Why Some Pro Photographers Prefer Film Over Digital

What is it about film photography that inspires, moves, excites, motivates, arouses? The way film makes a photographer giddy, revel in the mystery, anticipate the surprise, take chances. The way a film photograph can leave the viewer in such awe.

Indie Film Lab hit the road to talk to photographers about the romance of film photography:

Partnering with Kodak, Indie Film Lab directors┬áLuke Lindgren and Josh Moates put together this inspiring documentary, ‘Long Live Film’, filled with some of today’s best, up and coming, and creative photographers talking about why they love film.

The photographers talk about the inspiration they get from shooting film, the warm colors produced by different film stocks, the way they feel when they finally get the pictures back from the lab or have the amazing fortune and skills to develop them themselves.

The consensus, coming from such American-based photographers as Ryan Muirhead, Stephen DeVries, Kelbert McFarland, Paul Bryant, the Brothers Wright, and Ashley Kelemen, is that film makes you shoot differently than digital. Even though film is slower, film cameras can inspire because each camera sounds different, feels different, captures light differently. In general, shooting film makes you think differently.

The majority of photography is discovering and how you see the world in that one split second and recognizing that and taking the picture. – Brothers Wright

shooting film

B. Wright Photography

┬áThere’s something alive and breathing when I shoot film. – Ryan Johnson

film photography

Ryan Johnson Photography

When I get a new old camera, like a film camera, I just get pumped about it. – Luke Lindgren

film inspiration

Luke Lindgren Photography

Film Cameras and Products Used by the Photographers

Hasselblad 501CM – used by Ryan Muirhead the first time he shot film

Pentax 67 – Stephen DeVries’ main camera

Polaroid Automatic 100 – Jarrod Renaud

Kodak Ektar Film – Wendy Laurel

Nikon FE – Kelbert McFarland

T-Max Black and White 400 Film – Ryan Johnson

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2 responses to “Why Some Pro Photographers Prefer Film Over Digital”

  1. Interesting article. There is a very intriguing documentary I saw on Netflix called “Side by Side” which goes into depth on the digital vs. film conversation. It’s worth the time to see, well at least for me since I cut my teeth on film in a traditional black and white darkroom.

    From IMDb.com
    “The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation”.

  2. chuck gibbs says:

    I thought developers stopped developed film a few years ago, so isn’t film passe?? The pro photographer stopped taking wedding pics shortly after my eldest son’s wedding 11 years ago. I thought that was the reason, unless he developed his own pics.

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