Using Film in A Digital Age

With the invention of digital photography came a world of creativity, convenience, and instant gratification. So, the question remains, is there any reason to even think about using traditional film anymore? Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of professional photographers respond to that question with a resounding “YES”. Depending on the desired effect, using film actually produces a more desirable product than digital technology.

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER USING FILM?

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on the effect that the photographer is after. For instance, take the recent popularity boost that the Holga camera has enjoyed. Lauded by websites such as Lomography, and sold at stores such as Urban Outfitters – venues for hipsters and artistic types – these cameras are known the world over as some of the worst quality pieces of equipment in the history of photography. They are constructed of plastic, with a plastic lens, and has such a poor quality build that light actually leaks into the camera body. This however, is the exact reason why budding artists and professionals find this to be such a desirable piece of equipment to have in their repertoire – the images are unpredictable and produce a quality of image that is not possible with a digital camera (barring any extensive measures to manipulate the digital image). Also, due to the reasonable price of the Holga, photographers make a habit of modifying these pieces in order to realize their artistic visions.

Consider as well, the outpouring of support that the Polariod brand received once the manufacturing plants were shut down in 2008. Only 18 months following the announcement and eventual dismantling of the brand, a hard core group of Polaroid supporters have re-launched the brand as “The Impossible Project” and are reported to be very close to releasing a black and white instant film in the very near future.

SHOULD I FORGET ABOUT DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY?

Just because film produces the desired effect for some specific situations doesn’t mean that digital photography should be eliminated entirely from one’s repertoire. Similarly, the benefits of being able to supplement a largely digital portfolio with artistic shots from “classic” equipment fuels creativity. The benefits of using digital technology cannot be ignored. Shooting digital photos is more cost effective, allows for immediate review, and is much easier to back-up and store. Moreover, the ease with which one is able to manipulate and edit digital image files has revolutionized the way photos are produced.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY?

Perhaps the best way to look at the resurgence of film in the industry is as a supplement to a largely digital world. They produce specific, desired, effects that should foster creativity, and enhance one’s portfolio. All trades depend on different tools, depending on the requirements of the job – the resurgence of film has merely added another tool to the photographer’s toolbox.

Author Patrick Perkins is an independent writer for www.professionalmodelphotography.com, a leading model photography company in Toronto. Here he writes about using Film in the age of digital photography. He also explains the importance of digital photography.