It was a semi-spontaneous decision to buy a film camera, because learning film has been a long-lasting dream of mine. Plus, I needed an incentive to survive my A Levels. So a couple of weeks before my exams were over, I headed to eBay.
Turns out I am completely DANGEROUS on eBay. I was so determined to snag this listing that I bid six times in a minute. Totally ended up spending more than I’d prepared to, but… I bagged myself an Olympus OM10!
I wrote this blog post way back in July but never got around to posting it. So enjoy this super-delayed documentation of me getting to grips with film photography.
ATTEMPT NUMBER ONE, JUNE 2018:
My photography teacher gave me some Ilford film, warning me she had no idea what condition they were in.
When my camera arrived I promptly realised I didn’t even know how to load film. Good thing dad did. One learning curve later, I had a roll of film in my camera and was photographing everything in the house.
Cut to the day I finish the film. Dad and I sit down to wind it back in. And then snap. It’s come off inside the camera, so there’s no way I can get it out without over-exposing the lot.
So take two begins. Then ends the SAME WAY.
I contact the eBay seller who very nicely tells me that I had looked at the wrong instructions online. I needed to flip a lil button to do it properly.
So in the trash go two rolls of film. I’m hurt because I’m pretty sure there were masterpieces in there. But I then googled the film type, and it turns out it’s long-since expired (like… 20 years). My settings weren’t right for it. Not much of a loss. Back to the drawing board!
ATTEMPT NUMBER TWO, JULY 2018:
As much as I hate Jeff Bezos, I had to resort to Amazon to snag the cheapest film-bulk buy I possibly could, being a broke student. Armed with my newfound knowledge of film from many failed attempts I was READY to get some CUTE FILM SHOTS.
And here’s how they turned out.
Summer had just begun. With my girlfriend coming to stay, and loads of adventures planned, there were so many opportunities to test out my new (old?) camera.
My first roll of film lasted me a few trips around London with people I love. I was constantly snapping candids, and over these few days, I was so worried I’d done something wrong when loading the film and that they wouldn’t turn out.
Once I got them back I was over the moon. All the images are awesome. It’s a manual focus lens that I’d never used before… so nothing is crisp and perfect. But hey, that’s part of the charm! I adore the nostalgic tones. The colours are beautiful.
A huge reason why I’m so happy with these photos is the developer I chose. I need to shout out Photo Express in Hull! This isn’t a promo or anything. Their services are just awesome.
When I bought my film camera I didn’t realise how costly developing was. Sure, Boots and Snappy Snaps will still take your film – but most outsource developing meaning it costs more. It took a lot of googling to find the best cost-effective place to send my film.
I stumbled across Photo Express online, and took the chance of mailing my film to this small company I’d never heard of before. It certainly paid off. They developed my 36exp film and scanned it to CD for under £6 and the quality is so great! What’s more, my Cd and negatives arrived through my letterbox literally the next day.
Since first using Photo Express, I’ve sent off numerous other rolls of film and received the same awesome speedy service. So I’d definitely recommend them. I personally love the CD/USB scan option (with no prints) because I tend to share my photos online.
Film photography is great. Since this first attempt, I’ve been shooting film all summer. I’m still getting the hang of it but I’m in love. I adore the nostalgic feel and it’s such a fun learning experience for me.
Having started photography on digital, I’m used to snapping hundreds of photos in a single day. Shooting film (because there’s limited shots, and because film is bloody expensive) has taught me to think more and take my time getting the perfect shot, even when snapping candids.