What if Nothing Comes Out?

Just the other day, a make-up artist that I was working with stared at my film camera in bewilderment and asked me how would I know the photos would turn out ok. As a film photographer, this is a question I get asked a lot.

What if nothing comes out? 

In the absence of a quick preview screen like those we have with digital cameras, unfortunately we’ll never be 100% sure with film. This is one of the “risk” we have to deal with as film photographers. That is not to say that film photographers are a bunch of gung-ho folks who’ll take uncalculated risks. It would be of no comfort to my wedding couples if I tell them that only 50% of the photos would turn out good. No sensible person would accept that.

Contrary to what most people are led to believe, film photography isn’t a game of chance or a gamble. It’s too expensive to be treated at such. Every time you hit the camera shutter, it’ll cost you money.

You make every shot count! 

Most film photographers do know with a fair degree of certainty how the photo would turn out in the end. It takes discipline, experience, intuition and knowledge to consistently produce good shots without the comfort of a preview screen. While film photography is without a doubt an expensive endeavour, the cost savings comes with having a high “hit rate”.

Film photographers have been doing this for the last 100 years. Surely, it can’t be that difficult to continue a time tested method.