5 Film Photography Tips


Stay Balanced

Behold, the rule of thirds. Nifty, huh?
Behold, the rule of thirds. Nifty, huh?

It's no surprise that any photograph -- digital or film -- is going to be vastly improved by a terrific composition. That is, no matter how excellent your equipment is or how skilled you are at wielding it, the subject still won't hold interest unless it's framed and positioned well.

Composition in film photography is more important than in digital for a very tangible reason: It simply costs more money to develop lots of shots. Experimenting with composition by snapping tons of pictures is easy breezy with a digital camera. With film, you might find yourself more interested in capturing the "right" shot from the beginning, saving you time and money in development.

The old adage to simply get closer to your subject is particularly true in film, as blowing up and cropping an image is a lot harder in a darkroom than it is on your computer. And while you're up close and personal, remember that we're used to seeing the world at our own height -- crouching below a subject or climbing a staircase to spy the image from another angle can instantly give the viewer a novel way of seeing the subject of the photo.

The rule of thirds states that a photograph is well-composed and balanced if points of interest intersect on three horizontal and vertical lines (check out the image to see what we mean). Look for compositional lines that shoot toward the subject, drawing your eye to it without framing it perfectly center.