Using a Film Camera

If you’ve always been a lover of all things analogue or Instagram has sparked an interest in the real deal, perhaps it’s time to start playing around with film…

We’re regularly seen with a film camera in hand, whether they be vintage Canon offerings or even a pretty new lomo camera like the above. Even though we are self-confessed Instagram obsessives, film cameras and real photos are timeless and they’re so fun for packing on days out or trips abroad. With this in mind, we have created a few tips for keeping in mind if you fancy picking up an analogue option any time soon…

Choose Your Camera
There’s two ways you can go about this, and both have a similar result. You can either find an old camera on eBay or in a second-hand shop and get to know it, or get yourself a brand spanking new film camera from Lomography or similar.
It may be easier to buy a new camera outright if you’re certain you will get a lot of use out of it – a new camera will come with all parts intact and the instruction guide to help you get started. The trickiest bit with film cameras is learning how to use them, you may have had a film camera in the past but each is slightly different and they can be delicate things.
If you do manage to find an old camera for a good price, you can always look up instructions online and even download the manual so it’s not something to write off just yet.
Some good cameras to start with are the Lomo Diana Mini (£25), Canon AE-1, Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, La Sardina (From £65) and the Lomo LC-A+.
It’s best to go for a 35mm film camera, as this film is more readily available.

Stock Up On Film
Admittedly, shooting with film can be an expensive hobby – especially when you start out as some of the photos may be overexposed or blurry. Saying that, a film camera will last you years – we have fully functioning cameras that are older than ourselves!
Try and buy film in bulk where possible, for example Boots often do bags of 6 rolls and both eBay and Amazon are great for stocking up.
You can also get expired film on eBay which is just out of date film – it can either produce incredible photos with different effects depending on how its been stored, develop like normal film or not turn out well at all. It’s a bit of a gamble but we’ve never had many issues.
This is the beauty of using film, you never know what you may get when you’re handed back those photos!
Remember to buy the right film for your camera, this is usually 35mm rolls but check to make sure. There’s also different variations of film, colour negative (what we’re used to) is easiest to get hold of and develop so it’s best to stick to this.
You will also notice that rolls of film have a speed or an ISO number on them – which is the films sensitivity to the light. This isn’t something to worry about as such, we usually go for slow film such as ISO 200 or 400 – ideal for outdoors as they capture photos in daylight just fine. You will need a higher ISO if the light isn’t so great, for example it may be best to use ISO 800 on a dark or grey day or higher in the evening.
You can also buy Lomography Colour Negative film which will give different and arty effects.

Get To Know Your Camera
Before any big trip that may be the perfect opportunity to shoot with your film camera, make sure you understand how to work it. At the very least, learn how to load, wind on and rewind film, this will save you stressful situations later that may result in lost photos.
Get to grips with the basics of your camera, find out what each of the buttons do and experiment with them. It will take a good few rolls of film to get to grips with your tool but it will come eventually, and sometimes those little mistakes here and there are what make a beautiful photo.
If you have read up on your camera, know the manual off by heart but are still having a few issues, take it in to a local camera shop and see if they can help out.
Once you know how to load and wind film, it should all fall in to place but some of the more advanced cameras can be a little tricky.
Sometimes, the important thing is to ignore the technical bit and just go with it – don’t worry too much about ISO and the settings and just play around, practise makes perfect.

Put A Little Effort In
The thing about film is that there’s no checking out the snap on the screen afterwards, and no option to delete any shots that didn’t work out – both of these have pros and cons but let’s embrace the positives here.
This means there’s more likely to be more imperfect candid snaps, more action shots and more real memories – always a plus! You may also have to put in a little more effort to get exactly the right shot, but it depends on your style of photography. Film photography is an art so get right in there and snap away, the more you photography, the more varied and creative your developed prints will be.

Always Have It On Hand
Most film cameras are very small and light, meaning they are ideal for carrying around for the odd photograph here and there. Allow your camera to be a belonging that is always with you, like your wallet or keys.
It’s amazing for summer days, weekends away and holidays – and unlike digital photographs you’re more likely to get these printed! Which leads us on to our next pointer…

It’s true, developing photos can be pricey business but not if you know how. If you only have a roll or two to be developed, shop around as Boots and Jessops are usually pretty reasonable and will throw in a free roll of film if you’re lucky. The big supermarkets are usually the place to go to get your prints too, so have a look next time you’re in.
If you have more than a few rolls that need to be processed, try looking online for companies that do postal developing – they’re often far cheaper. There’s Truprint, PhotoExpress, FujiFilm and more.

This is just a guide to get you started, once you have an understanding of your camera and have processed a few rolls of film you will be able to work out what works and what doesn’t. Experiment with different cameras, film and settings and work from there.

Are you an analogue fan?

Nouvelle Daily

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nouvelle Daily

After several years of being immersed in beauty & fashion and contributing our thoughts and feelings to the online community, we realised there wasn't a one stop destination for advice and news, reviews and thoughts, latest collections and launches - as well as home and lifestyle inspiration and ideas.