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.

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