Film Tips and Tricks

There are lots of tips and tricks in the world of film, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite shooting styles and methods to help you step-up your photography game.


  1. Ditch your inner perfectionist

We know you want the perfect shots, and we know you’re expecting 36 amazing exposures ready to hit the gram, but that isn’t the reality of film. Film is tangible. It’s grainy, it can be blurry, and your exposure may be completely off. There’s no digital screen to check your focus, or another chance to retake a bad shot. You’ve got once choice: appreciate its rawness.

Make the most of film’s imperfections and embrace your grainy shots. There is a learning curve when shooting film, and unlike digital cameras you won’t receive an immediate result. Create an album of all your film shots and reassess them roll by roll. Learn what you like and what you don’t, and appreciate your mistakes. We know you’ll get there in the end.

  1. Experiment with different film stocks

We know you can grab a bargain at your local op-shop, but consider investing in good film from the beginning. Why waste your time purchasing and developing film that isn’t going to give you the results you want? Read up on good quality film, and don’t chop and change for every roll that you shoot. Developing your own style takes time, and shooting one roll of Portra 800 won’t give you an idea of whether you love or hate its gentle finish. Buy the same type of film consistently, and shoot three rolls before moving onto Kodak Ektar or Colour plus. Trust us, it’s the best way to learn and find your feet in our 35mm world.

  1. Use a professional lab to develop your film

We know local film Kiosks are a tempting and easy way to drop a couple of dollars on getting your rolls developed rather than visiting a proper lab. But cheap prints and scans won’t give you the quality you want, and there’s no point spending money on good quality film only to have it processed poorly. Many labs around the country will happily provide you with feedback on each roll they develop, and you’ll be more satisfied with the result if the quality is top notch. We can vouch for some of our favourites, check them out here.

  1. Start off shooting 35mm film

There are two primary film types that you will come across in photography:

  1. 35mm
  2. Medium format (120 film)

Generally speaking, medium format film gives you 12-16 exposures per roll. 35mm is cheaper to shoot overall, and has 24 to 36 exposures per roll, giving you more bang for your buck. The cost of medium format film may be cheaper than 35mm, but the cost per-frame is much less to develop your 35mm rolls.

  1. Shoot expired film

If your film is out of date, don’t throw it away. Shooting expired film has become a very popular trend over the past few years, with colours shifts and lack of sharpness elevating shots from ordinary to surreal. The main reason for this is the effects of heat and background radiation. Harsh sunlight, heat and humidity will all effect the use by date of your film. If you want to extend the life of your film, pop it in the fridge or freezer to grant your rolls a few extra decades. Expired film is unpredictable, and every roll will give you different colour shifts, filter-like effects and pastel tones, so experiment and have fun.

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