Film Photography tips- for beginners

When it comes to trying out something new, you want to get as much knowledge and learning as possible to improve whatever you are interested in, for me it is film photography. I’m still new to it but so far I’ve learnt quite a few things and I’m loving every bit of it. I was quite surprised that film photography is still very much alive and I am thrilled that it is not forgotten, I enjoy recreating images the old-fashioned way. if you want to get into photography I feel that you need to shoot in film even if it’s just once, because shooting in film really teaches you the depth of photography. Here are some beginner film photography tips that I’ve learnt.

Choosing your film

There is so much film to choose from when starting out with a film camera. Film photography has come such a long way from large format, medium and 35mm which most people use for film photography. Depending on the cameras you are using you should experiment with different film formats and go out shooting because there is such a wide variety of them, whether it is black and white or colour. They all react differently to light creating textures, grains, overlaying, stronger definition, clashing of colours that appear surreal and nostalgic.

But definitely experiment as many as you can it will help you learn how film works, they all process differently, find which one works best with your camera and which is more your style. Some film you work with may not always give you the results so its just a matter of practicing and learning how to work with it. You can look at other peoples work for inspiration and just have fun.

Learn to develop your film

When you get into film photography you should learn how to develop your own film as a photographer, I think you get to appreciate it more, you see the work that goes into it and it is your work you should learn to do it yourself. It is a pretty easy process and inexpensive you can purchase the equipment for a decent price. It makes you feel good to develop your own film and you appreciate the meticulous work that goes into it and it’s quite interesting when the film appears exposed to the chemicals.

I feel that every photographer should at least experience this even if it is once, it’s easy, a lot of fun and rewarding because you did it yourself.
(If you choose not to develop your film then I suggest sending your film to a good lab, they will take better care of the film, never send your film to any random lab otherwise it won’t be cared for).

Shoot in daylight

When I was given a film camera for the first time I was encouraged to shoot in the daylight, it is better especially for a beginner because shooting in low light can be tricky and you will end up with underexposed shots. So if you’re not as experienced it is easier to shoot where there is better light, it makes it much easier and the results are better and you will have more of a balance of the contrast and shadows.

Light metering or the zone system for exposure

Shooting with light can be tricky, there is nothing more frustrating when you’re shooting out all day then you get your results back with a photo either under or over exposed, using light metering or the zone system can really help out with determining the exposure and brightness of the image. The reason we use light metering is that the camera doesn’t always get the exposure correctly it doesn’t know the exposure level of the subject.

So if you have either a black or white subject your camera will just want to program the colour as grey which is frustrating, that’s why the zone system comes in handy. The zone system was created by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer to correct highlights and shadows, the system helps you to determine how much exposure to add or subtract. You want the best results for your image so I would suggest to use metering or the zone system it really improves your photos.

Shoot in black and white

If you want to get into photography apart from shooting in colour you should definitely shoot in back and white. When working in black and white it forces you to see subjects or scenes without colour, it is more striking and dramatic it grabs your attention more also because it accentuates more depth and contrast. It emphasizes more emotion I love the timeless classic look because it is surreal and evokes nostalgia.


Practising is essential even if you have read up everything you can to improve your photography, the best way is to actually go out there and shoot a lot, it is the only way you will learn and improve. Your first time will not always give you your results, some might come out terrible but everyone makes mistakes you need to learn from them and keep shooting and don’t give up it gets you out of your comfort zone, gaining  your artistic side.

The more you shoot the more comfortable you become and it builds up your confidence.

Have fun!

Last but not least! Have fun that is another important part of photography you need to actually enjoy it to make a photo with meaning, if not no one else will.

It is a great challenge, gives you confidence, gets you creative and out of your comfort zone and captures important moments in your life that you will want to look back on.

Holga 120N Camera-simple and fun

  • Aperture:f/8, f/11
  • 60mm f/8 plastic lens
  • Zone focusing system
  • Shutter speed: 1/100 sec and Bulb
  • Takes 120 medium format film
  • Focus range: Adjustable, 0.9m to infinity
  • Hot shoe adapter, standard tripod mount
  • Eye level direct viewfinder
  • Lens cap, strap
  • Two film masks for either 12-6×6 cm images or 16- 6×4.5 cm images.         

Price: £32.99

Where to buy: Amazon


The Holga 120N is a cheap small camera that uses a medium format film, it has the ability to capture intriguing photographs. Produced in Hong Kong in the early 1980s to 2016, it was sold as an inexpensive camera for the Chinese working class, but it eventually became less popular because everyone was purchasing 35mm film distancing from medium format. The shape of the Hoga looks like a box, the material is plastic, with a few basic controls, very simple and lightweight so it is portable and suitable to put into your jacket pocket and have fun shooting.


Like I had mentioned it is lightweight so suitable to take traveling, the entire camera even the lens is made out of plastic but it is sturdy, the lens is optical with a 60mm focal length, the focus is achieved by rotating the outer ring producing surprisingly sharp images. The Holga is mechanical so there is no need for batteries, when it comes to settings it is quite limited, on the top of the lens is a switch for cloudy and sunny that changes the aperture from f8 to f11. On the bottom of the lens features the shutter speeds switch such as bulb and normal (again the options are limited). Bulb allows you to hold the shutter as long as you want, normal speed is 1/100 of a second which is fast enough to be hand held. On the top of the camera there is a mount for your flash, a viewfinder, film advance knob and to insert the medium film you undo the back and insert it in, there is nothing else really much to it, it is a basic camera, quite straightforward to use, what I’m mostly curious about is how it functions and captures images.


Because it is a cheap camera, made of plastic and not as popular, most people would tend to ignore and underestimate but there is a lot more to this small camera, once you become more familiar with the Holga 120N camera, you can capture really interesting photographs. Even with the limited settings it can still be a bit of a challenge getting used to the Holga, this camera is known for its light leaks from the borders on the back plate of the camera, applying on some tape should do the trick to prevent it, the leaks can wash out the image but I do accept happy accidents and light leaks can actually sometimes work, so this is something new to deal with this camera.

I find the viewfinder is not very useful, it’s more of a composition guide so you have to use your intuition to focus on your subjects, there are icons on the lens featuring a person, three people, a group and a mountain which represents the focusing distances that you’re suppose to guess how far your subject is from the camera and set it to the ideal focus. It can take a bit of practice getting used to adjusting, shooting your subjects and you are not going to get it right the first time which is frustrating and you end up wasting some of the film but it is a bit of a learning curve especially when you’re shooting with film and you cannot see the results and delete them, once you do get the hang of it you tend to appreciate it is unique quirks and enjoy shooting.

When I saw the results I was very surprised, the prints appear surreal which I really like, right away I noticed it has it is own characteristics with the vignette and light leaks. The center is sharper and the rest of the image is soft, it takes great landscapes, portraits it is ideal for street photography, I was not expecting the images to be sharp, I thought they’d turn out blurry but the image maintains detail, the colours are rich, the softness really adds to the image. I like the fact it resembles old photographs because I am very much into that.


The camera may be simple but it doesn’t disappoint, it’s a bit of an element of surprise, produces stunning images, with its limited options to work with and simplicity it is just really learning how to use the camera and practice shooting your subjects, it really opens your creativity. For you lomography and film enthusiasts this is a camera to try out, though if you want something more advanced or this is not your sort of camera then skip this option, this was a very interesting camera to review it may not be flashy and have some faults but the Holga 120N really is a unique camera, you get to appreciate its imperfect qualities and unpredictable results and a joy to shoot.

Instax Mini 90 Camera-instant memories

  • Variety of shooting modes: Party, kids, landscape, macro, bulb exposure, timer, double exposure, brightness etc.
  • Three mode automatic electronic flash; force firing, flash off and red eye reduction.
  • Brightness control with normal, low key and high key effects.
  • Camera comes with 10 shots of film
  • Dimensions:20 x 20 x 20cm
  • Weight:296g
  • Colour: Black/Brown
  • Lithium Ion battery included
  • NP-45A rechargeable battery
  • BC-45C battery charger
  • Shoulder strap
  • Compact size
  • Retractable 60mm all-purpose lens.         


Price: £119.00

Where to buy: Amazon

What is it?

The Instax Mini 90 camera produces instant images on a credit sized card. It has a retractable 60mm lens, featuring a variety of shooting modes to choose from, comes with 10 shots of film and a rechargeable lithium battery. It is ideal for someone artistic or if you just want to have fun, express your creativity and enjoy capturing moments. The style is cool and retro, it is portable and light so it is ideal to take anywhere.


The Instax Mini has a minimalistic and vintage style, it is compact, the body is constructed of a sturdy plastic build with a two toned look either brown or black leather texture and a silver finish. Overall it appears polished, classic, sophisticated and it feels like good quality.

The camera is designed to have features of a traditional analogue camera and has enhanced its ability to capture light in its own way, the camera is small, sturdy and light weighted and it comes with a leather strap so it is perfect to put in your coat pocket and go out on adventure and just shoot away.


When it comes to the Instax Mini it offers quite a lot for a small camera, there is a variety of features and shooting modes to use, a powerful built in flash, two shutter buttons one in the front (in the center of the power switch) if you want to shoot vertically and the other on the top if you’re shooting horizontally which is quite handy. On the back it features an LCD screen (liquid crystal display) to keep an eye on the modes you are currently using, battery life and the remaining shots you have left. Then it comes to the five mode selection buttons.

The first is the macro mode that enables you to take close up shots of your subjects if you want more detail within a 30cm distance, the second mode is the light and dark button so you can manually adjust the brightness of your image it basically acts as an exposure compensation dial.

The next button is the self timer mode, it allows you to put down the camera and give you time if you want to be in the shot with your friends or if you want to add something else in the composition. This mode can be pressed once for a single exposure or twice if you want two images.

The flash button enables you to turn it on, activate red eye reduction or turn off the flash completely if you don’t need. You then have the shooting modes to select from, the aperture dial around the lens can also be used to select the modes:

  • Party- Enables a longer exposure, brightening the background and other subjects.
  • Kids- Ideal for fast moving subjects such as sports, cars, children, and animals.
  • Landscape-Used for subjects at a further distance.
  • Double exposure- Enables you to take two different images but are compressed on a single print.
  • Bulb- The shutter remains open while the button is pressed enabling you to capture fast moving light it is also ideal for night shooting.


This camera may be small but can be full of surprises, with its variety of features. It is quite straightforward to use, to load the film you simply unclip the door put the film in and close it, batteries are rechargeable and that is inserted on the door of the film compartment, it is a mixture of modern and the past because of the battery and the film used. The battery life lasts even when shooting all day which is convenient.

When using the Instax the prints come out within 5 seconds, the colours and sharpness are good still maintaining that retro style. The macro and landscape modes capture the subjects features well, the flash is quite powerful I would recommend using the dark mode, to even out the subjects also use it when shooting in full daylight otherwise it blows out the highlights. The colours are vivid, especially shooting a sunset, the Instax captures the skin tones quite well.

The double exposure is a favourite, it is where you can test your creativity and create beautiful, intriguing prints. The bulb mode is quite fun to experiment with, it is ideal for night shooting and capturing fast light, creating interesting shapes, it’s like painting with light, so something new to try out. Keep in mind the mode reduces shutter speed and can cause camera shake resulting in blurriness, using a tripod would be ideal to prevent it.

The Instax camera is easy to use and it is automatic, you need to be aware that you are using film and you cannot just delete the photographs so it does slow you down and forces you to think before taking the shot. It is small easy to grip, you can also take selfies with your friends. It is an automatic camera, so if you would prefer to have more of a manual control than perhaps this is something to think about before purchasing.

The camera and the card prints are small, if you would rather have something bigger you could find something else more suitable for you there is a wide variety for everyones preferences. The optical viewfinder can be a bit of a pain because it is so small and can be inconvenient if you have bad eyesight or if you wear glasses so you need to use your intuition when taking the image.

The film can be a bit expensive especially if you are frequently shooting so also keep that in mind, it is best to buy a bulk of the mini film, it saves money, and there is a variety of film available in colour and in black and white.


Everyone is different it depends on what you want to take, we all have our own styles, it just takes figuring out and experimenting. The Instax can produce unpredictable shots and recreate nostalgic moments. I like the pocket size retro style, the best part is when the print comes out and watching your image appear. There are borders around the print so you can add notes.

It is portable, ideal for someone creative or interested in photography, though you don’t need to be a photographer to enjoy photographs just as long you use it to capture instant moments to look back on. If this is your sort of camera then give this a go.





Vintage Camera Bags-travel in style

Tepoinn Canvas Vintage waterproof camera bag

  • Durable and soft inner material insert for absorbing shock and vibration to protect your camera against damages, dust and scratches.
  • Fashionable, casual, practical camera bag, not only a camera bag, but can also be used as a messenger and leisure bag.
  • Additional outer pockets designed for chargers, business cards, phone, wallet, etc.
  • Can be used for SLR and DSLR cameras, suitable for EOS 600D/650D/700D KIT, Sony a5000/a6000/a7 KIT, OLYMPUS E-M/E-PL
  • Bag size: 26*14*26cm/10.2*5.5*10.2in
  • Colour:Khaki
  • Material:Canvas
  • Length of strap: 144cm
  • Weight:939g
  • Product Dimension: 26.8 x 23 x 13.5cm


Where to buy: Amazon


The first vintage camera bags review is a sturdy durable bag that you can take out anywhere as it is also waterproof, it has a retro and classic style made out of a canvas material with a thick soft cotton inner pouch which you can insert into your bag it is shockproof, pressure proof, not easy to deform to protect your camera and other items.

It is easy to customize as the inner pouch is removable with dividers you can install to have separate compartments, the inside of the bag has zippers and pockets, even with the inner pouch installed, you can still have access to the pockets inside. The shoulder strap is wide and comfortable, it is easy to adjust and also uses a snap if you want to tighten.

The outside of the bag has two front pockets with snap enclosures and an interior zipped pocket with two small adjacent slot pockets, suitable for your wallet, phone, charger or anything else you want to put in. The two flap straps are adjustable and attach with snap enclosures. The main purpose is a camera bag but it can be used as a casual bag, it has a nice vintage style with a good size and quality. The Tepoinn bag is something light and easy you can have on the go.

S-ZONE Vintage Canvas Leather Trim Camera bag

  • Durable soft cotton inner material insert for absorbing shock and vibration, it protects your camera and other equipment against damages, dust and scratches. You can take out the exchangeable liner and use it as a messenger bag, you can fit in a 14-inch laptop.
  • Designed for SLR/DSLR cameras; Sony, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, extra lenses and other equipment. (Self adhering padded dividers for interior customization)
  • Additional pockets designed for your mobile, wallets, keys, cards etc.
  • Material: High density cotton canvas water wash with horse leather trim, Vintage style.
  • Colours: Available in black, grey and army green.
  • Size: 36 x 31 x 12cm
  • Weight:1.2kg convenient and light weighted

Price: £36.99

Where to buy: Amazon


The S-Zone camera bag is a very practical bag, it is great for carrying large equipment and use for light travel. Photographic equipment can be fitted in such as cameras, tripods, filters, lenses etc. You can carry two cameras with lenses, a 14-inch laptop along with a stack of A4 size paper can be fitted in, there are additional pockets that are suitable for either wallets, cards, pens, phone, chargers, notebook etc.

The bag is quite deep so there is plenty of room, a soft inner liner and padded dividers which are easy to customize if you wish to remove it can used as a messenger bag. There is a zip inside that seals everything inside as well as the top flap to keep your equipment secure and protected, the straps are sturdy and adjustable and can be used on one shoulder or across. This bag can hold a lot of equipment which can be quite heavy for one shoulder, if it’s an issue you might want think about a backpack, otherwise it is a really good bag for your camera or even as a casual bag.

It has a retro style and an attractive way to carry your camera gear and the material is of high quality. Ideal for travel and also to protect the identity of your bag, it is designed not to look like a camera bag so no thieves or pickpockets will rob your valuables. Overall the S-Zone camera bag is something really convenient to have on the go and for a really decent price.

Koolertron Waterproof Vintage PU Leather Camera Bag

  • Vintage and elegant as it is also durable and protective, the bag fits a DSLR with two to three lenses.
  • Adjustable shoulder carrying strap with a magnet overlap closure.
  • Material is of good quality PU leather.
  • Colour: Red Brown
  • Weight:150g
  • Internal height is 190mm, so you can place a DSLR with 70-300mm lens vertically in the case.
  • External dimensions: 30*14*21cm.
  • It has an inside detachable liner to adjust the inside space for the camera, lens and accessories.
  • Package includes: One camera case and a strap.
  • Bag is suitable for SLR and DSLR, it can fit: Canon EOS 4000D 2000D,1300D,1200D,100D,200D,800D,750D 700D 650D,80D,77D 70D 7D 6D, Nikon D3400 D3300 D3200 D7200 D7500 D5600 D5500 D5300 D850 Sony Fuji Pentax Bridge.
  • Effective waterproof
  • Take out liner, can be used as a leisure bag

Price: £21.99

Where to buy: Amazon


It is a beautiful vintage, stylish and functional bag. It is made out of very good quality leather, it has a rich brown, red colour with black liners. The material is also waterproof it can handle rainy and other weather conditions in style. This comes with removable liner and dividers, very easy to customize and convert into a smart everyday bag.

The bag is not huge where you can carry everything such as all of your cameras and laptop, it is just about the size of a regular handbag so it is not too small or too big, if you prefer something bigger, then this is probably not the bag for you. It may be smaller but it is a product that is practical and sturdy, it offers good protection for your camera and other equipment just not a massive amount, your equipment will fit in snugly.

It is quite deep so it can fit large cameras and two to three lenses, with the extra pockets your phone, chargers, pens, batteries. Before purchasing a bag put into consideration this is not a large bag, depending on how you want to use it and how much equipment you want to put in, if you are looking for this sort of bag then this would be a great bag for you to try out.

Jaald Genuine Leather Big Camera Bag

  • Handmade goats leather that gives a vintage look. Light weighted and fully padded inside and thick padded lining.
  • Colour: Brown
  • Dimensions: 36 cm total width, 23 cm height,15cm depth
  • The main compartment is divided into two sections by a removable padded partition. It comes with a 13cm detachable lens compartment and 23 cm camera compartment.
  • One large pocket size of 23 cm x 13 cm, in the front for accessories. Also, two side pockets for extras.
  • Has an adjustable shoulder strap with a shoulder pad made easy to carry.

Price: £45.00

Where to buy: Amazon



This style of this bag is very retro, it is handmade of goats leather, a good soft and sturdy quality. Since it is handmade it doesn’t have that machine like finishing, it will also turn softer and darker in time but it is durable and can last a good while. It is good for travel the interior is padded with enough space to carry a large camera with lenses, batteries, filters etc. There are additional pockets on the sides and a large one in the front to put in extra items.

There are two zippers pulls to seal your bag, and the outside pockets are closed by a belt. The strap is adjustable with a shoulder pad to make it easier for carrying. My only issues with the bag is that the pockets are closed by a belt, it would have been more ideal for a different closing and can be a little stiff and being made out of goats leather may have a bit of a different odor, if this is not your sort of bag then maybe you can look for another more your style, but if you want something like this particular look then this would be a great choice to try out. It is a cool vintage camera bag and easy to carry and use.






Darkroom Photography Process-creating your image

The darkroom photography process is quite interesting. After shooting all day with your camera, all you want to do is get the image developed and see the results. There is a sense of anticipation, anxiety and excitement because you don’t always know what to expect. My first time in the darkroom was one of the best experiences, I found it unusual because you have to work in the dark with just a red light and using exposures and chemicals to create the details to produce the image.

I love watching the blank sheets developing I find it fascinating observing the forms, shapes, highlights and shadows appearing, I also liked the fact that this technique has been used for years and photographers today still use this process to create their images. Here is what I had learnt working in the darkroom.


To start off, you would need to be in a darkroom with a red or orange safe light, an enlarger, trays, chemicals and other equipment. You will need:

  • Your negatives
  • Developer
  • Stop bath
  • Fixer
  • Photographic paper
  • Timer
  • Three trays and tongs

To prepare you need to dilute your chemicals with warm water at 20C/68F make sure and check the instructions on the bottle, you should prepare enough chemicals to cover the paper in the trays so that your prints will develop evenly.

When you have mixed your chemicals with the water, pour them in their trays, you should use three different coloured trays and put labels on them so you don’t make any mistakes. Put your tongs on the trays so you can use them when developing your images. Once you have prepared your chemicals, your photographic paper and all your equipment ready you can start by checking your negatives in the enlarger.

Choosing your negatives

Before turning off the lights take out your negatives and choose one you want to print, when you have chosen you can turn off the lights put on the safe light. Remember too carefully hold your negatives, place them in the negative carrier check it is the right way up and that there is no dust and put them in the enlarger.

Ideally the larger should be set on f8, adjust the enlarger however you want it to either focus, frame or enlarge your image. When you have adjusted the way you want your image you can do a test strip.

Test Prints

Take out your photographic paper make sure you do not expose it in the light otherwise the paper is no use so don’t forget to close the box of photographic paper. Place your paper under the enlarger, set your timer for five seconds.

Using a stiff opaque card cover a cm of the photographic paper and expose for five seconds, you should only be moving the card and repeat this until you have exposed the entire sheet. You should have five exposures, when you have finished you can start developing you test prints.


Place the exposed paper in the first chemical which is the developer, this solution makes your image appear, it needs to be in the tray for a minute and put your timer on. Gently rock the tray so the chemicals are completely covering the paper, your image should start appearing.

When the timer is up use your tongs to place the print in the next tray, make sure and drain off the paper before putting it into the next tray so the chemicals won’t get mixed up and it is best to avoid touch the chemicals so it is advised to use tongs. The next solution is the stop bath, which brings the development to an end, leave in the tray for about thirty seconds.

When it has been in there for those seconds place it in the last tray with the fixer which makes the developed image permanent and leave it in there for five minutes. After the timer is up rinse your paper under water and review your test prints, there should be five different exposures, some of them will be darker, lighter and have more highlights, shadows and contrast.

Choose an exposure that you’re happy with so that you can make your final print, if you are not happy with any of the test prints you can redo one with different exposures so you can choose and work with an exposure you are satisfied with.


The Final Print

Taking out a fresh photographic paper, place under the enlarger adjust the settings and use the correct exposure you have chosen. Afterwards,  you want to  instantly put it in the chemicals repeating the process like you had done previously with the test prints.

When you are done with the chemicals you want to wash the print to get rid of the excess chemicals, you can leave it in a tray of clean warm water ideally around 20C/68F for two minutes. After the two minutes you can hang it up to dry and admire your work.

It is important to clean the darkroom after use, wash the trays put your chemicals in storage, do not leave any fresh photographic paper which you can still use otherwise it is a waste and wash your hands.

You have made your first print, it is a very rewarding feeling creating your own prints, I find it is a great experience and worth trying out and I hope you’ll give it a go. It can be a bit of a challenge but it can also be fun.





Nikon 35mm film camera- have fun with a classic

  • Nikon EM Black Body SLR film camera 35mm
  • Built in light meter
  • Uses Nikon AIS lenses
  • Aperture Priority only
  • Light weighted (460g)


Price: £94.95

Where to buy: Amazon


This Nikon 35mm film camera  was one of the earliest models made and the smallest SLR camera that Nikon had produced. It was created in Japan from 1979 to 1982, it was designed and marketed for beginners and female photographers who wanted to get into SLR photography.

The Nikon EM is basically a beginner level camera, it features aperture priority mode only so there is no manual mode which makes it easier for amateur photographers and it also works the shutter speed for you. It uses a film plane indicator which is mainly used for close up photography, it has a fast shutter speed from 1 to 1/1000th seconds, plus use of Bulb, and a built in ISO which ranges from 25 to 1600. It has an automatic flash sync of 1/90th second, this is marked as M90 on the selector dial, the camera is also fitted with a low-light exposure warning in the form of an audible beep.

This camera is mostly automatic but there are two manual settings available in the EM. First the M90 (mechanical speed of 1/90 sec.) and B (Bulb for long exposures), they are both mechanical speeds, so they can still be used in case the battery fails. You need to use batteries as this camera relies on it, you can use two S76/A76 or one 1/3N battery. To check your battery power there is a button on the top of the camera, when you press it if it lights up red it means there is enough power to use, if it does not or it’s dim you need to check the batteries. This camera was typically paired with 50mm f/1.8E. Also, available there is the 35mm f/2.5E and the 100mm f/2.8E. It can also take any other AI and AI-S lenses.

I like the fact that it is light weighted it fits in your hand very well, it is simple, easy to use so anyone can learn to use it, it may be small but it is sturdy, reliable and very cool to use. You can just put it in your pocket and take out and have fun taking shots. For me I don’t like the fact it is not a full manual mode, I prefer having full control of a camera, if you don’t mind that it is not a full manual mode and you like using an aperture mode, this an option to try out. It is also a bit small so if you don’t like that then you can always try another bulkier version, I’m also not a huge fan that you need to use batteries though they do last.

Other than that, the Nikon 35mm film camera is a good amateur camera especially if you want to start shooting with an SLR it is worth a try, it takes good quality photos, like I mentioned before it is very easy to use so it is perfect for a beginner and great fun.






Developing Film Negatives

Recently getting involved in film photography, it was such a big deal for me to develop my film negatives for the first time. The process is quite interesting and actually easy once you get the hang of it, anyone can do it; you just need to be patient, pay attention to detail and the more you do it you can master it and it is enjoyable and fascinating in my opinion. You can also develop your films at home and it involves different steps and processes so here is what I have learnt from developing film negatives.


There are processes and equipment you will need to produce your black and white film negatives, so for preparation you will need:

  • black and white negatives
  • developer, stop bath, fixer
  • developing tank
  • thermometer
  • timer
  • film developing reel
  • bottle opener
  • film wetting agent

Before developing your film start by preparing your chemicals which are your developer, stop bath and fixer. They need to be mixed in with clean warm water around 20C or 68F, make sure and read the instructions and use your thermometer to check the temperature.

Once you have mixed your chemicals get all of your equipment; developing tank, film developing reel, bottle opener, scissors and film negatives into a room where no light can get in and lay out all of your equipment in a logical order so you’ll be able to locate them in the dark because in the next process you need to be in the dark.

Setting your Film

Once you have found a room where no light can get in (or you can use a darkroom film changing bag) and you have laid out all of your equipment, turn off the light! This is crucial there must be no light, if the film negative is exposed all of your precious shots will not come out which will be a waste of time and money, you do not want that to happen so make sure you turn those lights off! Just in case put a sign on the door saying ‘Keep Out’.

Anyway, if you have everything you need you can switch the lights off. (If this is your first time setting your film in the dark you can practice loading the film on the reel with an old or wasted film in the dark or with your eyes closed, it becomes easier once you practice). Once the lights are off, open the end cap of the cartridge with a bottle opener and take out the film, use your scissors to cut the leader of the film and insert it into the reel and rotate the sides of the reel which will wind the film in and then cut the end of the film with scissors. Now place the reel into the developing tank and once it is tightly sealed you can turn the lights back on for the rest of the process.


The next step is to develop you’ll need your already prepared chemicals, your tank with the film and timer. The instructions for the developing times for mixing the film and chemicals should be on the bottle or the box. Pour in the developer into the tank then close it. Turn on your timer and start to agitate the tank by turning it upside down, tap the tank to dislodge any air bubbles and you do this for every 30 seconds for about 8 minutes. The developer is used to make the image appear.

Once that is done you pour out the developer (do not reuse) and put in the stop bath which needs to be agitated for about 10 to 30 seconds and don’t forget to tap the tank to dislodge the bubbles. The stop bath is used to bring the development to an end but it is actually optional so if you are going to develop your negatives at home you can just use a developer and fixer. If you are using a stop bath it needs to be yellow if not it is not going to work.

After you have drained out the stop bath pour in the fixer. Set your timer and agitate for 10 seconds and repeat this for about 5 minutes or a bit more (check the instructions), again do not forget to dislodge the bubbles by tapping the tank. The fixer is very important because it makes your image permanent so it can be exposed to the light, if it is not used your image will go black. When the timer is done you can drain the fixer and put it into storage for reuse. Leaving the film too long in the fixer it will bleach the highlight details.

Finishing Process

The final step is to wash the film to get rid of the chemicals, use clean water at 20C or 68F and invert the tank about 10 times. Drain the water, and put in the same temperature water and repeat, change the water again and do the same process. Fill the tank once again with water, add a few drops of wetting agent and you can invert for a few seconds or leave it in for a few minutes then rinse out. The wetting agent prevents water spots it helps the film to dry quickly and evenly.

When you are done, take out the reel from the tank and carefully unwind the film, apply a peg on the top and bottom of the film to weigh it down then hang it up somewhere dry, clean and dust free and you are done! You can now have a look at your newly developed negatives and prepare them for printing.

9 Reasons to try Vintage Film Cameras

Having an obsession with photographs, my cameras are treasure to me because of the wonderful images it produces. My favourite camera would be my grandfathers old Retinette camera, because of all the history it holds. I’ve recently gotten into film photography and I’m enjoying every bit of it, it’s a wonderful new experience I’ve learnt new things, though I still have so much more to learn about it.

You don’t have to be a good photographer to love photographs, these cameras are great to take out and explore capturing awesome memories and get carried away with, here are my 9 reasons to try vintage film cameras.

It’s Versatile

Film cameras are a great versatile companion, it is prepared for every situation and environment for either traveling, family gatherings, street photography for whatever subject matter, it has different functional options to chose from to capture them into memorable results.


I absolutely love the beautiful details on some these vintage film cameras which was what intrigued me, they tend to be unique as some of them look peculiar and have their own personality; the photographs produced have their own character of texture, the overlaying of colours evoke a dream, the crazy grain structure, the imperfect qualities, distinctive quirks you don’t always know what to expect from film cameras, they’re quite interesting.

It’s Inexpensive

Apart from buying rolls of films, photographic paper and getting it developed can cost, it is cheaper than digital and can be a good investment, you can get great cameras for a good bargain online or even at camera shops and they’re usually great quality and can last a lifetime and they also still produce wonderful shots.

It’s Challenging

Because of the fewer frames in a film camera and you can’t just take as many as you want unlike a digital camera where you can delete an unwanted image, you become more selective and concentrated when shooting.

Also, you cannot see the image until it is developed you take more care about the focus, composition, subject matter, the framing, you can’t take several shots of the same subject again because of the limited frames, unlike digital.

I feel you become more thoughtful and creative using a film camera, because you have that one chance to put all your efforts and the results’ can be great, you just need to keep on practicing and it is worth it.

The Look

Film cameras have an incredible colour palette, detailed highlights and shadows which really compliments skin tones which are more prominent in monochrome, the texture of the natural grain, unexpected light leaks, film cameras are really full of surprises.

The black and white images are classic, striking and surreal it emphasizes more emotion. One of the things I noticed using a film camera is the dynamic range is high, especially shooting in black and white, once you understand how to expose the photo with the light the results  can be dramatic and creative.

An overexposed image can sometimes still look good unlike in digital not really so much, and the quality of the images are really good once they are developed.

Preserves History

Photography has been around for years, it is the best, fascinating and most moving way to preserve history. People throughout history have relied on visuals; before it was paintings and now photographs, cameras have come such a long way ever since then.

Photography is used for capturing those one time moments, for reminding, identifying people, contribute to a story telling and they can take us back to another era. I like the fact that even though we have digitals today, photographers still like to use vintage cameras and keep up the tradition.


I find film cameras re-educate you on your photography, before digitals there were film cameras and it makes sense to also learn how to use film, it is simpler but it teaches you the basics of photography.  It improves your attitude and skills as a photographer, you are more patient, have a better understanding of exposure and composition, you pay more attention to your subjects and frame your shots more carefully.

It forces you to learn each part of the camera before taking the photo, you definitely have to take into consideration that you need to be more precise and thoughtful before taking the shot because of the limited frames and cost of buying more films and you don’t have the digital advantage to erase your photos or look at your screen for the results. It improves your working methods as a photographer and it makes you appreciate life more.

Element of Surprise

Unlike digital you cannot check your screen for an instant preview of your image, once you have taken all of your shots you instantly take them to the darkroom and get them developed, for me it is an exciting process of film photography.

You don’t always know what to expect from a film camera, there is a sense of anticipation, excitement and anxiety for the results, there could be unexpected surprises, accidents that actually work well in the image. I remember developing my first photograph it felt very rewarding, the photos are such good quality and made to last.

It’s Fun

Last but not least you should try it out is because it is fun! It gives you freedom and creativity to shoot whatever you are passionate about, it is a great experience and fulfilling.


Photographs mean so much to me, I still have so much to learn about photography but it has taught me a lot so far with the techniques and processes involved to produce something you’re passionate about.

I personally love both digital and film photography, I like having a balance of both and the feeling of using a vintage camera, producing an image in the old-fashioned way brings a nostalgic sentiment I think it’s important to keep up the tradition. If film is not for you, that’s fine you can always stick to digital but I think it is worth it and you should definitely give it a try you’ll never know.



Inspiration of Photographers- Unique Visions

Photography is another form of art, in a way it is a language which can enable us to express ourselves. Images can be quite impressive, as they can leave an impact on the viewers, and they provide fascinating insight of the moments. We can learn from photographers who dedicate themselves to particular subjects, gaining a better knowledge and understanding of their subjects better, to produce an image that can tell a more complete story to viewers unfamiliar with the subject matter. Here are a list of the inspiration of photographers that I hope will grab your attentions.

Ansel Adams

One of my favourite photographers is Ansel Adams. He is very well-known for his breathtaking monochrome landscape and nature photographs, his work is rich and luminous in tonal quality from deep blacks, creamy mid tones, to bright white that maintain immense detail. His style was based on visualization final image prior to exposure, through the development process and then printing to achieve the visualization, he created the Zone System which is a method for exposure and development of a black and white negative to produce tonal detail from the brightest highlights to the deepest shadow.

He was part of the F/64 group of photographers that used the smallest apertures to create photographs with incredible depth of field. He had a passion and love for the environment which clearly shows in his photographs, I find his work holds so much inspiration and detail, the contrast is striking and absolutely stunning and overwhelming; they cry out nostalgia for me, they are so expressive and surreal.

Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt is a street photographer, he is known for his diverse and ironic photographs. He was born in Paris in 1928 but immigrated to America with his parents at the age of ten. While attending school in Hollywood, he took an interest in photography, he became hooked to it and turned his laundry room into a darkroom, later with his saved money he purchased his first real camera a Rolliflex. He would photograph people that were around him such as neighbors and pedestrians in the streets. Also, for a living he divided his time by taking his own photographs, shooting weddings and printing pictures of film stars. In the 1950s he joined the army and served as a photographers assistant and later joined the Magnum Photos group.

His work show immense curiosity and observation about the world and that he is aware of what is around him. He has shot the most powerful images in history such as the times of segregation, old Pittsburgh, U.S.S.R, to iconic photographs of Marylin Monroe, Che Guevara, Andy Warhol and Simone de Beauvoir. Another of his most noteworthy photographs is of a traumatized Jackie Kennedy at her husbands funeral, beyond the veil he captures such a heartbreaking moment that she is suffering. His other work is also quite witty such as photos of dogs and comedic scenes; they’re quite humorous. His photos show sensitivity to human conditions, his love of dogs, humorous situations and everyday settings.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was a fashion and portrait photographer who had worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue for a number of years. He has shot prominent figures such as Martin Luther King j.r, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn and many more. He was able to capture rare emotion and a unique essence of his subjects. Some of his images appeared provocative, haunting, abusive, bleak, shocking which at that time would have been controversial. He helped turn photography into an expressive art form.

His unique style in his photographs were famous for their minimalism, as he used a plain white sheet as a background for even lighting, it enhances the subjects details, your eyes are drawn to the sharp facial expressions and body movements. One of his most iconic photos is of a model with chained elephants known as ‘Dovima with Elephants’, it portrays surrealism and juxtaposition. The photo represents a contrast of opposites; freedom and captivity, grace and power.

His artistic style brought a sense of sophistication and candidly photographed people as their authentic selves, he captured his subjects as if frozen in time, clearly had the ability to create truthful, intimate, breathtaking photographs they possess creative and stunning quality. He also used a large Deardoff view camera with 8 by 10 inch sheets of film and a Rolliflex camera.

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer, he is well-known for his magnificent portraits. Yousuf has photographed several people either unknown and very notable figures, from Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grace Kelly, Picasso, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, the Kennedy s to Muhammad Ali and many more. His most famous portrait was of Winston Churchill, in 1941 he sat Churchill for his portrait and asked him to remove his cigar, irritating him but capturing him at the time perfectly, appearing defiant and unconquerable.

When shooting for his portraits he would interact with his subjects to get to know them better so they would be more relaxed, he would also shoot them in their own environments as they would be more familiar and make them more at ease in front of the camera and he would capture more their own selves.

His style and technique to accomplish his masterpieces were his skills with the lights: because he shot his portraits in black and white, the lighting and the contrast were important, the lighting on his subjects is impeccable, successfully catching the several unique expressions, he considered the light as a tool and managed to manipulate it expertly in the studios and the darkrooms. He would carefully use and arrange the lighting to meticulously catch the subjects features and had the ability to take photographs that communicate.

His style in his portraits appear timeless and artistic, the lighting and the composition are well set complementing the detail in the unique features of the faces, he was also distinctively known to light the hands separately as he felt the hands were an important part of the portrait because hands are just as expressive as the face and add more interest in the picture.


The inspirations of these photographers are all unique, they capture a particular moment, transforming the subjects or sceneries into unforgettable photographs, just by looking at the photograph it can change the way you see and experience the world, that the photographers see in their observations and want to share with the viewers to feel the same effect as it had on them.

I hope these great photographers provided some inspiration for your work and remember to shoot with your heart and emotion and make your photos reflective of your personality.





Black and White Photographs – Expressive Visual Art

The language of photography begins with classic black and white. I have always been fascinated and intrigued by black and white photographs, they are striking and surreal. There is so much of the world to explore and experience, that you can get lost in the wonder of it all. The film camera’s versatility has many ways of capturing any particular moment and scene and transformed into impressions left on the viewer as well as everlasting memories. The black and white photographs they produce show so much expression, it forces you to see things differently and use your creativity and your uniqueness to create a visual story and share with the audience the emotions that you have experienced.

Timeless and classic look

Black and White photographs are endless, as they have been used since the development of the very first images. When I am shooting with a film camera, in monochrome, I feel as if I have gone back into time recreating classic images. They possess a timeless quality! I just love the whole process involved in creating monochrome photographs the old-fashioned way; I feel a certain closeness to them.

Black and white images leave the impression of mystery, elegance, eeriness, moodiness, and creativity. It can also be a bit of an enigma. The film grain adds character and soul to the image; it sometimes looks like a dream. It is a great feeling to be able to continue the tradition of using cameras from the past decades and produce wonderful photos. Black and white photographs tend to leave a sense of history and passage of time that old photos have.

Emphasizes emotion

Black and white photographs possess immense emotion. Whatever the occasion, observing expressions in the eyes, face, hands, can have a massive impact on the viewer. The impact of a mother embracing her child; a child’s laughter; a tear stained face with puffy eyes; a lost soul behind bars trapped and longing for freedom, seems to come out more dramatically in black and white.

There is a connection that we can relate to the subject, you can feel the persons’ grief, loss, joy, frustration or it could be a family photograph that brings back painful, happy, long-lost memories. Scenery, objects can also emphasize emotion, the photograph could be of your childhood home or toys it could also be a scene such as the sun setting on the ocean which reminisces home for me. Monochrome photographs are so expressive, they can tell a story and touch your heart.


Black and white has a range of tones that emphasizes the skin tone adding texture and detail. It highlights a persons features and accentuates depth, contrast, it can give a dramatic or a mysterious feel. Monochrome photographs also create depth, reflection and expression to the eyes. The eyes are so important in a photograph, they tell so much about a person, it is one of the first things you would notice on a persons face, they play a major role in forming facial expressions and bring so much attention.

Scenes such as landscapes, seascapes, mountains or sunsets are breathtaking. Black and white illustrates the beauty of the scenes, using creativity adds intrigue and wonder, the results can be striking. The motions, contrast, texture, lighting, is captivating, draws your eye to the subjects’ such as reflection of the water, glory of sun rays, movement of the sky is magnificent and it is overwhelming. It evokes nostalgia.

Texture, form, pattern, tone

Elements such as texture, line, form, shape, pattern, tones are an important role in a photograph. They are much more prominent in a black and white photograph, without the distraction of colour it tends to focus on the subjects’ you want to show. Its wide range of greys and whites paints visual art, it can be creative and abstract.

Lines are an important part of composition, they can enhance wider views of the surroundings, create a sense of movement, and outline forms and shapes. Lines lead your eyes onto the intended subject creating a powerful impact. Texture tends to have more definition in monochrome images, they enhance the subjects’ appearance such as rocks, water, trees, buildings, even lines on a persons face. The effects could either be smooth, subtle, rough or dramatic.

Because of the lack of colour, tonal contrast is more noticeable in black and white, the results can be dramatic and creative. It also improves your composition separating dark and light tones, the viewers are drawn to the lightest tones in the image then travels and studies the rest of the image taking in the detail.

Your eyes are instantly drawn to shapes and forms, black and white have the ability to enhance the depth and form to your subject. When observing a good shot, you focus your attention onto the shape and you study the aspects of it. The form is highlighted by light, it is interesting to the viewer because it is three-dimensional and evokes a feeling of a presence. It can make you believe you can reach into the image and touch the subject.

Patterns are more noticeable in black and white photographs, because the colours can sometimes draw away the attention from them. Patterns have repetitive shapes, they can be intricate, abstract and are intriguing to the eyes. It enhances shapes such as natural forms, architecture, fabric and it makes them stand out.


Film cameras capture a variety of stunning and memorable images. The beauty and mesmerizing effect of black and white photographs is very deep, it really grabs your attention and you want to discover and study every detail of the image. Photographs are powerful, they have an effect on people, they’re inspirational, communicative, provocative and can be intimate. Sometimes you are trying to just do more than recreate what is in front of you, using observations and ideas are for you to explore and utilize them in your own way to show the world things they have never seen and cannot replicate.