Showing 59 posts tagged film

Lomography & I Still Shoot Film: Photo Competition

I am pleased to announce a film photography competition in collaboration with the fabulous folks at Lomography! It’s super simple: upload a film photo at, readers vote on photos and I will pick a winner out of the 10 most popular.


  • Prize: One winner of a selection of Lomography 35mm Films
  • Film/Camera Type: Any analogue photo not digitally enhanced or manipulated.
  • Upload Limit: 1 photo
  • Minimum Photo Dimensions: Submissions must be at least 768px.
  • Meta data must be completed (camera, film, location & 3 tags).
  • Deadline for submissions is August 9th, 2012.

Head on over to for the full details and instructions on how to upload your photo! I can’t wait to see what you all shoot :)

Where To Buy Photographic Film Online (as of 2012)

Voila: a (relatively) comprehensive list of websites which sell photographic film (35mm, 120, medium and large format.) It pains me that this list is so short… but at least we’ve still got options. Many of these websites also sell darkroom equipment, photographic paper and bulk loading supplies. If you’ve got one that’s not on the list, please feel free to add in the comments.

Looking for more info on film photography? Check out I Still Shoot Film’s Links & Resources, Photography Help & How-To’s or the Beginner’s Guide to Film Photography!

How To Take Good Care of Your Film

It suddenly occurred to me that I’ve never done a post on one of the most essential elements of film photography, which is: how to treat your film right. Imagine you’re dating your film, and you must therefore succumb to all of its whims and desires regardless of what you really want. Treating your film properly can significantly extend its life and helps you get the best results possible. So, without further ado, the most important steps to taking good care of your film:

1. KEEP YOUR FILM IN THE FRIDGE. I cannot stress this enough. In fact, it’s so very, very important that I’m going to repeat it 10 times:


Good. Now get up off your ass and put your film in your fridge RIGHT NOW. Have you ever noticed that professional shops keep the film in big refrigerators like soda vending machines? Yeah, there’s a reason why they do that. It keeps film fresh. Personally, I have an entire shelf and crisper drawer dedicated to film. My husband knows better than to argue with me about this. But that’s nothing. Check this guy out:

This was apparently in preparation for a trip… but I know many photographers who, like this guy,  do not have actual food in their refrigerators.

Now, sadly, the fridge does not fix all film woes when it comes to the cruel hand of time. Here’s an excerpt from Kodak’s official page on Storage and Handling of Unprocessed Film:

Refrigerating camera films reduces the photographic effects of long-term storage, but refrigeration cannot reduce the effects of ambient gamma radiation. Naturally occurring gamma radiation increases the D-min and toe densities and also increases grain. Higher speed films are affected more by gamma radiation than lower speed films. A camera film with an EI (Exposure Index) of 800 has a much greater change than an EI 200 film. Exposed and unprocessed film that has been properly refrigerated retains the speed and contrast of the exposure conditions, but the overall D-min, toe and grain will continue to increase.

For those of you who don’t speak fancy photography, it means your Ilford Delta 3200 won’t keep as long as your Ilford Pan F 50.


Considering #1, this is not that surprising. Film doesn’t like heat. Or too much humidity. Obviously sometimes this is unavoidable, for example if you’re shooting in the middle of July and have film on you for the day. That’s okay. However, if you’re traveling to a tropical climate and have a mini-fridge in your room… you know where this is going. Like people, film does need some humidity and complete dryness isn’t a good thing either (hence the fridge.)

In general you should not leave your film in the car when it’s hot, laying in the sun even if it’s inside your home, or out in places that regularly get warm and humid. Heat and humidity promote mold growth and ferrotyping, which is a fancy way of saying it makes the gelatin base of the film swell, changing the overall surface structure. Basically, it’s not good.

A ferrotyped negative looks like this:



If you stockpile film (I do and if you don’t you should think about it) and intend on storing it for a period of 6 months or longer, the ideal temperature is freezing - actually below freezing, at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and -18 degrees Celsius.

When freezing film, it is essential to let it warm up by 25 degrees (F). That’s approximately three hours for 35mm. If you don’t let it warm up, it will crack and break - because frozen film is brittle film.


Anyone who has shot 120 film has noticed the “Load in Subdued Light” message printed on the backing paper. Anyone who has shot 120 film will also admit that at some point they have completely and blatantly ignored this instruction. Why? So many reasons, but primarily laziness… which I myself have also been guilty of on occasion.

Sure, there’s a good chance your photos will turn out okay even if you reload in broad daylight, but do you really want to risk it? Fogging sucks, so find a shady corner or shut yourself in a bathroom.


Lots of people want to get the most out of a roll of film… in fact, one time my grandfather accidentally wound a roll of film after shooting only 7 frames and asked me to pull it out and reload it in a darkbag so he could finish the roll. But I digress…

Leaving a roll of partially-exposed film in your camera for weeks or months pretty much guarantees your film will be partially degraded. For those of you looking for a quicker solution than waiting for a decade to get “expired film effects,” may like the results. But if you have a variety of cherish photos, some of them will be blown out, faded, have light leaks or have color changes. I’ll quote Kodak again:

Do not keep film in the camera or magazine longer than necessary.

Simple. Besides, if you shoot film, at some point or another you’ll open up a camera back thinking it’s empty only to have your eyes fall upon the silver glossy surface of exposed, undeveloped film, at which point you will probably shriek to yourself and try to close the back as quickly as possible. This doesn’t happen when you finish rolls you start on the same day.

By following these simple steps, you can often extend the life of your film by years without seeing any difference in image quality.

870,000 never before seen photos at the NYC Department of Records

The NYC Department of Records announced the release of  870,000 photos which have never been seen before, now available for public viewing online. The photos date as far back as the mid-1880’s, and chronicle everything from guns and gangs to buildings and construction. Speaking from personal experience, I highly recommend that you wait to click this link until you have several hours free in your schedule… because this photo gallery is basically a black hole of amazing.

FujiFilm Announces Film Price Increase (@ PDN Pulse)

Fujifilm announced on April 23rd that it will be raising the price of film products. Here’s the press release:

FUJIFILM Corporation announces price increase of Photographic Films

FUJIFILM Corporation has announced that it will implement a worldwide price increase for its photographic films. The price increases are substantial and it would be double digit, but will vary depending on products, markets and regions.

1. Products: Photographic Films: Color Negative Films, Color Reversal Films, Black and White Films, and Quick Snap.

2. Date of Price Increases: Effective from May 2012

The demand for film products is continuously decreasing, yen’s appreciation and the cost of production, such as raw materials, oil and energy, continues to rise or stay at high level. Under such circumstances, despite our effort to maintain the production cost, Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs during the production process and is forced to pass on price increases.
To sustain its photo imaging business, Fujifilm has decided to increase the price of photographic films.

Fujifilm remains committed to photographic products and asserts that even with the new price. Its photographic products remain exceptionally good value compared with other system products. The new pricing structure will be applied to each market based on its individual conditions.

How does this make me feel? I don’t know… on one side, I (like everyone) hate paying more for something when I am already accustomed to a certain price range. On the other hand, if Fujifilm was unable to produce film anymore, a piece of me would die inside. I guess that means that I am okay with paying more for something I truly love.

Feelings? Thoughts?

For those of you developing at home (or those of you wanting to) here is a full chart for film processing times with every type of Ilford film and chemicals. I have always said that if you follow directions, you can develop and print your own photographs. This just makes it easier than looking on the tiny box.
Grab the PDF from Ilford’s website for a larger version!


For those of you developing at home (or those of you wanting to) here is a full chart for film processing times with every type of Ilford film and chemicals. I have always said that if you follow directions, you can develop and print your own photographs. This just makes it easier than looking on the tiny box.

Grab the PDF from Ilford’s website for a larger version!

Hello, I'm traveling to Germany soon, should I worry about carrying any film with me while traveling and going through air ports?

Asked by facemafia

For film with an ISO of 800 or higher, you should ask for a hand check. I also ask for them with 120 film, although allegedly they say it’s safe to put through. I usually throw in a roll or two of Ilford Delta 3200, that way they won’t tell you it’s okay to put it through anyway.

Here’s the TSA’s official recommendations for traveling with film (from


Never place undeveloped film in your checked baggage, our security equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage your undeveloped film.  Place your film in your carry-on baggage or request a hand inspection.  Please note that our carry-on security equipment might also damage certain film if the film passes through more than five times.

If your film cannot be cleared by X-ray inspection, or you desire to have it inspected by hand, you may be required to open the box, canister, or wrapper so our Security Officer can inspect it. We recommend leaving your film in the unopened manufacturer’s packaging.

Our security equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage your undeveloped film. Carry undeveloped film with you to the security checkpoint.

None of the security equipment - neither the machines used for checked baggage nor those used for carry-on baggage - will affect digital camera images or film that has already been processed - slides, videos, photo compact discs or picture memory cards.

General Use Film

You should remove all film from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on baggage.  The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800.

If the same roll of film is exposed to X-ray inspections more than 5 times before it is developed, it is possible that damage may occur.  Protect your film by requesting a hand-inspection for your film if it has already passed through the carry-on baggage X-ray screening equipment more than five times.

Specialty Film

At the passenger security checkpoint, you should remove the following types of film from your carry-on baggage and ask for a hand inspection:

  • Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher
  • Highly sensitive X-ray, medical or scientific films
  • Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)
  • Film that is or will be underexposed
  • Film that you intend to ‘push process’
  • Sheet, large format and motion picture film

Tips and Precautions:

To expedite the security process of a hand inspection, you should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting it into clear plastic bags.

Consider having your exposed film processed locally before passing through airport security on your return trip.

We recommend that you do not place your film in lead-lined bags since the lead bag will have to be hand-inspected.

You may still consider bringing a lead-lined bag if you are traveling through airports in other countries as their policies may vary. Check with your airline or travel agent for more information on foreign airports.

Help Highlights

For any of you who might have missed some of these, here are highlights from the How-To and guide posts to help you shoot more film:

Help & How-Tos


Complete List of Help & How-Tos

Complete List of Guides