Why I Love Film Photography: A Lesson on Patience

Film picture of Alicia Anderson and Emma Rodriguez at Raccoon Mountain, TN. Saturday, April 29, 2023 (Photo by Allison Grundy)
Film picture of Alicia Anderson and Emma Rodriguez at Raccoon Mountain, TN. Saturday, April 29, 2023 (Photo by Allison Grundy)

Film photography has made a comeback among college students. I’ve noticed more and more people are starting to shoot film, and I think it’s a great thing. It’s become a hobby of mine, and I love shooting film for many reasons. Film not only brings about beautiful pictures but also teaches a valuable lesson that is opposed to the type of expedient photography people perform with their smartphones everyday.

Of course, smartphone cameras are a convenient way to take pictures, but I know I’ve caught myself sifting through 20 plus similar selfies (sometimes much more) searching for the one I look best in. Film photography takes the pressure out of this process because although there may be fewer images, the photos that were taken are usually easier to appreciate. For this same reason, film is a good example of quality over quantity. Personally, I have found that seeing one picture of myself enjoying the moment means so much more to me than seeing many different ones as I try to pose and adjust to get the perfect picture.

Every time I get my developed film back from the camera store, I’m simultaneously disappointed and pleasantly surprised. Not every picture turns out as I thought it would, but each picture seems lovable in a sort of imperfect way. I’m not sure if it’s the greenish undertones and grainy exposure that unifies the photos or the fact that I paid around 80 cents or more for each picture, but every photo is cherished. In film, the pictures carry an authentic feel to them because even if they are imperfect, I feel like I’ve captured a moment in time.

I believe film photography gains most of its appeal from the process — however frustrating it may be at times. The photographer has to load their film, maybe fidget with the settings and, lastly, wait for the film to develop. To really enjoy shooting film, you must have patience and optimism; it is the time required by the process that makes it exciting. In American culture, people get a lot of instant gratification from the things they do; everything is at the push of a button, but the process of film is different. 

I enjoy having a hobby that is a reminder to slow down and be patient. When I have to wait to see results, the end reward is that much sweeter. 

My film camera adds so much beauty to my life. Yes, the pictures are colorful and turn out well, but they also keep me away from my phone and add variety to what I do. Film not only documents the special, engaging parts of life but also keeps me present in the moment. 

Share this story!

Leave a Reply