Why I shoot film

From Sandra Coan:

Clients often comment on the fact that my work does not look like other newborn photography they’ve seen. Part of that is due to my minimalistic style. I don’t pose babies or use props, which I know is uncommon in my field. But part of my look is also due to the way I capture my images.

Everything seen on my website was shot on film. And the subtle look of film is, what I believe, people are seeing when they comment on the distinct look of my work.

So why do I choose film?

black and white portrait of girl smiling by Sandra Coan

I choose film because my goal is to create timeless images for my clients. I want their baby’s photos to have the same sense of nostalgia that baby photos of their grandparents have. Film helps me create that.

I choose film because I know I can trust it. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if we will be able to open and view a CD or a thumb drive or even what will happen to “cloud storage” in ten, twenty or 100 years from now. What I do know is that the floppy disks I used in college are obsolete, but the film negatives I have from my own childhood and even from my parent’s childhoods are still printable.

I know that when I shoot a roll of film the lab will scan it and send it to me as a jpeg file that I can then save on my computer and share with my clients. But, if (God forbid) something were to cause my computer or my hard drives to crash, there would still be the negative, and those images would not be lost.

film photo of baby wearing a hoodie by Sandra Coan

I choose film because shooting film makes me a better photographer. It slows me down. It makes me think. It allows me to look up from my camera and connect with the people I’m working with.

Most importantly though, I choose film because it brings me joy. I share that joy with my clients and it comes through in my images. It also inspires me, which means I love my job and even after 16 years of doing it, I never feel burnt out. In fact, I look forward to each and every session I shoot and am looking forward to many more years to come.

film photo of a newborn crying by Sandra Coan

Are you new (or not) to shooting film? Here are a few resources you may find helpful:

Happy shooting!!

photo of a baby on its belly by film photographer Sandra Coan

film picture of newborn sleeping by Sandra Coan

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