At the end of last year I decided to reacquaint myself with 35mm film, with the intention of focusing on black and white film.
The bulk of images delivered from my maternity, newborn and family sessions have been digital.
At times I took some film as a creative challenge and a bit of a bonus for my clients.
I’ve chosen to look at some of the images from client galleries to check out the differences between digital and film, specifically in terms of black and white photography.
Photos on the left (top on mobile devices) are digital
Photos on the right (bottom on mobile devices) are 35mm film
Canon 5DmkIII with a Canon 50mm 1.2L lens.
Canon 1V with a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens.
b&w film mostly Kodak Trix400 with the occasional roll of Ilford Delta 400.
Although I’m pretty confident shooting digital, I feel like I have lots still to learn with film.
You’ll notice my film photos are not technically accurate and keep in mind they have not been edited in post production.
Whereas digital photos have been edited - I’ve applied my b&w settings, perhaps adjusted exposure, shadows etc…you get the point.
One of the biggest challenges has been hybrid shooting….making sure I am using my digital and film cameras at the right moments during a session.
The way I’ve approached using both mediums has evolved and I think I’m definitely keen to keep using both, as they both offer their advantages.
Some digital advantages
Reliable, my camera has two card slots, less likely data will be lost
Changing film speed/iso on a whim therefore better in low light
Flexible, I have full control how I deliver b&w images
Some film advantages
Stay with me…its wabi-sabi - perfectly imperfect
Knowing light has hit the film emulsion to capture a tangible piece of time as art
The grain, I don’t add to my digital photos but love it
It offers us the opportunity to all slow down
For the purpose of this post, comparing digital and film side by side is tough. Perhaps it’s due to that fleeting moment where an expression or hand gesture is just right, becoming less about the medium and more about the content.
Sometimes I totally prefer digital, other times I love film that much I want to only shoot b&w 35mm.
But, there’s no right or wrong, it’s purely subjective and both mediums have their place.
Thanks for making it this far.
All I know is film photography has always and continues to offer a feeling that is hard to put into words, and as an art form, feeling is everything.