Shooting My First Roll of 35mm Film / by Christian Hernandez

A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase a film camera for a couple of reasons: To learn a new medium, stretch my creativity, and have fun continuing to learn and pursue photography. Until now, I only had experience shooting digital. With digital, you really have an unlimited amount of photos you can take - you’re only really limited by the size of your memory card. The camera will continue to shoot so long as you have battery and storage space. Film photography has a different look and feel than digital, but in addition to the aesthetics, film forces the photographer to be more careful and methodical compared to digital photography.

With film, you’re limited to how many exposures the roll of film allows. In my case, I purchased 10 rolls of Kodak ColorPlus 200 and each allows for 36 exposures. The SLR I purchased is the Canon EOS 630. I chose to purchase this model because it had auto-focus capability, worked with my current set of lenses, and was $15 on eBay.

The biggest hurdle to get over with film is the inability to see what you shoot before or after you capture the image. On a digital camera, I can very clearly see the exposure, aperture, and composition of what I’m about to capture through the screen on the back of my camera. But with film, there is nothing showing you what you’re about to capture. You have the viewfinder to put your eye on to see through the lens, but absolutely no indication of what your exposure will look like. On top of not being able to see the image before you take it, you also have no way of seeing the image after either. There is no instant gratification with film…unless you have a Polaroid instant camera.

This is where the technical knowledge of exposure, composition, ISO, shutter speed, depth of field - and the interplay of each - is really useful in the moment. Knowing how each of those affect the other comes in really handy when you don’t have any real life indicator of what the final image is going to look like.

The images below are from the first roll of film I ever shot. July/August 2019. It was really fun learning a new medium and doing it all myself. I loaded the film, shot the photos, and developed the film on my own and I’m glad I’m really happy I’m doing this and growing. The process of it has been really fun for me, including developing and scanning the film.

At the same time, I actually don’t really like the images too much. I feel the focus from my lens was generally soft, the subjects are not terribly interesting, the compositions could be better, and just overall ‘eh.’ But this was me learning and playing around with a format that’s new to me and I still wanted to document the occasion by posting it on the blog as something I could look back upon later.

It’s a bit of a hodgepodge of photos - not a cohesive collection of anything. Just a couple of shots around my workplace, some portraits, and some animal shots.

LOCATION: Winter Park | Disney’s Hollywood Studios | Orlando, FL
GEAR USED: Canon EOS 630 | Kodak ColorPlus 200 | Canon 50mm f/1.4