Photography Workflows

So it happened again, I saw something cool and took out my camera, and someone exclaimed “wow, film! Who uses film anymore?”

Well, I do. Actually, plenty of people do.

This is okay, it’s a fair question. Film is definitely not mainstream, so it’s a curiosity. I’m really fine with people expressing surprise at something so unusual to them. But then the follow-up question comes: “why don’t you just use digital?”

I know the person is trying to understand, and not trying to make me feel bad or anything, but it gets a bit annoying. I’ve blogged before about shooting film, and explaining it over and over gets tedious. I have to fight my initial frustration and remember that the person asking the question is probably genuinely curious.

I shoot on film because I like it. I develop my own film, mostly black and white, and then I scan them on a flatbed scanner. So I get to shoot on film but edit digitally in Lightroom.

Yeah, Lightroom. I dodge and burn digitally, I clone stamp, I use the clarity slider. It’s not a contradiction, it’s fun.

I want to learn how to print photos from negatives, so I’m taking a workshop to learn. But I don’t need to, my workflow works for me. Shooting film is fun, and editing digitally is fun too.

I really have to emphasize that I don’t care so much about my photos as I do about my photography. The photos are the end result, but the photography is the process, and that is what I’m all about.

So here’s a hot take:

The only thing that matters about your photography is that you enjoy it.

The only thing that matters about your photos is that you like enjoy them.

Tools, workflows, none of it matters except in the context of making you happy. Maybe that’ll be my answer the next time someone expresses disbelief or confusion about how I shoot: it makes me happy, and that’s all that matters.

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