Falling in Love with Film Photography

When I reviewed my Fujifilm polaroid camera, I talked about my longstanding love for photography. For as long as I can remember I have always been the one with the camera out, taking photos at every opportunity – be that a family occasion or just meeting up with friends – I love to record every minute.  I had wanted to try film photography for years, but was always slightly frightened that it would be really difficult. That’s where I was so wrong and I can’t wait to share with you my experiences in today’s post, plus show off my precious camera baby – love it!


The Camera

I received this 35mm camera for Christmas last year and it is a Kodak Retinette IB. Being my first ever film camera, I wasn’t sure what to look for when I was asking for one – other than for something that still worked and wasn’t being sold just for decoration! In the end, the camera was in perfect condition, especially considering it was made in the early 60s. We  bought it from Etsy and it came with its original leather case, which is brilliant for slinging over my shoulder on days out! I love it!


One of my favourite things about my camera is the great 60s vibe it has, helped along by the gorgeous ‘Retinette’ lettering on the top of the body, but in terms of mechanics there are also some pretty nifty features! It has a built in flash, a 10 second self-timer (that works a treat!) and best of all it has an exposure meter. This essentially means that it has a small pointer that moves as you change the exposure to indicate when the light conditions are best for you to take your photo. Film photography made just that lil’ bit easier, I’m definitely not complaining.

I have only tried the camera with black and white film so far, but I have had absolutely no problems with it and I would 100% recommend searching out a Kodak Retinette IB Camera if you are after a cool, easy to use, vintage film camera.


Favourite Places to Buy Film Cameras 
Shipley Vintage on Etsy | LOAF Cameras on Depop | Classic Camera Store on Etsy


Choosing My Film & Getting Snap Happy

As I just mentioned, I chose to take my first ever film camera images on black and white film – I mean if you are going to go for the vintage look why not go all out? The film I used was Kenmore 400, 36 exposure film and it worked a treat. As for actually taking the pictures, with the camera all set up using this online manual, I found the process of taking the pictures fairly simple. I was certainly helped along by my trusty exposure meter and a few tips from my family, including to help keep me still when taking my photographs – to breathe in before I took the picture and to lean against something if at all possible. Stability is key when it comes to taking film images and if you don’t want a blurry image I recommend giving these top tips a go.


One of the things that I have enjoyed most about using this camera is the idea of not being able to see your pictures until weeks or even months after you took them. I found that this meant that I was able to be more in the moment when out and about taking photos. Often I get so caught up taking loads of photos & looking at them that I forget to just enjoy what I am doing and I think this type of photography has really helped me learn that I don’t need to experience everything through the lens of a camera. Oh the irony. Alongside this I have also become more selective in what I choose to take pictures of and I think that this has meant that I have been capturing more meaningful images. You know what they say about quality not quantity. This is definitely something to stick to when doing film photography!


Developing Pictures & The Results

After all of my mindful photo taking I was so excited to finally see the results of my photography. This was by far the most exciting part of the process, but also the most expensive. Most films can be processed at your local Boots for a great price, but it turns out that the type of black and white film I used meant that they weren’t able to process it. As soon as they broke the news to me I knew that getting my pictures was going to be more expensive than I had anticipated – oops!


In the end, after sending the film off to a company in Birmingham, the processing and delivery wasn’t as pricey as I had first worried, however when taking black and white film images this is definitely something to bear in mind. Price aside, I was delighted to get the images back and see what had worked out and what hadn’t. I love almost every shot I took, with some becoming some of my favourite ever pictures. I think you’d say that means it was worth every penny – and it was.

On my next go I think I will try some colour film and see how that works out. I am so excited to get going again and it is the anticipation that is involved in this process that makes me love it so much. I have really enjoyed my first few months of messing around with my film camera and can’t wait to see what the results are like next time.

Have you ever tried film photography?

Love Holly x

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