- Type the name of your camera into YouTube – there’s nothing quite like watching somebody handle a camera that’s just like the one you own to make you feel more comfortable with it yourself.
- Check the battery! Just because your camera feels ancient and totally mechanical doesn’t mean there isn’t a secret little battery hidden somewhere – usually to power the light-meter.
- Don’t forget to change the teeny-weeny ISO dial on your camera to correspond to the ISO of the film you are using – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to do this! (Not all cameras have this feature and luckily film is pretty forgiving).
- Keep your film in the fridge – it will help it last longer (usually way past its use-by date).
- Play around with some different films – have a go at shooting slide film and get it processed as regular, negative film – you can get some amazing colour shifts (this is called ‘cross-processing‘).
- If you’re lucky enough to have a proper little photo lab/camera store nearby, they are the best people to develop and process your film. You can explain to them in person about the special film you’ve used or that you’ve set your ISO incorrectly (see 3) and they’ll be able to adjust the chemicals/settings accordingly.
- …however, if you’re on a budget / experimenting / not bothered, you can pop to your nearest big supermarket and get your 35mm film processed for a couple of quid! What a bargain.
- Finish your roll of film! Don’t be precious with those exposures, snap away and experiment. Better that than stumbling across your half-exposed film in 6 months time and wondering what the heck is on it.
Rectangular photos above taken with my Pentax K1000 (35mm), the square ones are taken with my Lomo Diana F+
Rhianne16 May 2014 at 14:12
Kristien20 May 2014 at 08:55
Great tips! I never thought of checking Youtube for camera footage, will give that a try soon! Also, if you don’t have the manual of your camera anymore, there are plenty of kind-hearted people who have put old film camera manuals online. I found the manual for my Mamiya ZM in pdf format online and it clarified a few things to me.
I’ve got some other tips on my blog as well: http://www.cosmiccloudcadet.com/the-magic-of-film-photography/
You’ve got a pretty cool blog here, I’ll be following yours from now on
Arvee7 July 2014 at 08:26
Excellent tips! Most of the time, I couldn’t finish one roll in a few weeks!