Ever considered just using film for travel photography? For those trips where you just want to really relax and focus on where you are, there are a few thoughts I have for why only bringing film and leaving the digital camera at home might be ideal.
Film for Travel Photography
- Battery Life & Charging
- The Slow Life
If anyone else has a Fujifilm or other camera brand that is well known for not having the best battery life, you know the scenario. You either have to recharge every single night one or two batteries, or fill half the suitcase/backpack with extras (exaggeration I know). Then its the extra space for the chargers, cables or packs, adapters for plugs…little things, yes, but they add up when you only want to bring a Ryanair carryon bag and nothing else. For me, I’d love to get down to just bringing that on any length trip.
With film, you only need one battery depending on the camera and this lasts for months! I always pack an extra just in case today is the day that runs out. This is only for special batteries that you can’t find in standard stores/markets. If your film camera takes AA or AAA, you can usually buy these where you go. It’s peace of mind, not having to worry about saving battery life, or bringing extra batteries when you go out.
Ok, someone steals your $1500 camera and your $600 lens, with a 120GB SD card that includes all the photos you’ve taken so far on the trip…that’s hard to process. Someone steals your $5 or $50 film camera you bought off Ebay. No problem. No financial heartache. Only just that you might have lost a roll of film. You’ve got plenty more rolls and can only lose max 36 photos. Depending on where you are, you might be able to find a camera store where you can buy another $5 or $50 film camera for the rest of the trip. Again, using film for travel photography offers a type of peace of mind in this regard. Who wants to worry about any more things that necessary when traveling?
The Slow Life
Chimping, scrolling back through the hundreds of photos on camera after the day is done, this takes something away from being present in the moment of where you are. Since you can’t look at the photos when using film for travel photography, its all about really being in the moment. Capture the scene, then move on. It will be awhile before you see them developed. There is no rush to get them onto your phone or computer, do some editing, and then share or upload to Instagram or wherever. It’s really exciting and feels more worth it having to wait and not knowing whether they turned out ok or the whole roll was black or white. More often than not, I actually am surprised that the shot was captured and not missed. I’ve also never had a problem with scanners in airports ruining the film. I usually don’t take higher than 400 though, so if you are carrying 800 or higher, I might ask for a manual check (if they oblige).
Having a limited number of images that you can take also just forces you to really focus on what you want to capture, the composition, elements, space, lighting, etc. I find I think more about each frame so as not to waste a single one. From this, the batch of photos I tend to assign as “keepers” from film versus digital is always much higher. Digital is expendable, unlimited, so I often have a much lower “keeper” ratio.
Any thoughts on using film for travel photography, feel free to share below! 🙂