Beach photo of little girl with film soup shot on Fuji 200

Why I (Mostly) Ditched Digital for Film

Back in 2020, when we all had a lot of time on our hands, I became intrigued by film photography. I saw a few photographers who shot film on Instagram, and I LOVED their work. I was intrigued by the entire process – besides some disposable cameras when I was a teenager, I had never shot a roll of film! So I purchased a $25 film camera on eBay, got a few rolls of film, and dived in. I was relatively happy with my first rolls, but then the world started to open again, I resumed taking clients outdoors, and I didn’t have the time to keep experimenting with film. For the next two years, I would occasionally get a whim and shoot a roll of film or two. Most of them came back…well, meh. I didn’t really know what I was doing!

As my style evolved over time, however, I found myself more and more drawn to that “film look.” I am embarrassed to admit the amount of time and money I spent buying editing tools to help me achieve a film look – with a digital camera. Then, it occurred to me – the best way to get a film look…is to shoot film. And look, some people get some amazing results matching digital to film, and there is an undeniable convenience to sticking with digital cameras. But I was spending so much time trying to achieve something that would never feel like the REAL thing to me.

I started to dive deeper into film and actually learning how to use it. We took a family trip to Hawaii, and I packed a few rolls of film. I shot a full roll that I intended for “film soup.” Film soup is a process where you literally boil your film in ingredients of your choice to achieve some interesting and wild effects. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but when I got my film soup back, I knew I was hooked.

Film offers an ability to get creative and experiment in a way you just can’t with digital. Shooting film has reignited a sense of play that I was sorely missing in my life. From colorful light leaks to multiple exposures to film soup, there are so many ways to manipulate film, and the results are always a surprise! There is no feeling like the feeling of opening up my film scans fresh from my lab!

Film is not without its challenges – the expense being one of the biggest. But for me, nothing compares to a film image. There is just a feeling of nostalgia that comes along with it, and it captures the world the way I see it. In a world of digital debris, having the actual physical negatives is a delight to me. I find myself increasingly seeking these opportunities to live a more analog life in our digital world – to slow down and be a little more intentional. Film forces me to limit the pictures that I take – at most, a roll has 36 frames, and one of my cameras can only shoot 10 on a roll! When each frame is precious, you certainly take a little more time with them!

There is still a place for digital photography for me, and there are times that the instant gratification and convenience of it will win out. But film will forever be where my creative heart lies. Contact me here if you’d like to chat about a film session!




Double exposure of rainbow and surfboard on film. San Diego palm trees at Balboa Park on Ektar 100 film

. Multiple exposure of palm trees on film .



 Balboa Park in San Diego, California Tower, on Ektar 100 film    

 San Diego beach photo on film with light leak.  San Diego beach photo on film with light leak .

 La Jolla beach photo of little girl in the water on Ektar 100 film .