Five Easy Film Tips For New Analogue Photographers

We’re amazed to see so many new film photographers coming into Racquet each and every day. We really love to see film’s resurgence, and it’s part of the reason we’re releasing ‘The Modern, Opinionated, Film Photography Journal’. Until that drops (soon, we promise) we’ll continue to write small blog posts. Keep up to date via our Instagram (@racquetstudio) and don’t forget our new lab unveiling and ‘10,000 Rolls’ gallery launches on the 30th of this month. A must see! As for quick tips, here we go.

  1. Over Is Better Than Under: A lot of people will intentionally overexpose their colour negative film. There are a number of YouTube videos that show film can handle roughly 4-5 stops overexposed, but starts to deteriorate rapidly at around two stops under. Knowing that, we always say fill your film with light. Even films like Delta 3200 (black and white) look amazing shot in the day, and it’s wrong to assume that just because a film is ‘high speed’ it needs to be shot late at night. One particular note pertaining to this recommendation is that ‘consumer grade’ film is generally oversaturated and overexposing it can calm the colours down and produce a far nicer image.
  2. Lens, film then body: If you’re in the market for new equipment, it’s good to remember that the quality of your lens is generally the most important element of your setup (unless you need a camera body that has a high shutter speed or similar thanks to specific shooting requirements). Next up, the quality of your film should be taken into account. Pro film is going to give you more accurate colour reproduction and will be far more forgiving in the editing process. If the budget is there, spend a little more on both of these elements and mount them to your light tight box (key words: light tight) and you’ll end up with better results than if you run average film through a great camera body with a rather poor lens.
  3. The Straps Length: this is super short, but if you own a point and shoot and you have the original strap, 99% of the time the outreach of that strap (run it down your forearm) will be the minimum focusing distance of the camera. A rather handy tip for many point and shooters to use out in the field.
  4. Common Errors: We’ll race through these – if your film is returned blank but shows the DX code just fine, it’s possible that you didn’t wind the film on correctly. Don’t junk the camera – give it another shot. If your film is returned and half of each frame is blank (and you didn’t use flash), your camera is likely suffering from shutter capping. Google it and see if the images look the same as yours, and that will give you a better idea of what this means (essentially the shutter curtains overlapping due to one being faster/slower than the other). If you have stripes of light, you probably need to replace the light seals. If you shoot a medium format camera and you have issues with frames overlapping, go gentle on the wind. If your focus in each shot is at the front or the back of the image (or doesn’t vary) you probably have issues with your lens and should get your camera CLA’d.
  5. Hacking the DX code: If you have a camera that automatically reads the DX code and you can’t override it, you can hack the film canister to push/pull your film (you just need duct tape and a few other bits and pieces you’ll likely already have laying around the house). See the table below or read this article. On the topic of film, try a bunch of different film at box speed and see what you think, then start experimenting.


If you’re not already, follow Racquet Film on Instagram right here