Why Every Photographer Should Shoot Film, Even in 2021

There are countless distractions that often hinder our creativity and photographic expression. The pressure and comparison that comes with social media can make digital photography end up feeling like a burden: Each shot must be better than the last and a photo with subnormal likes is a failure.

What if there was a way to rid of each negative aspect of photography so that you could focus on the aspect of the craft that you fell in love with — taking images — in the first place?

Well, there is! For me and so many others, the answer lies in discovering the joy of film photography.

I started shooting film two years ago at my high school photography class. I quickly fell in love with the entire analog process, from winding film into a camera to processing and developing negatives in the darkroom.

While most of you won’t have access to a darkroom, I recommenced the path I took after my photography class: send your rolls of film to a film lab, where they take care of the heaving lifting for you. State Film Lab is my lab of choice, and the scans I receive are exquisite and look just like my memories feel.

On top of the more philosophical reasons for shooting film, it also has several unique properties that separate it from digital cameras (other than the obvious one is a digital sensor and one is… well, film). The first is film grain, which you can think of as a more organic and — to me — appealing form of digital noise. Second, film has remarkable highlight recovery, allowing you to shoot overexposed in a way that is often impossible on digital

I find my entire outlook on photography completely changes when using a film camera. No longer am I taking photos that I think will look cool on my grid, but I start to focus more on capturing meaningful moments that I will want to look back on. Film has quickly become my preferred medium for documenting my life. The warm, nostalgic feeling in color photos is breathtaking, and shooting black and white allows me to search for contrast in light and interesting shadows that I might miss otherwise.

Film photography is also extremely affordable to start (although the costs can certainly add up in the long run), so I would highly encourage you to give it a shot. You might just fall in love with it!

About the author: Lucas Kult-Banout is a photographer and videographer from Chicago, Illinois. His goal is to genuinely tell the story of his clients or their brands so that connecting with people becomes easy and enjoyable. Aside from commercial photography, Lucas loves creating videos for his Youtube Channel, traveling, and wandering the streets of his hometown with his film camera.