Analog photography

6 Beginner Tips For Good Old Film Photography

Over time as technology evolved, digitalisation has taken the world by storm. Postcards and paper mails lay somewhere forgotten in time, while its digital counterpart of emails and text messages over social media platforms have taken precedence. Such is the case with photography as well.

 Photography has always been classified as an art, captured in the photographer’s eye before it is captured in frame. Yet, with time, film photography took a backseat while digital photography steered the car. Although, the classics never truly leave your heart and soul. Enthusiasts and passion seekers know the value, intrigue and art of film photography can never really be replaced.

Which is why, to the ones who are still seeking the path or for the ones who are new, we are here with some classic tips to help you give a nudge in your photography journey. But lets start with the what, before we divulge some valuable insights.

What Is Film Photography?

The scenic art caught by your eyes, and clicked by your camera is captured on the transparent, thin sheets called film. The process of developing an image captured through this method, albeit takes time, but is considered a great talent.

The film strips which capture the image are gelatin emulsion coated, containing small silver halide crystals which contribute in determining the contrast and resolution of a photograph.

How Do I Start Analog Photography?

Firstly, when any picture is clicked, the film strip is briefly exposed to the image the camera lens is magnifying at the moment. This results in a latent image due to the exposure, which burnt an imprint on the emulsion.

Once this is done, the latent image needs to be developed into a negative and then projected onto a light sensitive paper after which you end up with a photograph.

Even though digital photography overpowered its century old predecessor, film photography still has an upper hand on various matters. Some of its advantages are:

  1. It is more like a learning opportunity and comes in a lot of variety for you try and experiment and understand your own style.
  2. It is an art, hence requires discipline like any art. You train your mind, eye and hands to stay coordinated and focused.
  3. Ever picture you lick and develop is like a short trip undertaken or a small poetry or tale written. Most of all, it is a process with immense satisfaction for the most passionate of photographers.


If you started out with digital photography but the allure of film photography has latched itself onto you, then you are in the right place. We are here to help you navigate your journey and make it as memorable and enjoyable as possible with some interesting points to keep in mind and have perfectly satisfying end results.

  1. Use 35mm films

This is the most versatile and popular film type available out there. If you choose to use this, you will have a number of camera choices to work with as well, hence versatile.

This way you can buy a camera you find most captivating and fitting to your needs. In addition  to this, the 35mm films allow you to capture more images as compared to the medium and large formats which allow only up to 16 pictures.

Best 35mm cameras of all times: LeicaM-A, Pentax K1000, Canon AE-1, Nikon F2, Leica M6 TTL, and Olympus OM-1

  1. Using Focus by Trial and Error method

Although analog cameras have the autofocus function, it is difficult to use as compared to the digital cameras in terms of its speed which is majorly because it requires a lot of patience, training and good eye.

As a beginner, you must have noticed that sometimes the image gets out of focus or you are unable to capture the image because either the shutter moves too fast or too slow. The best way to get a handle on this is to keep practicing, and you can start with stationary objects.

  1. Golden Ratio, Frames and Leading Lines

Sometimes, it is better to tried and tested rules when you set out to begin your journey. In analog photography, it is important to maintain balance in your composition so as to get a good grip from the beginning.

The golden ratio rule pushes you to maintain a balance by keeping the subject in centre or placed at an intersection of 3:3 grid lines. Another way you can click brilliant pictures is by capturing them through a natural frame, be it a city view through a window or person through a ring. 

Natural geometry is a beautiful addition you can make to your pictures. It ranges from a road to trees standing linear or in symmetry.

  1. Visual effects not available in digital photography

Despite the fact that digital photography has started to take root, there are certain effects which one can only achieve with film photography and are definitely worth trying.

    • Expired film photography

Since these films are available at very low prices, one should definitely give this a try. With the films being expired, you cannot be sure how the picture will turn out until you develop them.

But one thing is assured, you will undoubtedly get some really aesthetic pictures and end up having a lot of fun as well. This kind of experimentation is not possible when it comes to digital photography.

    • Push and Pull Photography

The basic behind push and pull photography is to underexpose your image first and then overdevelop it later. If you try this trick, you may end up with depths and halftones in your pictures.

Not only that, this trick goes well with black and white photography as well. You can also do vice versa, i.e. overexpose the image first and underdevelop it later.

    • Double exposure

Even though digital photography as well as many mobile apps allow for double exposure, still there are certain levels of creativity which you ca only achieve with analog photography.

For example, you can click pictures on the same film with different frames and obtain the double effect or you can use contrasts in your pictures by using a sharp backdrop and a dull image or a bright image and a dark background. Either will let you achieve the desired results.

  1. Exposure triangle rule and more

With experienced photographers, it’s a common belief that the exposure triangle rule might hinder your creativity. But, before you go out breaking the rules, its best to know how to use and understand them first.

By learning this method, you can avoid wasting a lot film in analog photography and goes a long way. This analogy covers the main elements which affect the exposure in a photograph, namely shutter speed, aperture and ISO. One should keep in mind that all these elements need to be balanced for one to get a perfectly exposed picture.

  1. Practice Black and White more with less Flash

It is relatively easy to shoot coloured pictures but when you want to understand more about the details of photography like, shape, textures, contrasts and composition, it is advisable to begin with black and white photography.

It may seem difficult at first since we are used to seeing the world in colors and it is quite unimaginable to perceive it in monochrome. This way, you will be able to develop your artistic senses and move on instinct and never miss an opportunity to click a good picture.

Why Photographers Are Returning To Film Photography?

Analog photography build you up with every picture you capture. You accumulate and grow with each click, learn to control your sense and trust your instincts. There is discipline you learn here, which cannot be unlearnt nor can it be achieved through digital photography.

Each shot is appreciated and cherished and when you start using your digital camera later, you can notice the subtle differences and how different sceneries can have multiple perspectives when clicked by a digital camera and an analog camera.

About the Author

Andy Watson

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