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Top 5 Reasons to Shoot with a Film Camera

Updated: Jun 17

Surprise, surprise, film camera is making a comeback.

Film camera and analog photography are making a comeback

As technology advances you often have everything served on a silver platter, including your photos. A few clicks and taps -- your phone magically does everything else for you. Want to print your photos? Send it on Bluetooth to a printer and you'll have your photo printed within seconds.

While you certainly can’t complain about having such convenience in taking pictures, it does cost you the ‘real’ art and essence in taking photos. Perhaps this is why many have now dipped their toes into film photography, even celebrities like Zendaya.

Indeed, a survey conducted by Ilford photo indicates that for the past couple of years many have tried film cameras for the first time, or have returned to it, while others never seemed to have stopped using it in the first place.

Speaking from my own experience, there is plenty of joy to be found in film photography. They are certainly the reasons for why I am sticking to film photography - and here are the top 5 reasons for why you should too:

1. Film photography is like “a box full of chocolates - you never know what you’re gonna get”

With digital cameras you can instantly view the turn out of your shots. If you don't like the photos then you can adjust accordingly and simply take more photos.

Film negatives developed in darkroom

The same cannot be said for film cameras. There’s no button to press for a sneak peek, and there’s no other way to view your photos but to finish your film roll and have it developed. So truly, you never know how the photos will turn out. You get a rush of excitement after every shot as you wait for the reveal.

2. You’ll learn more about the art of photography

When taking photos on your smartphones there are many features that automatically help you take a better photo - there's auto focus, auto portrait mode, auto image stabilization, and even features that will instantly 'enhance' your selfies. Taking photos has become so easy that you come to forget the art of photography.

Taking photos with a smartphone

Although you can still edit your film scans, taking photos with a film camera is, for the most part, quite manual. Whether you take your photos with a point-and-shoot or an SLR film camera, you will be reminded to think before you shoot. There can be virtually nothing 'auto' about it. It will force you to refamiliarize yourself with the basics of taking photos - considering the effects of timing, the angle from which the sunlight is coming, distance from your object, the specific film roll you have on, and many more.

3. Fun experiments

Love to experiment with the filters on your phones? With film cameras, you have film rolls to experiment with. It’s incredibly fun to try out new film rolls to see how they turn out. Different combinations of ISO, level of grain, contrast level, and many other factors can affect how your photos look.

Other than that, there are also more experimental film rolls out there such as an expired and a ‘psychedelic’ film roll. There is simply no telling of what your photos will look like with these films - but expect light leakage and crazy combinations of colors.

Top reason to take photos with a film camera
Image taken from Instagram: @analog.jan

4. More invested in each shot

The number of shots you can take per film is limited to mostly either 24 or 36 exposures and it can take a while to get the film roll developed once you finish it. So it is unlikely that you would want to take dozens of pictures of your dog without properly assessing the condition at which you are taking the photos.

You’d tend to be more invested in taking each shot, simply to make sure that you get the best out of it and not waste a precious moment (and frame). After all, there is nothing worse than having your film developed only to find the gazillion photos of your dogs… blurry and overexposed.

Black and white film photo of a dog
Cute dog, blurry photo

5. Helps you appreciate the beauty in your daily life

When you walk around with a film camera in your bag you start to see life through a different lens - your camera lens, that is. Unless you are one of the lucky ones to go on frequent vacations in picturesque European cities, your inspiration will most likely come from your daily life.

As you go about your daily life and figure out your next shot you start to notice the little things that you might not have noticed otherwise. Your route walking to work every day starts to get a bit more interesting than normal, your neighbor's window pane suddenly looks much prettier than it did before. You simply learn to appreciate the beauty in your daily life.

BONUS - Vintage cameras...

... they are simply beautiful and unique!

A variety of different vintage film cameras and analog cameras

See what I mean?

Exploring and collecting different types of cameras out there is great fun. While some film cameras can be very expensive, most are cheaper than your average digital cameras. So you are much more likely to be collecting these rather than DSLRs. Obviously, each camera also has its own specs and specialties so it is also fun to experiment with different cameras.

So take out your old film camera now and start taking those photos - you’ll enjoy it! Don’t forget to share your experience on the comment section below.

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