Film Photography: Shoot Your First Roll Of 35mm Film | Kyle McDougall | Skillshare

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Film Photography: Shoot Your First Roll Of 35mm Film

teacher avatar Kyle McDougall, Photographer + Filmmaker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Camera Options

    • 3. Finding A Camera

    • 4. What To Look For While Camera Shopping

    • 5. My Camera Recommendations

    • 6. Why Negative Film?

    • 7. The Best Beginner Film

    • 8. Loading Film

    • 9. Operation & Metering

    • 10. External Metering

    • 11. One Tip For Exposure

    • 12. Where To Get Your Film Developed

    • 13. Scanning & Editing Your Film

    • 14. Wrap Up

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About This Class

In today's digital-focused photography world, shooting on film provides both an experience and unique quality that can't be replicated. It's a process that will absolutely make you a better photographer, regardless of what level you're currently at.

While intriguing to many, shooting on film can often be a bit intimidating—but it doesn't need to be. The reality is, shooting on film is easier, more forgiving, and cheaper than many people think. 

Shoot Your First Roll Of 35mm Film

This course is designed to quickly introduce you to the world of 35mm film photography, and provide you with the necessary steps and knowledge that you need to shoot your first roll of film. By the end of the course, you'll have shot a roll of 24 exposures, will have the files on your computer to share with the world and will have knowledge and confidence that will propel you forward!

We'll start from scratch, beginning with:

  • Purchasing your first camera—including the best places to find affordable used equipment and reliable make/model recommendations that still perform
  • Choosing A Film Stock—including a quick overview of the current film market, and which film provides the best value and performance for beginners
  • Camera Operation—including loading/unloading film, and basic operation
  • Exposure For Film—including using your camera's internal light meter, external light metering and how to do it for free, and a simple technique that will guarantee good looking images
  • Developing And Scanning Your Negatives—including where to send your film for development, lab recommendations, and how the scanning process works
  • Post-processing—including why you need to edit your film scans, and simple yet impactful techniques to help you complete your images

I look forward to introducing you to the world of film photography, and can't wait to see your results!

Meet Your Teacher

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Kyle McDougall

Photographer + Filmmaker


Kyle McDougall is a contemporary landscape photographer from Ontario, Canada. His work is driven by a fascination with society, time, and change. He is an advocate of film, and currently creates all of his images using a wide range of formats—from 35mm to 4x5 large format.

Kyle's love of film has inspired him to help other photographers who are interested in exploring the medium or improving their technique. He regularly releases videos on his YouTube channel titled "Analogue", that focus on both craft and equipment. Kyle also has a strong background in filmmaking and video production—working professionally in the industry as both a freelancer and a business owner over the last ten years.

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] My name is Kyle McDougall, and I'm a contemporary landscape photographer based out of Ontario, Canada. Over the last 10 years, photography has been a huge part of my life, both personally and professionally. Last year during a 10-month road trip across North America, I rediscovered film photography and was instantly hooked. It didn't take me long to completely make the switch over to film from digital, and since then my life has pretty much been consumed by it. [MUSIC]. For me, shooting on film provides a unique experience and aesthetic quality that can't be matched. It has a certain way of keeping you from becoming complacent. It's this love or addiction to film photography that really inspired me to encourage and help others learn more about the medium. [MUSIC] Today we're going to take a look at the world of 35 millimeter film photography, and I'm going to teach you everything you need to know so that you can create your first images on film. I created this course for anyone who hasn't shot on film before to show you that it's not as difficult or as expensive as it sometimes made out to be. In this class we're going to focus specifically on the 35 millimeter format, and I'm going to take you through the steps from purchasing a camera all the way to scanning, so that you have the confidence and knowledge necessary to create your own images on film. I'm excited to have you here. Let's get started. 2. Camera Options: [MUSIC] One of the exciting things about film photography is that there's a whole new world out there of high-quality and affordable used equipment. Now some of you may already have an old film camera that was passed down to you and if you do in Lesson 3, I'm going to go over things you need to look for to make sure that it's in good working condition. For everyone else, we're going to take a look at two types of film cameras that provide good performance at an economical price point. Since this is all about shooting your first roll of film, there's really no need to go out and spend a ton of money on high-quality equipment right off the bat. [MUSIC] The two most common and affordable styles of film cameras that you're likely to find when browsing the used market are either SLRs or better known as single lens reflex cameras. Now, these are exactly the same concept as a digital SLR, just obviously using film. The second option are point-and-shoots. Believe it or not, the point-and-shoot market has a number of really great options with a few even becoming quite legendary, fetching upwards of a $1,000 plus. Now, either an SLR or a point-and-shoot is going to work just fine and provide more than acceptable results. But they do provide different experiences from one another and both have their own pros and cons. When it comes to operation, it doesn't get much easier than a point-and-shoot. One of the big advantages is that they're usually fully automated so I'm talking auto exposure, auto wind, and auto focus. Now, for someone who's new to film, this allows you to focus completely on your subject without really having to worry too much about using the camera. As this course isn't really going to get into camera basics like exposure, and shutter speeds, and apertures, if you're new to for photography as a whole, your best bet is probably going to be a point-and-shoot. When it comes to cons with point-and-shoots, they could be considered less reliable, mainly because of the automation and the electronics. When it comes to the optics, except for in the higher-end models, they're also probably not going to be as good as an SLR. When it comes to SLRs, they're also easy to find, especially online and even though they'll most likely run you a bit more than a point-and-shoot, you can still pick up a really good camera for cheap. I picked up this Minolta X-700 from a thrift store for $20. I also picked up a Cannon AE-1 which I'm going to show later for $5. They can definitely be found out there they just often take a little bit of hunting. Some pros of SLRs is that they're usually going to be of higher quality when it comes to both the build and the optics, they're definitely going to be more robust. Some of the disadvantages is that they're going to be a little harder to find and probably, cost you a little more and they're going to require more user involvement when it comes to things like focusing, exposure, and film loading. If you're still relatively new to photography, but think you want to go the SLR route, I've attached a document in the class notes which lists a number of recommendations, including a couple of cameras that have priority modes, which will be a little more automated when it comes to things like exposure, so definitely check that out. In the end, you really can't go wrong with either camera, it just all comes down to personal preference and experience. [MUSIC] 3. Finding A Camera: [MUSIC] When it comes to finding a film camera, you definitely got to have some fun with it. Me personally, I love sourcing at these old cameras, cleaning them up, loading up some film and then giving them a new life. When it comes to a hunting for one, you're either going to be shopping locally or online. Both approaches definitely differ though, when it comes to convenience and time spent. We're going to start by focusing on the online world. When it comes to shopping online, there are three resources that I would recommend. The first is a company called KEH, the second is eBay, and the third is Craigslist. Both eBay and Craigslist can be great for trying to find a deal, and eBay will definitely have the most options when it comes to availability and selection. But there's an element of risk involved as you're really trusting the buyers word about the condition. Craigslist's won't be as plentiful, but you do have the option of checking the camera out in person, if you're shopping on your local Craigslist. KEH is different in that it's an actual used cameras store that's been around since 1979. Their websites pretty easy to use, constantly updated and for the most part they'll probably have what you're looking for. The one nice thing and one of the reasons that I really like shopping there, is that all of their equipment is tested and guaranteed. So you know that what you're buying is going to work when it shows up. If I had to pick one of the three online resources to shop with, it would probably be KEH followed by eBay as a close second. But KEH wins for all of the reasons that we just talked about. The only downside with them is that they're almost always going to be the most expensive option. But for good reason, I guess. [MUSIC] Shopping locally definitely isn't going to be as convenient as online. A lot of the times you will end up empty-handed. But the hunt for use gear really is half the fun. I found some pretty crazy stuff in thrift and antique stores, including a four by five, a large format camera. So you never really know what you're going to find unless you get out there. When it comes to local, you're either going to focus on thrift stores or antique stores. Thrift stores are going to be cheaper, but it really is hit or miss. Sometimes you'll walk into one and find 20 different cameras and other times nothing. The only downside with thrift stores is that the equipment obviously isn't tested. So it's a little bit of a gamble. When it comes to antique stores. They can be pretty good as well. The only downside with them is that the owners and vendors, typically like to price the equipment for the same as tested gear would go for online. But with that being said, you usually can barter with them and get the price down, so they're still worth taking a look at. So to wrap things up, if you want convenience selection and a guarantee definitely had online probably to a website like KEH or even eBay. If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, definitely go the thrift store route, but I'm warning you in advance it can get addicting. [MUSIC] 4. What To Look For While Camera Shopping: [MUSIC] Now that we've gone over the two different types of cameras to keep an eye out for, I want to spend a couple of minutes and go over a few things that you should look for when you're buying a used camera that hasn't been tested. Now, for the most part, this is going to apply to thrift and antique store finds. When it comes to point-and-shoot, each camera is going to require a battery to operate. If the one you're looking at doesn't have a battery in it, there's really going to be no way of knowing if it's in working condition or not. This Olympus that I found still have the working original battery in it. I was able to fire off a few frames in the store and make sure that it was still operational. But for the most part, these cameras can be had for under $5, so really the risk is pretty low. For the most part, if you put a battery in and everything seems operational, there's a good chance that it's going to work just fine. Out of the handful of point shoots that I've picked up, I've only ever had one that didn't work properly, and that was because of an issue where it wouldn't actually load the film. When it comes to SLRs, there's definitely a few more things that you're going to want to keep an eye out for. The first and most common failure are the light seals in the film chamber. Now, with any SLR film camera, if you open up the back, you have these grooves here, or channels that the back door closes into. In those channels, and also on the edges of the camera, is some type usually of black high-density foam or fabric that creates a seal when the door's closed to keep stray light from entering the film chamber and fogging the film. Now, this is often referred to as light leaks, and these show up as red, or yellow streaks across the exposed film. [MUSIC] On a lot of old cameras, these seals can and do deteriorate over time. I just picked up this old Minolta, and it's a really good example of a camera that will need the light seals replaced. You can see on the edges here. This is definitely a good thing to keep an eye out for because if the light seals are gone in your camera, you're definitely going to need to get them replaced. Secondly, it's a good idea to advance the film lever and give the shutter a fire, just to make sure that both are still working. These are definitely less likely to fail, but still worth checking out. It's important to note too that some SLR models, like this Minolta X-700, are like point-and-shoots in that they require a battery for the shutter to work. If there isn't a battery in the camera already, you're going to just have to take a little bit of a gamble and hope that it works. But for the most part, if the camera is pretty clean and you didn't find it in a bar or something, there's a good chance that it's probably going to work. The third area to look at is the lens. If you can, remove the lens from the body and look through it at a bright source of light. Older lenses that haven't been well cared for can develop issues with fungus, or the anti-reflective coating deteriorating. A little bit of dust inside the lens isn't going to hurt, but just make sure that there aren't any major flaws. When it comes to point-and-shoots, if there's a battery in the camera and all the functions seem like they're working properly, there's a good chance that it's going to work just fine. When it comes to SLRs, you definitely want to check the light seals and give the film advance a stroke, and fire the shutter to make sure those are working, and definitely check the lens and make sure that there aren't any major flaws. [MUSIC] 5. My Camera Recommendations: [MUSIC] To help you out in your hunt for your camera, I'm going to go over three different models to keep an eye out for. All three of these are fairly common, so you should come across them during your search. First up is the Canon AE1. Now, this was a super popular camera back in the day with Canon selling over a million units so there's a pretty good chance that you'll come across when doing your search. The camera, it's simple to use. The old Canon lenses produce some really nice results. It even has a shutter priority mode, which is a nice feature if you're looking for something that is a bit more automated. Basically you set the shutter speed that you want to use and the camera will set the proper f-stop automatically. I found my AE1 in a thrift store for five bucks. Although it was pretty filthy and it needed a major cleaning, but it definitely works great now and that says a lot about the reliability of these old cameras. My second recommendation is the Pentax K1000. Now this is a camera that was super popular and still is to this day, due in large part to its simple, all mechanical design. There's a good chance that if you find one of these cameras, it's probably still going to work. Older Pentax glass is also on par with other manufacturers, so there won't be any limitations there. Due to its popularity the K1000 is starting to get up there in price, but if you do enough digging, you should still be able to find one for a reasonable amount. For my third recommendation, I want to talk about point-and-shoots as a whole, as you're likely to run into all sorts of different models during your hunt. For every good one that you do find, you're likely going to come across 20 others that are junk. What you want to look for when searching for a point-and-shoot camera is a fixed focal length lens and a fast aperture of either 2.8 or 3.5. Any point-and-shoot camera that has a fast fixed lens is probably going to be one of higher-quality and will most likely produce nice results. Point shoots that have a slow aperture lens are probably worth avoiding. Also stay away from any brand names that you've never heard of before because you're probably bound to run into quite a few of them. A couple of great options in the point shoot world are the Minolta freedom III, which I own and absolutely love and it can still be found for a really cheap price. Also the original Olympus Stylus, not the Olympus Stylus Mju, which is now going for at least a couple $100. These older Olympus Stylus with the F3.5 lens are still really high-quality and you could still get them for pretty cheap. Now that we've covered a wide range of topics regarding purchasing your first film camera, it's time to get out there and hunt for one. Personally, I'd recommend starting with thrift or antiques stores first and seeing what you can find there. Once you find something that you're happy with or if you already have a hand-me-down camera, take a picture of it and post it in the project section, along with a little bit of a backstory behind how you found it or the history behind it. Like I said before, there's nothing I love more than finding these old cameras, cleaning them up, loading some film and giving them a new life. [MUSIC] 6. Why Negative Film?: [MUSIC] When it comes to film, there are two different types, reversal and negative film. In this class, we're going to be dealing with negative films specifically, which is definitely the more common and popular on the market today. We're going to get too technical things, but I did want to take some time to talk about what negative film is and what some of its advantages are [MUSIC]. I don't have any exposed reversal film here to show, but basically with it, the colors look as they should and the tones look as they should. It essentially looks like a mini image on the filmstrip. Negative film, on the other hand, is exactly as the name implies. It's basically a negative version of the image itself. Light areas are going to appear dark, dark areas are going to appear light. The colors are going to be reversed and then the films even have this orange mask over top of it. Shooting on film can often be a bit intimidating to new cameras, mainly because of the lack of instant image review that were also used to with digital. Basically, until you get your film developed and scanned, you won't know exactly how your exposure turned out. For a lot of people that can be a bit nerve-wracking at first. With digital, it can be easy to build up the habit of checking the screen and then making adjustments based on how the image looks. With film, you need to be a little bit more thoughtful. With that being said, though, negative film is actually pretty flexible and very forgiving, or at least more than you would think when first starting out. Now the goal isn't to be lazy with your approach, but when you're learning, it is nice to have that flexibility. When it comes to exposure, negative film can be overexposed by up to four or five stops and still produce normal looking images. That's a more advanced to an in-depth topic. But for now, all you need to know is that nailing your exposure when using negative film isn't a deal breaker. Don't worry too much if you didn't get things perfect in camera. It's a good chance that your images are still going to look fine. Reversal film, on the other hand, is nowhere near as flexible and you pretty much have to be bang on with your exposure. For that reason, if you're interested in reversal film, it's probably best to wait until you're more comfortable calculating your exposure. For me, I still shoot all of my personal work on negative film because it's just what I enjoy the most [MUSIC] 7. The Best Beginner Film: [MUSIC] In the world of negative film, there are still quite a few choices out there on the market, both in black and white and in color. For this course, we're going to focus specifically on color-negative film. I'm a big fan of color film and is what I currently shoot all of my work on. I feel pretty confident throwing out suggestions for what I think is the best stock or stocks for someone who's just starting out. When it comes to film choices, there are stocks that are considered professional-grade, and then there's ones that are considered consumer-grade. You really can't get excellent results from almost all of the film stocks out there and you'll likely only start to notice major differences once you gain a little more experience and start looking closer at details. For the most part though, professional stocks are going to be able to capture a wider range of tones and exhibit less grain when scanned. With that being said though, every film stock has its own unique characteristics and things don't always need to be perfect. For me, shooting on film isn't about creating the most clean, sterile in each possible. I definitely recommend testing of different film stocks and figuring out which ones you like best and then go ahead and using them in the most creative way possible. I shoot most of my work on what would be considered professional film stocks. But my recent Xen portfolio that I'm putting together was purposely shot exclusively on two different consumer film stocks using a point-and-shoot camera. That was a creative decision I made based on the style of the project. The film stock that I think is the best option for anyone who's just starting out is Fuji's color 200. I also want to throw a runner-up for Fuji's superior 400. These are both really capable color-negative film stocks and they'll definitely produce acceptable results. They can be had online and a number of different places or you can also find them at your local Walmart and they probably won't run you anywhere more than three to $4 a roll. 8. Loading Film: [MUSIC] When it comes to loading film, the process is going to be pretty different between a point and shoot and an SLR. We're going to start first with a point and shoot as it's a pretty straightforward process. We're going to start by opening the back of the camera up. This camera is a little different than most in that it has the film cartridge side on the right. On most cameras that's going to be on the left some point and shoots it will be on the right-hand side, but it's still pretty simple. What you want to do is you want to insert your film into the film cartridge side. In this case, it's the right. Then all that you need to do with the point and shoot is just pull some of the film out and you want to place it. Take a little more there, you want to place it into the take-up side of the camera like that. Then really it's just as simple as closing the door and the camera's going to spool the film up automatically. We're going to go ahead and do that. [NOISE] You can here it's spooling and simple as that. With a point and shoot, once you've finished your roll of film, there's typically going to be a rewind button on the bottom of the camera and you simply just push that. It's going to automatically rewind the film back into the cassette and at that point you're good to open the back of the camera and pop out your film. Now we're going to go ahead and we're going to load some film into this Canon AE1. What you want to do is just pop open the back of the camera. Then you want to take your film, it's going to go on the left-hand side, which is the common sight on most cameras. You can push down the rewind knob for now. You want to bring just enough film out so you can get it over to the take-up spool and just feed it into the take-up spool until it can't be pushed in any further. Then we're going to just advance the film until it grabs. I'm going to have to do it again here. It should grab and start spooling. I'm pretty happy with that. Then you can even take the rewind knob if you want and give it a bit of a turn, just to take up any slack if there is any. At this point it should be good to go ahead and close the back of the camera. After you have the back closed like I mentioned before on an SLR, the film obviously isn't going to advance automatically. We need to make sure that we advanced the first portion of film enough so we aren't exposing any photos on film that's already been exposed to light. You'll see here there's a counter, right now it's on S. What we want to do, is you want to advance it until it reaches one, usually about two or three times. There we go. Now we are on one and we should be good to go. With an SLR, once you've finished shooting your roll of film, you're going to flip the camera over and there's going to be a button here which basically unlocks the take-up spool. You want to push that in and now you can come and you're going to be able to rewind the film back into the cassette and you basically want to rewind it until you don't feel any more resistance and it starts to spin free. Obviously with this, we only advance it a couple of frames, we didn't shoot a whole roll. Typically you will be rewinding for quite a lot longer than that. Once you've rewound it enough so you don't feel any more resistance, at that point you're good to pop open the back and take out your expose film. 9. Operation & Metering: Since this course is for people who already have some experience with photography, we're not going to dive too deep into the specifics of camera operation as it's pretty much the same as it is with a digital camera, except for the fact that you don't have a screen on the back. [MUSIC] The one topic I do want to talk about though, is light metering. For both point and shoots and SLRs, the first thing you're going to want to do after you load your film is set your ISO so that the camera knows what speed of film you're shooting with. The reason your camera needs to know this, is so that it can calculate the proper exposure with the internal light meter. A lot of point and shoot cameras will read what's called a DX code which is found on most 35 millimeter film cartridges. All the DX code does is provide ISO information to the camera automatically so that you don't actually have to set it yourself. For the most part, a lot of point and shoots don't even come with a way to change the ISO manually, so they're relying on that DX code to be able to light meter properly. When it comes to metering and exposing with a point and shoot camera, well, it's pretty straightforward as most of these cameras are fully automatic. You're really just relying on the cameras internal meter to make the right decisions for you, and in most cases they do a pretty good job. With SLRs, the ISO setting is usually found on the shutter dial and is pretty straightforward to set. Most SLR models are going to have a built in meter, and for the most part they're all pretty accurate. But keep in mind it doesn't really matter how accurate your meter is, there are still situations where it could get fooled, like backlit scenarios or high contrast situations. For example, if I'm shooting a portrait of someone and they're backlit with a bright sky behind them, it could be very easy for my camera's meter to think that I'm trying to expose for the bright sky instead of the subject, in which case the image would be underexposed, so just something to keep in mind moving forward. On many of the cheaper SLRs, you won't have a choice of different metering modes like you would on your digital camera. Almost always the meter is going to be a center weighted design, focusing mainly on the center and lower portion of the frame. Every SLR model is going to display the reading a little differently, but for the most part there's always going to be a marking or a needle in the viewfinder that will line up when you've achieved the proper exposure. For example, with this Yashica FX-3, all there is is a green LED in the viewfinder that lights up when you've achieved the proper exposure. If you see a red plus or minus, you're either under or overexposing and you need to adjust your settings until you get that green LED. Whatever camera you end up using, you'll definitely get used to it's characteristics over time. With that being said, in lesson 11, I'm going to show you an approach can take so your images always come back exactly how you hoped they would look. [MUSIC]. 10. External Metering: [MUSIC] If for some reason, the SLR you purchased doesn't have a built-in light meter, or if you want a second option, then you're going to need to pick up an external light meter. Now, an external light meter is a valuable piece of equipment for any film photographer, but it's definitely not a necessity, especially when you're first starting out. Handheld light meters can run anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars, so you're best to wait until you know if working with film is going to be a long-term thing for you. With that being said, there is one option out there that's free, and while it's not perfect, it can definitely be used if you find yourself in a situation where you're lacking a light meter on the camera that you purchased. That option is your phone and a light meter app. There are a bunch of different apps out there, both for iPhone and for Android. I use an iPhone app which is called Fotometer V2 and I've had pretty good success with it. I've used it multiple times now and I've always had pretty good results. Now, the way that this app works is that it uses your phone's camera to take a reflected reading of the light coming off of your subject, which is exactly the same way that your camera's internal meter would work. With Fotometer V2, you set your aperture and your ISO, and then you point it at your subject by looking through the little window at the top of the screen. The app will adjust its needle at the bottom to the corresponding shutter speed that you need to use to expose correctly. Pretty straightforward and pretty accurate. I used this app when I was first getting back into film and I was pretty impressed by the results. Just keep in mind though that the way this meter works is the same as your in-camera's meter so it can still be fooled by those same high-contrast or backlit scenarios. 11. One Tip For Exposure: [MUSIC] Now that we've talked about metering before you start creating images, I just want to share one technique with you that will help you avoid any issues with exposure. In Lesson 6, we talked about how forgiving and flexible negative film is, and the fact that it can be overexposed by a number of stops and still produce normal-looking results. On the other hand, negative film does not like underexposure whatsoever, and it really should be avoided at all costs. When you underexpose your negative film, you'll end up getting muddy shadows and excess grain in the image. At most, you don't want to underexpose your negative film by any more than one stop. Knowing that negative film deals really well with overexposure and doesn't deal well with underexposure, I almost always overexpose my film by at least one stop on purpose. This just helps me avoid any situations where my meter may have been fooled and in any other case, I would end up underexposing my film. If you're just starting out, this is definitely something I'd recommend you do as well. The specifics of how negative film deals with overexposure is another topic in itself but for now, all that you need to know is that it's completely okay to overexpose your film. When you send it away to get developed and scanned, you'll get images back that look properly exposed. For example, if you're shooting with film, we looked at earlier, Fuji color 200, you'd want to set your camera or your light meter to ISO 100. By doing this, you're basically having your camera meter as if you had ISO 100 speed film loaded and as we all know, the difference from ISO 200 to ISO 100 is one stop, so every image you shoot is going to automatically be overexposed by one stop. Doing this just gives you some peace of mind, knowing that if for some reason your camera or your external light meter gave you a false reading and underexpose. Well, you're already overexposing by one-stop, and in a lot of scenarios, that's going to make up the difference. I do want to note that unfortunately with some point shoot cameras, the ISO is set automatically by the DEX code, which we looked at earlier. This trick won't apply to every camera. Now that we've gone over cameras, film choices, metering, and exposure, it's time to get out there and shoot some images. Make sure you have fun with it and keep in mind everything we've talked about so far. In the next two episodes, we're going to look at where to get your film developed and scanned, as well as editing your scans when you get them back from the lab. [MUSIC] 12. Where To Get Your Film Developed: [MUSIC] One of the important things as a film shooter is funding a lab that you're happy working with and can trust, and then building up a relationship with them so that they understand your preferences. Years ago when film was still mainstream, you're able to get your film developed at a number of places locally, including big-box stores like Walmart and Costco. Because of the rise of digital, that's obviously not the case anymore, and there's a good chance that you're going to have to send your film away to be developed and scanned. Not really a big deal, but still do a search beforehand. If you live in a big city, there's probably a good chance that there's still a lab around that develops and scans film. If there is, definitely reach out to them first. If you don't have film developing close by, then your best bet is to mail your film out to one of the many professional labs that are still out there. [MUSIC] Depending on what country you live in, there's probably a few popular options that provide the best value and service. If you know anyone who shoots film in the area, definitely reach out to them first as they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction. I'm in Canada right now, but I was traveling for the last year, and when I was in the US, I ended up using the find lab who are based at Utah. Not only are their results awesome in their price is very competitive, but they're just amazing people to deal with. They'd be the top of my list if you're in the US. They also have a service for anyone who's new to film, where they'll provide feedback for each roll of film they develop. Basically notes about the film stocks, certain characteristics, any exposure issues, any camera issues, things like that. Definitely worth the extra couple bucks if you're just starting out. When it comes to services, every lab is always going to offer a development only option or a develop and scan option. We obviously want to get digital scans of our film once it's developed, so you'll want to go for that package. If you decide to stick with film long-term, you can definitely look into purchasing a dedicated film scanner and do it yourself at home. But when you're just starting out, it's best to just get the lab to do it. The nice thing is any lab you'd go to is probably going to use a scanner that's of a way higher quality than what you would have at home. Go ahead and choose a lab that you feel comfortable with and then send your film to them. In the next lesson, we're going to briefly look at how the scanning process works. Then we're going to talk about the importance of editing your film scans. [MUSIC] 13. Scanning & Editing Your Film: [MUSIC] At this point, you should have your scans back from the lab. Scanning is a pretty complex topic. For now, we're just going to go over the basics of what happens to your film while it's being scanned at the lab, so it doesn't seem like as much of a mystery. During the scanning process, your film is run through a professional scanner frame by frame, where the negative is inverted into a positive, the density of the images adjusted, and then there's minor color and contrast adjustments made. Let's say you have a frame that was four stops overexposed. Well, during the scanning process, the lab is going to try and normalize the image or adjust it so the brightness levels look properly exposed. This is something that's important to wrap your head around because when you're out shooting, you might think if you overexposed by four stops, you're going to get an image back that's washed out, but that's not the case. The lab is always going to try and correct the density of the negative so that the scanned image looks correct. Now, there's obviously limitations with this and it doesn't mean you can just go wild. But for the most part, negative film holds up pretty well up to about four or five stops overexposed. Also during the scanning process, things like color balance and contrast can be adjusted. Many labs will ask for your preferences beforehand, which is a nice plus. For me personally, when I send my film to the final lab, I always check off warmer for color, normal for brightness, and low for contrast. Since I know I'll be editing all of my scans, I'd rather add contrast myself instead of trying to remove it. Now, for some people, there's a belief that you don't need to edit your film scans, and that because the images were created using film, that they're pure, and don't need to be adjusted. But that's simply not the case. The reality is because of the film is getting digitized and because a lot can be controlled during the scanning process, there can be a lot of variation. For example, you could send the same roll of film to five different labs and ask them all to scan it. You'd probably get five different results because every scanner or operator is going to do things a bit differently. For that reason, you definitely need to edit your film scans when you get them back. The nice thing is, even though there's going to be variations between different labs and operators, the individual characteristics of different film stocks will always hold true. Or in other words, the specific look of the film stock will always be there. You're just going to be adjusting things like contrast, brightness, and saturation levels to your personal preference. Every image is going to be different. But for me, the editing that I do is all very straightforward, pretty simple stuff. We're not talking huge adjustments here. I have this image here, which is a good example of editing. This would be on the more extreme side. It's really even not that much still, but it's a good example here to show you. This right here is the after and this is the before. This was shot on Fuji Pro 400h, which is a professional film. It's actually not known as a really contrasty film, but the original image itself is pretty contrasty, and that obviously happened during the scan. I mean, this was shot at mid day bright sun. But even still, it's pretty contrasty. The adjustments that I made, I pulled back the contrast a little bit, I pulled the highlights way down. They're down to minus 79. We'll take them back. That's where they were before. I pulled them way down. Obviously, other adjustments are in play here as well. Then I lifted the shadows up to about plus 65, and that opened them up down here on the bottom left-hand side. We'll pull them down to zero. You can see they're pretty blocked up almost. There's still detail there, but it's pretty dark. When I edited this image, I brought them up to about plus 65. Again, there's the after and there's the before. Really simple adjustments, nothing major. This would be on the extreme side of things. There are times where I get scans back and I actually don't even have to touch them. It's always going to be a frame-by-frame basis and just really making adjustments based on your personal preference and what feels right. Let's take a look at another image example here. This one is similar to the last. Again, most of my adjustments are always just typically lowering the contrast, opening up the shadows a little bit, and sometimes adjusting the exposure just a touch. This is the after and this is the before. Very similar to the last image. There's after, there's before, back to after. In this case, again, just open the shadows up, not even that much. They would have been there at zero and I take them up to 21. Contrast is backed off quite a bit. There's back to zero. I had a down around minus 30, lifted the blocks a little bit, and pull down the highlights. Then typically, at least for this portfolio of images, I found myself adding a little bit of warmth. It's that plus 5. It would have been at zero. Again, nothing drastic, just minor adjustments all based on my personal preferences. Now it's time to load your scanned images into your editing software of choice and get to work. After you're done, pick your five favorites and post them up in your class project as well as a brief overview about your thoughts and experience after shooting your first roll of film. I'm excited to see your results. 14. Wrap Up: [MUSIC] I want to thank you for taking the time to join me in this class and for your interest in film photography. Really do hope that you enjoyed your first experience with it, and if you're anything like me, I'm sure that this is only going to be the start. Even though shooting on film isn't as convenient as digital, I really do believe that the process alone will have an impact on you as a photographer. It definitely forces you to slow down and be more thoughtful. The resulting images, in my opinion, have a unique aesthetic quality that can't be found with digital. If you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to either send me a message or an email. This is the first of many film courses that I have planned, so definitely keep an eye out for new ones in the near future. [MUSIC]