my first time shooting film with clients

Canon EOS 3 \\ Kodak Ektar *

I consider myself very lucky to be able to meet up with this family on their California vacation once a year. I always leave so inspired and have a lovely time making photographs with them. This time, knowing the mom to be up for anything, I asked if she would be willing to have me shoot only film at their session. And she said yes.

Armed with eight rolls of Kodak Ektar and a new to me Canon EOS 3, I started up the session with shaky uncomfortable fingers. I took my time deciding what to shoot, and only let myself fire off 1 shot per “setup”. (I broke my own rule 2-3 times when it was called for.) Having to stop to load a roll of film felt very disrupting and not having the safety net of a few shots fired off anytime I SAW something felt very scary. But quickly, it didn’t. I fell into the groove. Knowing this was an experiment for me, they were patient as I fumbled with rolls of film, and waited for the right moments.

I was shocked and relieved when I saw the results. Out of the eight rolls, I only had to trash about five images. I LOVED the tones and feel of the rest of the photos. Not only that, the best part was: I. DIDN’T. HAVE. TO. SPEND. FOUR. HOURS. EDITING. THESE. FILES. (The black and white images were the only ones edited in Photoshop with my black and white action.) It was like the biggest party ever getting the scans back and sharing with my client, without having to do any work on the computer.

I am not sure that I am ready to go full film on all of my clients, but this experiment was definitely a success.

You can see their session from 2012 here.




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  1. Wow! the clarity is amazing. is it really that much of a difference? I would have never imagined. So much detail. These are beautiful and it’s amazing that you only had to throw 5 images out and that there’s no editing..

    Wow. Maybe I should play with some film too.

    Did you scan them to your computer? Was that a pain?

  2. Your images are beautiful as always. Is your film camera full manual or does it do some things for you? Like focus? My old Minolta was full manual…and I would NO WAY be able to shoot like this. You are an fantastic photographer, Tara!!

  3. Hi Tara,
    I have read your blog for years, and I am a huge fan of your work. Your photos really “talk” I usually love them. But for me these were wonderful but did not have that same POP that your pics usually have. I feel they are a little grainy and that makes me lose focus. Just keeping it real. What ever magic you work on your digital stuff, is just that, pure magic, and it comes through each and every time. Some of your photos have made me laugh and cry they are that good, probably why I still follow you after all these years! Always waiting for that special photo to touch my soul!

  4. These are crazy good. And on a new-to-you eos 3? YOU ROCKED IT. please keep shooting film. Loving this ektar, I just ordered some for the first time a few days ago. Can’t wait to try it out.

  5. Did you have the film processed professionally? If so, was it a local place to you or did you send the film away? I’ve noticed since digital came onto the scene, getting my film developed is a challenge (at least trying to find one that will develop it correctly).
    You caught the beauty of film, taking time & care to look for the right shot. I love the graininess of film and what you mentioned, you don’t have to edit every single shot! You’ve inspired me to get out my film camera and shoot away!

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