fun with film frankly isn’t fair

a bunch of various photos i never blogged.

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now, after a title like that i bet you were thinking these photos were taken with film. FALSE. not a single image in this post was taken on anything other than a nikon d3s or d700. alllll digital. i suppose to some super-human expert trained eyes you could tell they are edited digital files– but i’ll bet most of you didn’t think twice about it. i’ve just achieved filmy looks using various methods of post processing that i’m always tweaking. i’ve noticed a growing number of photographers transitioning to film in the past year… for both personal and professional uses. i thought about trying it out myself, but still can’t bring myself to lose the flexibility and creative possibilities that come with post processing digital images. in fact, i think i enjoy the post process as much as the photographic process!

i came upon the same type of trend when i was investing heavily into my recording studio a few years ago. many audio guys are just convinced that you have to use analog gear to get an analog sound. eh. in my opinion it’s just not necessary anymore. i purchased my fair share of obscenely expensive tube gear including Blue’s flagship microphone and though it did sound just phenomenal, I was definitely able to achieve realistic analog sound using various audio plugins and mixing techniques.

speaking of which, it’s uncanny how many parallels there are between photography and audio production.

anyway… sure, there are serious pluses to shooting film. definitely a cool factor to having an old vintage-y camera. film captures a lot more dynamic range than digital. certain types of film or cameras will deliver a very special character to images, but the honest truth is you can achieve a similar (if not better) look if you learn the limits of your gear and various methods of processing in photoshop or other image editing software.

there is absolutely  something to be said about the delayed gratification of film and its “think before you shoot” type of mentality. when you’ve got expensive and limited rolls to expose it only makes sense that you’ll put more thought into every frame you shut, but if you don’t have the discipline to do that with massive digital cards then just pop in a 256 MB card and break your  camera’s digital screen… problem solved.

in the end i always laugh when people “oooh” and “awww” when looking at film images. it’s just silly when you can create just as organic looking digital images.

p.s. i hope this doesn’t sound like i’m bashing film too much. i don’t mean to give that impression. now… off to clean my keyboard lapojooangnms,r’zE[OPUK8-9MIZUMRrbgyznuhemjWzhfue9zj7-3h78jh0n984zumrh76r56EN8MWRYXNtcmTajkhiuhauthuihiudfYOUWILLBOOKMARKMYBLOGiudashafdshgfluah4to;ihf90u99=0fu=0utq[ur2ur3ut9[3qu90u[u{&*^#$*&^#&^*$@#&*$%t599-69260878PT780TTY87tUIGAFETHGIU39R

About Sam Hurd

Sam is a professional wedding and editorial photographer based in the Washington DC area. He photographs 40+ weddings a year, press events, commercial portraiture, and regularly hosts workshops in his Baltimore MD studio and around the world. His work has been published internationally including the Wall Street Journal, the NYTimes, and the Washington Post. He's available for commissions worldwide.

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  1. I’d love to be a fly on your wall while you edit. =)

  2. Beautiful photos! I shoot film as a bonus to shooting digital – mostly toy cameras and some 35mm. I love the way it looks and the fun factor, but yeah, I couldn’t make the switch to shooting film exclusively. Nice to know I’m not the only one.

  3. Thank you. So glad someone said this. And nice photos, too.

  4. Great job!! I 100% agree with you.

  5. So I’m a freak because while some of the shots had me fooled, there were just as many that I thought looked oddly digital… then I read what you wrote and was happy to discover I wasn’t going crazy. lol.

    I love film, there is a beautiful quality to it, however digital has many advantages. Not about to throw out the DSLR’s just yet ;)

  6. Some awesome images in there! There is definitely something to be said for film, and in fact my boyfriend/second shooter too) just bought the Contax 645 and is jumping on the bandwagon to get back into film, but we both agree that while it will be nice to add some film to the mix, it just doesn’t really make sense any more to go 100% film, nor can I stomach the idea of having to shoot a reception in film! I am staying digital for now- there’s too much riding on my ability to get the shot :)

    Cool post!

  7. STUNNING STUFF!

  8. looks killer, man.

    one thing that you simply can’t replicate with digital is the amount of “give” that you can get with film. It’s much more forgiving and is so much less likely to blow highlights and you get more details in shadows, etc. The shot with the TOMS is a good example of that. No matter how hard I’ve tried to replicate the look and image that I can get with my film cameras, I still can’t replicate that. Dang you, digital sensors!

  9. digging it~

  10. I know exactly what you are talking about since I still teach film at high school. Oh, and I mix live theater so I get the analogy too! Good read!

  11. Cool shots – love the processing!

  12. So Sam, when are you going to start selling actions?? ;)

  13. That last shot? HOLY WOW. No words. Just awesomeness.

  14. Totally agree with everything you said. I’m assuming that last photo is from NZ, which just makes it that much more awesome.

  15. Lovely work! But you’ll never tear me away from film – nothing beats the satisfying whirr as I wind the spool on manually :)

  16. You had me fooled but then again I’m no film expert. Great post Sam.

  17. Where was that last picture taken? That’s just gorgeous. These photos inspire me to take more pictures for myself and less for business.

  18. Gorgeous pictures. Love the shots in the woods.

  19. Fun idea for a post (and you totally tricked me). Beautiful photos, as usual!

  20. Love this post – another reason to think about photos being all about the photographer, and only a little about the equipment.

  21. I love the airport shot. Very cool!

  22. Even though this isn’t an SWPB thread, I would like to say +1 Nessa.

  23. Yeah, Sam, when you gonna start selling actions? ;) I’d buy ‘em.

    Thanks for the Facebook add, by the way. Our two mutual ‘friends’ were Jonas Petersen and Sean Flanigan, so I HAD to check out your site! It didn’t disappoint. Love your work.
    x

  24. Junk. This is how weak photographers shoot rock groups. I’ve seen it all over the damn place. They put the “indie” look on it in photoshop. Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Rhode Island, all create this bullshit style. It’s ugly. It’s shallow. It’s crap.

  25. ded, i’m not from any of those states. i’d love to see your work ded…

  26. This is way way late… but, yeah Ded, lets see it.

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