Getting Started: Film
The first question I ever get when I tell people I shoot film, is they say, "Why on Earth would you shoot film?" And the second question I always get is people saying, "Well, where do you buy it?, "Where do you even find this, especially the 120?" So I want to talk for a second about that. So first of all, when you're buying your film, like I said earlier, you want to make sure you're getting the right kind of film for your camera. I know that sounds obvious, but for real, there's nothing worse than spending $200 on film and then realizing none of it's going to fit your camera. It can be very frustrating, speaking from experience. So, where do you buy it? If you live in a big city, chances are you're going to have a camera store in your town that's going to still sell film stocks. We're really lucky here in Seattle, we have a great camera store downtown that sells a lot of professional grade film stocks. But, there are a lot of places that don't have that, and so when you're buying fil...
m, especially when you're buying the medium format 120 film, the professional grade film stocks, which I recommend, you're going to want to buy it online. So, I just want to talk about buying online, what to look for. So there's a couple of things that you want to look for when you're buying your film. First of all, you want to make sure that you're getting good, fresh film. You don't want expired film. Now, you can totally shoot expired film, and I talk about that in my other class, but when you're just starting and you're looking to buy film online, you want to make sure it's coming from a reputable source, so you're getting good, fresh film that's not expired. When your film is expired, it will shift the color palettes a little bit. You have to expose it a little different. It can be a little wonky, so you want to make sure that wherever you're buying it from online is reputable, they're getting their film directly from the manufacturers, and they're sending you good film. You also want to make sure that you're buying film that has been properly cared for. So, some things that film hates is being hot. If you leave your color film in a hot car, it's going to mess with the colors, and it hates x-rays. (laughs) You'll get these weird lines on it. And this is really important to know when you're buying your film online because you want to make sure that it's been properly cared for, it's being properly shipped, so that you're not getting damaged film when you buy it, when it arrives. So, I use, when I'm buying my film online, I use a company called Film Supply Company, I'm sorry, Film Supply Club, and what I love about Film Supply Club is that they do get their film directly from the manufacturers so I know it's fresh. They're getting it directly from Fuji, directly from Kodak, so I know it's fresh. I'm getting good quality film. The people who run it are photographers, film photographers, and so it's all cared for and it's shipped properly, and I know that I'm going to get good film from them. But wherever you buy your film, just make sure that it's properly cared for, it's being properly stored. If you're buying it in a store, check the expiration dates and make sure it's current, and make sure that it has been kept in a nice, cool system. Most places will store their film in a refrigerator system, so check that. And if you're buying online, be sure to contact the provider and just ask those questions. Like, "How is it shipped?, "How is it stored?. "Are you sure that this is all fresh and it's not expired?" Those things are really important. Once you get your film, and you have it at home, then you want to make sure that you're keeping it and storing it, in a cool, dark, dry place. So you don't want to jut leave your film out on the couch in the direct sun coming through your window. You don't want to leave it in your car. I actually have a crisper drawer in my refrigerator where I keep all my film, and I have that at home and at my studio. So just make sure you are also storing it properly.