A pocket full of film

In Film, Inspiration

“No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.”   ~Robert Adams

For the past ten years or so, I’ve been down the rabbit hole of instant film. The immediacy of holding a finished image in my hands, the quirks of the film itself, and the fun of sharing images on the spot got me hooked. And though instant film shooting is still an ongoing practice for me, I’ve become interested in getting back to my roots with 35mm film.

So this year, I’m dusting off some film cameras and revisiting shooting basics. I’m challenging myself to try new film stock, experiment with a variety of cameras, and just have fun!

Part of the enjoyment for me is the fact that so much seems new: loading the film, remembering the particulars of the camera, checking the settings before each shot. All the challenges cause me to slow down and think before that final click.

The images I’m sharing here were exposed on Kodak Portra 400 color film with my dad’s Contax T3, a point-and-shoot rangefinder. My biggest challenge is properly estimating distance to get accurate focus on my subjects. It’s definitely a learning curve and I need more practice!

When I miss a shot when shooting digitally, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, because I can see my mistakes immediately and just shoot more frames. Film doesn’t afford me that luxury, but somehow the shots that are successful seem more rewarding. Getting a half-dozen good images from a roll of film seems like a win!

Are you a film shooter? What are you favorite cameras and film stock? (Leave suggestions for me in the comments!)



  1. I love this post. The colors and tones are so good. And your subjects are always so good! Thanks so much for sharing, you make me want to dig out my old film cameras.

    • Thank you, Cathy! It’s interesting to compare digital vs film images when it comes to colors. And you should definitely dig out those film cameras…it’s fun!

  2. I totally agree about getting a few good shots off a roll of film to be more satisfying. I haven’t been into photography long, but was inspired to try film, and I’m hooked. I’ve been shooting mostly with a Nikon FE2. So far I’m loving Kodak Portra 400. Love the warm tones and rich color. Happy shooting!

    • Thanks, Claire! Portra seems to be a good go-to these days. I’m glad film options are still available to us!

    • Thanks, Kirstin! I’m having fun trying out a variety of cameras. The T3 was my Dad’s! πŸ™‚

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