot of couple holding umbrellas and walking away from camera

Film and where to find it 

Basic film cameras record their images on print and slide film, usually in black and white. In terms of beginner status, I advise starting with negative film (color film) because it’s the least expensive and the easiest to develop. It’s easy to make mistakes when shooting film photography, so the option that costs you the least money is always the wisest!

When looking for places to buy film, you are guaranteed any camera store to supply it. Be careful to always look at the expiration date because film does expire and causes images to have uncertain results.

black and white shot of bride and groom

bride and groom are walking towards the ocean

bride and groom are kissing and holding hands

couple is looking away from camera

Where to develop film?

If you are interested in doing film photography, then it’s no surprise that you will need to take it to a lab to get it developed. Most cities have labs accessible to those needing one, but there are also mail options. When getting your film printed, you can usually expect to get digital and paper copies of your photos. Some also offer cut-rate processing, which means getting rid of your negatives and downloading your scans. I advise you not to do this! Keep the negatives just in case you want to get scans again in the future or have them reprinted!

family photos sitting on

family photos at the beach

black and white shot of mom and daughter

close up shots of kids at the beach

shot of kids sitting on a log

In conclusion

I can’t express enough my passion for film photography and the happiness it has brought me in my business. I feel that film is the cherry on top when offering clients my services, as it adds to the uniqueness of different shoots. I’ve been able to expand my photography skills and challenge my creative abilities by shooting film. For those curious about film or want to add it to their photography package- do it! I can’t emphasize enough how much it has leveled up my client’s galleries by adding natural, raw, and authentic photos that DSLRs can’t quite comprehend. Film photography has made its way back into the digital world and is here to stay!

shots of couples on the beach

couple is swimming in the ocean

bride is getting ready for wedding

shots of bride and groom

getting ready detail shots

More Related Topics

Film Inspired Hawaii Mountain Elopement

Vintage Inspired Couples Session on Oahu, HI


You’re looking to have a full experience completely customized to you and your unique story. I’m thrilled to bring an intentional, unfussy but elegant approach to your love story, capturing all of the candids and little microstories throughout your day. This way you can relax and focus on celebrating with your loved ones, with no moments missed-from pre-ceremony preparations to your last dance.