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How to Use a 35mm Film Camera the EASY way!

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How To Use 35mm  Film Camera

Welcome to my journey into the captivating world of film photography! If you've ever felt the allure of capturing moments on film but felt overwhelmed by where to start, you're in the right place. In this guide, I'll share the easiest ways to take stunning film photos using a 35mm film camera, along with insights into the entire process – from loading the film to developing and digitizing your shots.


My Love Affair with Film Photography: I fell in love with photography a long time ago, thanks to my mom's Canon F1 and Canon A1 35mm film cameras. These cameras hold a special place in my heart, representing the essence of what drew me to photography in the first place. When film photography experienced a resurgence about 5 to 7 years ago, I eagerly embraced the opportunity to rediscover the magic of these timeless devices.

Choosing the Right Camera: I recommend starting with a 35mm film camera for beginners. Cameras like the Canon F1, Canon A1, and Canon AE-1 are lightweight, easy to use, and readily available in used camera stores. The manual control these cameras offer helps slow down the creative process, making each shot intentional and meaningful.

Loading Your Film: Loading a 35mm film camera may seem daunting, but it's a simple process. I typically use Kodak Portra film, and the loading process involves a few easy steps. I'll guide you through the process, sharing tips on how to avoid wasting film and ensuring a smooth loading experience.


Setting Up Your Exposure: Understanding exposure is crucial in film photography. I'll explain how to set your ISO or ASA, adjust your shutter speed, and use your camera's light meter to achieve a proper exposure. If your camera lacks a working light meter, I'll provide alternatives, including using a light meter app or a digital camera as a reference.

Manual Focus Techniques: Mastering manual focus is essential for capturing sharp and compelling images. I'll share practical tips on using your camera's viewfinder to achieve precise focus, making the most of the split image or pixelated circle indicators.


Developing and Digitizing Your Shots: Once you've completed a roll of film, the next steps involve developing and digitizing your images. I prefer local services like Precision Camera in Austin for film development. I'll walk you through the process of handling your developed film, scanning the negatives, and making necessary edits using software like Lightroom.


Film photography is a delightful journey filled with unique experiences and a touch of nostalgia. Whether you're reviving an old hobby or diving into it for the first time, I hope this guide empowers you to start capturing moments on film. Share your film adventures in the comments below, and remember, the beauty of film lies in its imperfections and the stories it tells.

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Vanessa has been photographing weddings, events, portraits and lifestyle for over 20 years.

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