If you're going to shoot film in 2017, you're going to have to be smart. Smarter than the wise-guys who call you out for doing so 20 years after the birth of digital, 10 years after the birth of the SD card, smart enough not to bankrupt yourself over your aesthetic of choice, your choice to slow down. That's what it is right? As well as the way it feels, it's the pre-meditation of slowing down, it's all of these things that 2017 intrinsically isn't. Film photography serves as a direct contrast with the modern world and modern worldly efficiency driven technologies and yet, as we know, that's why it works for so many of us. So here I am on your side. But i'm here on your side asking you to get smart about your film. Challenge yourself to save money with it. Set yourself things to learn about extra parts of the process and maybe even reduce the costs of doing it. I went for it in 2017 ( and these are all things i've learnt since the turn of the year)
- I bulk load motion picture film
- i home develop C41 colour and B/W processes
- I have a dedicated 35mm Pakon and 120mm Epson V550 scanning set up and everything that, once you've paid your set up costs, slims down the cost of the shooting film process.. and this is what i mean by stop wasting money on film. 6-12£ a roll and then 10-15£ a dev and scan for 36 shots is killer. This year, I hit a wall where it wasn't feasible to shoot on film when i wanted and needed to for client jobs in the music world. I took a stance that i would need to re-evaluate my equipment, sell a few things and make my workflow work for modern day film-shooting so i could avoid those 15£ dev and scans. I sold my 70-200mm Nikon and bought a pakon scanner and all the things i needed to make it work. Now there are plenty of shoots where i buy stock (normally Fuji pro 400h ) but even then i shop around as thoroughly as I can. I average out 5 rolls a shoot. That's 35£ in film stock and would be around 60£ in dev and scan elsewhere. If my shoot fee is 350£ not including transport and food, that's clearly not that feasible. I said to myself i need to stop wasting money on this as there are ways in to make it a viable option when it will always be my preferred option to shoot analogue.
Set yourself a challenge to reduce your film costs. If you're a portra 400 kid, try and find a 'b team' stock for your more everyday shooting like kodak colour plus. If you are spending all your money on developing, shoot six films and to spend 95£ on a starter developing kit and chemicals and learn from there.
My cheat sheet for saving money on film photography is the following (ranging up in difficulty and comes with fun level commentary):
- Have a premium stock and a b grade stock (level of fun.. low)
- scan yourself (level of fun really low on a flatbed for 35mm. Level of fun on a Pakon hella high)
- develop yourself ( if you like cooking, you'll like developing)
- scan and develop yourself (get your cook on then get patient)
- buy cassettes, a bulk loader and some bulk film (actually so mindless i can roll 20 rolls whilst watching all the geordie shore i can handle)
- do it all and shoot film for basically under 1£ a roll all in! (you are officially rich!)
Big love and thanks for reading blog post one!