I’m backing off on making money with my cameras for awhile. I plan to continue shooting and I’ve kicked around this idea for a long time and you might really benefit and be part of something special. Indulge me a bit and I’ll get to the point in a few paragraphs.
Why? Well, the primary reason is that I want to build a new body of work and perhaps re-invent myself as a born-again film photographer. Another reason is just that I want to slow down. Digital is really fast, really convenient, and really sterile. Honestly, I do a lot of adding grain and playing with colors to try to get a more “film-ish” look in post processing. Why not just use film then?
My current digital workflow is pretty efficient after years of working out the kinks. Even still I spend hours and hours culling, sorting, editing, retouching, second-guessing and generally agonizing over minute details. Honestly, most of my work may never be more than a cover photo on Facebook or maybe get a few likes on Instagram. That’s one of the reasons I include albums with every wedding. If it’s not printed, what good is it? Are we really just going to pass down USB sticks and DVDs to our children and grandchildren?
I want something more tactile and I don’t want to spend any more time on the computer than I have to. LCD screens are great for learning photography, but at this point, I think it’s fueling an impatient part of me that desperately needs to be tamed. Film and film cameras (especially all mechanical cameras) just feel better. With what I have in mind, I may be glued to my screen to admire a finished product, not create it. People want digital files though, so I’m game.
Scanning film sucks. Really. It’s an art that I have neither the money nor the patience to master. The costly equipment and time removing dust and cutting negatives make me prefer to spend the cash feeding my cameras film and the time with my family. So I’ve decided that all my film for this project will be outsourced to people who eat, breath, and sleep developing/scanning. I’m just going to make photographs.
Ok, I’ll get to the point. I’m not looking to make any money on this project. Admittedly, I’ve been a little on the pricier side of things especially for the area that I live in. I get that. Every ounce of me tries to make sure that the work I and my assistants put out is worth every penny. However, in an era where everyone is a “pro” photographer, I can’t compete on price alone. There are some really good photographers selling themselves short and some that really shouldn’t be charging money in my opinion.
For the next undetermined amount of time, I am offering my services for the cost of film and processing (development/scanning/shipping and maybe travel if necessary) ONLY with no charge for my time at all. If you want to tip me or send a couple of rolls of film my way I won’t complain. The types of photography will include family portraits, engagements, senior portraits, headshots, special projects, non-commercial stuff, et al. Sorry but events and weddings will not be included.
So how will this work and what will it cost?
Let’s talk $$$ shall we? Film costs can vary a few bucks up or down so I keep a running spreadsheet of those costs here: https://tinyurl.com/JM-FilmProject. It’s generally pretty accurate but you’ll get a feel for what you’re going to be spending. I’ve included processing costs and tax/shipping. Keep in mind that it’s a template and we’ll have a better idea of what we need after we’ve discussed the specifics of your photo requirements. That will set the final price.
Picking the Film/Consultation
There are numerous factors in picking the film including, your personal preferences, my personal preferences, time of day we’ll be shooting, location, weather, wardrobe, equipment, and so on. Once we have all that figured out we’ll make a decision and set a date.
Shooting the photos
Typically I shoot A LOT of photos when doing digital photography. Upwards of 500 during a family portrait session looking for about 60 keepers. It lets me be picky after the fact. Now we’re probably looking at between 70 and 100 total exposures (at the most) in hopes of getting a half dozen really amazing photographs. So it’ll be nice and slow paced and the picky part will need to be before I take the photograph.
After the shoot
I lovingly package up the film and ship it off to Richard Photo Lab to be developed and scanned. It gets there within a day or 2. They typically get everything done within 24 hours of receiving the film. It’s incredible. From there I download the scans and give the ones that don’t suck are totally amazing to you in digital format. That’s full resolution as scanned. The negatives get mailed back to me for archiving and that’s it.
What if they suck aren’t amazing?
I’m hard on myself. If there’s a problem, I’ll be the first to say it. So in those cases, I’ll re-do the shoot digitally and give you all the full resolution files at no further cost.