Welp… I did it!! I finally developed my first ever roll of film!! Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about or why in the world I’m so excited about this it’s because I’ve been dreaming of getting into film photography for a long loooong time!

Film photography is where it all started. Before the world of DSLR’s, iPhone portrait mode and all things digital, there was only one way to capture a memory and that was on film rolls.

Ever since the influx of the digital age, film photography started to slowly fade out. But over the years it’s started to take its rightful place and win over the hearts of so many! Now you may be thinking, “Well if you’ve loved it for so long, then why haven’t you gotten into it earlier than now?” And the two main reasons I’ve held back from shooting film are the cost and having to learn a completely different style of shooting.

Not only would the new camera body and lenses cost upwards of $5,000-$7,000, but literally every picture that you take is around $2-$3 a photo after you factor in the cost of the professional film itself and then to process the film through a professional film lab. So obviously it’s no small feet to dive right in. That’s why I’ve decided to dip my toes in slowly and take this for a spin….

After some much needed peer pressure from some girlfriends in the industry, I decided late one night to just do the darn thing and buy a camera! Yay! But before I invested in my dream camera (a Contax) I thought going for the (much) more affordable option was a good place to start. So I did a lot of research to find out that a Canon ae-1 was going to be my best option for now. (And I thought I’d keep it all in the Canon family because I’m definitely a Canon fangirl!) I went on Ebay and found my camera for only $125 and had it shipped to me within the next 5 days!

Getting that camera in the mail was seriously so exciting!! It’s not my dream camera by any means, but it’s the start to something I’ve been dreaming about forever. Opening that box and putting the first roll of film in was like I found a new part of photography that got me nervous and anxious and excited all at the same time. Something I haven’t felt in so long because of shooting for so long and getting so comfortable with everything about my DSLR.

But there’s just something about the permanence about each shot. You only have 36 images (on a 35 mm film roll) and because of the cost of each shot, you really want it to count. Which means you have to be so much more intentional about each photo and the meaning behind every click of a button. I have a feeling even when my Mark III’s in my hand I’ll be so much more slow to click now! Which I love!

So as far as my experience with everything the first time…. I wanted to walk you through exactly how it went!

First things first, I got the camera in the mail and started to watch a few YouTube videos on how to work a Canon ae-1. After a couple more days my film came in…. but it wasn’t the right film (I have a 35mm camera and it was a 120mm film for the medium format cameras). Whomp whomp whommmp! So I had to return that to Amazon and order the right kind. Even then though, I accidentally ordered the non-professional Fuji Superia instead of the Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro. So I currently have the pro film roll in my camera right now, but these images that are developed below were on the non-professional film. Which I think were pretty good, but excited to see how these ones on the professional film stock look!

After researching a little bit I went ahead and developed through PhotoVision film lab. And YOU GUYS! They’re amazing! The sweetest people ever and the best customer service! I love how personal they are and the quality that they produce! I’ll definitely be getting the rest of my film developed through them. It’s a pretty simple process. All you have to do is print of the form they have on their website and then fill it out and send it in with your roll of film. You then email them with a few reference photos so they can get the idea of what you’re wanting your images to look like. Super simple!! After about 3-5 days you get an email with the link to your developed images (which was yesterday for me!!). I was SO.NERVOUS. to open the email but I finally did it and this is what I found….

Some that I’m decently proud of…

And here’s some that made me realize I still have a loooong ways to go 😉 …

After getting these back I realized I had probably dropped my shutter speed too low which was causing some the blur. So now for this other roll I’m trying to make better decisions with keeping the shutter speed higher. Film definitely does better with a lot of light since these cameras aren’t really made to shine in dark situations.

Overall I’m happy. Happy that I finally started on this #filmjourney. Happy that some of them turned out. And excited that this is only the beginning. There’s A CRAZY AMOUNT of room to grow, but ya gotta start somewhere right?!

Thanks for coming along with me on this film journey! Here goes nothin!

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