Angie Mertz rediscovers the joy of film

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Angie Mertz started out shooting film until digital cameras took over the world. After seven years shooting with a digital camera, she found the process lackluster, even boring. The challenge and experimentation she craved were missing with her digital camera. Nailing exposure and editing had easy fixes where she wanted to slow down and methodically intend each one of her 16 or 36 shots.

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I like that I can’t just walk in a room and start shooting. I need to take my time and assess the room, look for great light and know which film would be best. I like the anticipation and not continually looking down at the back of my camera to see if I got the shot. I like that film has caused me to slow down and really think before I shoot. I can’t just fix it in Lightroom.

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Angie’s natural attraction to history and nostalgia feeds her love of film. Unlike digital photography where jpegs can easily be forgotten on dusty hard drives and faraway clouds, film produces something immediately tangible: negatives. Once a roll of film is shot the prints can last for generations. This physical connection to her art has reignited her passion and made her a better photographer.

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Shooting film has also changed the way I interact with clients. It has caused me to slow down and think before I shoot. As I assess the room and surroundings it has also caused me to pay closer attention to my clients. I’m more fixated on who they are, what they do and how they do it. I find myself asking more questions and trying to bring out their unique personalities. I’m less interested in having everyone look at me and more interested in their relationship with their family.

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The down-to-earth family in this casual at-home lifestyle session was grateful to be in front of Angie’s Pentax 645N medium format camera and Nikon F5 35mm camera. Not that they were thinking about her gear for a split second. These were their first family portraits since becoming a family of four and for them it was simply a Sunday afternoon together at home. 

For so many years we didn’t know if or how we’d be able to become parents, so I never, never stop being floored that we have two sons now. Adoption is bittersweet on just about every level there is. I think about my kids’ birth moms literally every day. But I’m so grateful for our path to becoming parents to these particular, insanely cherished little people

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Shooting film during this session turned Angie’s presence from a snap happy digital shooter to more of a participant. The result is a fulfilled photographer and a richly textured and accurate glimpse into this family’s life where baby bottles, diaper changes and snuggles rule the day.

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