Jen J Photo — Adventures in Film

Jen J Photo is killing me!  Can you believe this is her first (and so far only) try at film?  We need to tell this girl to trust in it and keep shooting film!

“For the longest time I considered Jonathan Canlas and Elizabeth Messina to be the photographers I most admired. Last year I bought each of their books (Jonathan’s FIND guide) and decided to give film a shot. I followed the FIND guide as meticulously as I could. I rented a medium format camera (Mamiya 645 with 80mm lens), a light meter, and ten rolls of Fuji 400H for a week. I shot my four kids, my yard, food, and some friends who were willing to model.

The process itself was a bit stressful for me, not knowing how often to meter, and honestly the mechanics of loading the film itself was awkward. But I did really enjoy the intentional, thoughtful way I composed my shots.

When I got the scans back, I was completely blown away at the richness and depth of the images. Not only that, but I know I overexposed some of them because I forgot to change the settings between one setup and the next. I remember thinking, “Crap! What a waste!”  and yet like magic the images were actually usable. There is one photo of my daughters that I love so much I blew it up to a ridiculous size and it is now the focal point of their bedroom.

Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo Family Film Photos by San Fransisco photographer Jen J Photo

This was an expensive experiment, costing nearly $500 once the film was developed and scanned at Richard photo lab. But get this. On a typical session shooting digital, I will capture 700-800 frames, and ultimately show the client about 60 of them. That’s less than 10%. Not to mention the time I’m up in the wee hours of the morning culling and color-correcting. These 10 rolls of 120 film yielded 150 exposures, and I flagged 90 of them as “picks.” That’s 60%. And I didn’t spend any time on them in post. Big fat zero! Those are some convincing numbers, and I suppose the percentage of “keepers” would only increase as I refine my technique shooting with film.

The epilogue is this. I haven’t shot film since, the reasons being equal parts cost and fear. (I’m too afraid to sell my digital set-up to get the cash to switch to film, and my earnings have been earmarked for other expenses). The fear is rooted in the question of how can I be confident shooting film for clients when it takes me several minutes just to load the film and another several minutes to meter and compose? But I’ve decided that this is the year I’m going to buy that film camera and at least shoot personal work with it to get more comfortable.”

We here at Let the Kids are cheering you on Jen J!  What do you guys think?  Should  she film again?

And the FIND Business Guide for Photographers is on sale this weekend!! Happy Valentines Day!

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