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Film | Contax 645 | Fuji 400H | Film Box Lab

The only way I know how to cope with this long cold winter is to dive into my backlog of warm summer sessions and start blogging them. Revisiting this contagiously happy family amongst the sun drenched wheat fields is a perfect session to start with. The fields and sun just sing to me. Some days it even feels like they yell for me. In the warm months, I run in these fields. During these dreadful cold months, I imagine myself running in them when I am beating the treads of the treadmill. The wait is going to be near unbearable to when the fields are long and tall and swaying in the wind. It is my absolute favorite environment to be in (if that isn’t already obvious).

Daylight savings is next Sunday. I practically squealed when I noticed it on the calendar. This is the first step towards longer, warmer days and the busy season of family sessions. Be sure to get on the calendar before all the good dates are booked!

A special thank you to all that have been reading my blog lately. Check back soon for much more fashion, home, beauty and DIY. I will continue to keep the photography posts sprinkled in here and there for those interested. And if there is anything that you would love me to touch base on, business, fashion, beauty, shopping, home, life, please email me or leave a comment. I would love to learn what you want to read.

xoxo

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How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Over the past year I have got so many private/public messages about shooting film. Mostly…. “Where/how do I start?”. There is so much that goes into it, there isn’t really a simple answer, and to try to answer it over and over has become a bit time consuming. With that said, I love to share, just like those that answered my questions when I was in the beginning stages. I thought it would be helpful to try to gather as much as I can into a blog post for me and those that are curious to reference.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Why did I decide to shoot film?
It was nearly 5 years ago and I won’t lie, I was a Jose Villa groupie. There was just something so authentic, dreamy, and ethereal about his photos. The light, tones and depth just mesmerized me. I spent countless hours trying to replicate the look with digital, and failed pretty miserably at doing so. Finally one winter during the slow season I decided I was going to get a used film camera and teach myself how to shoot film. It was a struggle, and there is documentation that I was throwing in the towel several times during the process. But, I stuck to it, read as much as I could possibly read, shot as much as I could shoot and the rest is history.

The thing I didn’t expect was to not just love the look I achieved with film, but the process of shooting it. I had spent more than half of my life in art schools, painting, drawing, and sculpting; getting my hands dirty and feeling the process of the work I created. After kids, it all slid away and I reached for the digital cameras to fill my creative void. But until film, I didn’t realize how much I missed the actual process of creating. There is a romance and cadence that goes along with shooting film that I just do not get from shooting digital. From the unpacking of the rolls, loading of the camera, hearing the winding, to slower paced focusing, the shutter and the wind down of each image. It begins to grow on you and become quite addicting. Not to mention the days that the film scans come in are like Christmas morning. Every. Single. Time.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

My first film camera.
In order to try to make the process a little less intimidating, I chose the 35mm Canon 1V because it was very similar in build to my Canon 5dMarkii and I was able to use my current Canon lenses on it. Since it is a 35mm, the film had more shots on it for trial and error, 36 vs 12 frames (saving a little on money) and it was a bit cheaper than the Medium Format film. KEH is a great resource for used cameras.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

How I learned.
I studied. A LOT. Just like when I taught myself digital photography, I read, asked questions, read some more and did a TON of trial and error. Practice makes perfect, right? I am a firm believer of putting the tools in your hand, having a vision and figuring out how to achieve it, with, or without the rules. I had 3 main resources for learning. Jon Canlas’s Film Is Not Dead Book, Jose Villa’s Fine Art Wedding Photography book, and a group of friends that were going through the same learning phase as myself.

The Film Is Not Dead book by Jon Canlas: This is a really good starter resource. It covered all the basics of camera, light meters, film, exposing, developing and more. I referenced this about a bagillion times and it did help me try to figure out the basics.

Fine Art Wedding Photography by Jose Villa: Of course I got this regardless of shooting film…being that previous groupie and all. But it turned out that this was a quite a resourceful book. He posted his camera stats with each image and gave tips here and there throughout the book. Between FIND and those stats and again that wonderful thing called trial and error, I was able to figure quite a bit out.

Film friends (newbies or not): There was a handful of us that decided to learn film about that same time, so we made a private Facebook group so we could chat, share successes and fails, ask questions, link resources and so on. It was such a great little place for us to all share those trial and error phases and work out the kinks together.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Choosing a film stock.
This to me is a lot like choosing what brand of pencils or oil pants you like to work with. It really is up to you and your vision. Film stocks have different tones, contrasts and latitude from one to the next. Again, it took a lot of trial and error and studying the looks I liked from other photographers and know what stocks they used to figure out what would work best for me. During my learning phase, I started with Fuji 400H. However, I have since learned about Kodak Gold (a drugstore sold film) that has some wonderful results and much easier on the wallet as well.

Currently I shoot Fuji 400H, Portra 800, Portra 160 and Delta 3200 BW. It all depends on the light available and the look I am going for. You can find a bit more about this in the FIND book.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Choosing a lab.
In the beginning, while I was still learning how to meter, use my camera, and focus (yeah…that manual focus thing is an entire other ball game), I turned to my trusty Walgreens 1 hr photo service to see my rolls. This helped a ton with more immediate turn around to see if I knew what I was doing, only cost $8 per roll, and they use a Noritsu on auto to scan the images. The bonus of that last part is, you get what you shot. I didn’t realize how important this part of my learning was, until I started using pro labs. One thing that the blogs, forums and books didn’t mention is just how much the labs did to the scans. I had no idea that they adjusted the tones, contrasts, exposures and everything during the scanning process. So, while I was still learning on getting my exposures, contrast and such right, I wasn’t seeing that I was getting it wrong. My goal was to get consistent, and to get it as close to right in camera, so the scanning process was more authentic to what I shot. There are some labs that will give you what they call Basic Scans. These are great for the learner, and they are much cheaper. This way you can see where you are at with your shooting and adjust accordingly.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Which lab?

This is very personal. Each lab is a little different in their scanning. Like I mentioned above, they are able to do so much with the scans, so some tend to have a style to them. Plus price, customer service, turn around times, scan sizes and machines used are all factors you want to consider in choosing your lab. Don’t be afraid to try some out and see who fits right off the bat. Also look for a lab that offers Color Profiles. They will take a group of images you love the look of and work on getting your scans in that same feel.

Film Box Lab (my lab) | Photovision | Indie Film Lab | Richard Photo Lab | are some of the common labs. There are a ton, small and big. So ask around to film photographers friends and see what lab they use and why they love them.

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

Workshops.
I honestly cannot really touch on this. I have never taken a workshop myself and I am really not sure which ones focus on teaching how to shoot film. If anyone reading this knows of some great ones that actually teach how to shoot…please comment and I will update this post!

How to get Started in Film Photography // Marta Locklear

In closing.
Film is amazing. It was a game changer for my creativity and my business. BUT, it is expensive and took a lot of patience and practice to get to the point that I was comfortable switching completely over. I had to adjust my business model, and prices quite a bit to allow for film, but in the end it was worth it, and my clients are happier than ever.

Please let me know if you have any more specific questions. I am happy to answer them to the best of my ability!

  • Bobbie Brown - I follow you on IG and just visited your blog for the first time — LOVE IT! And love this post especially. Your images are gorgeous and when I decide to take the chance, the time and spend the money to give film a try, I know this will be so helpful! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Bobbie- Thank you Bobbie! I am so glad you are loving the new blog format. I am having fun writing them and getting to know more of my followers!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - Great post! Very informative and I never thought about asking for the basic scans before. I think YOU should teach a workshop.ReplyCancel

  • David Abel - It was great learning with you, you’ve do so well with you film work! I do miss our little film group though :-)ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - Thank you so so much for this post! I was introduced into photography back in high school where I shot my own black & white film, developed, and printed it myself. I fell in love with it, being able to get your hands dirty and make something tangible! Swoon! I got swept up into the digital and fell out of shooting film for years. The past month has been pretty slow for me so I pulled out my ancient film camera and a bunch of old film and I’ve and started shooting again. I forgot how much I love it! I’ve always wanted to incorporate it into my business for so long and I love reading your breakdown of it. It’s always seemed intimidating to me but you make it sound easy so I feel ready to take on the challenge! ^_^ReplyCancel

Photobook 1 -- Marta Locklear-8

It is time to bring back the tangible. This year I want to bring more physical photography to my clients. The first new addition is the simple linen hardcover photobook. It is perfect for storing on your shelves, laying on the coffee table, and gifting to the grandparents. You will enjoy flipping through your sessions all over again, and one day, the little ones in your sessions will enjoy flipping through them too. This rang true for me recently when I printed all my family Instagram images into small books and my 3 kids piled up onto the sofa to flip through them all together. They giggled endlessly at how they have grown, changed and all the fun and silly things they have done over the years. They don’t do that with the images on the computer.

I am offering these to new and old clients. If you have had a session with me, or have one coming up, these books are available to you. They are filled with nearly all of the images (duplicates aside) from your session. Below you can see a little peek at the books and a video of my newborn sample. And if you would love to see the blog post for this session you can do so here.


Photobook 1 -- Marta Locklear-3Photobook 1 -- Marta Locklear-4Photobook 1 -- Marta Locklear-2

 

Field Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta LocklearField Family Sesion // Marta Locklear

Contax 645 | Fuji 400H | Film Box Lab

It was about 6 years ago that a couple of fellow photographers and I put a call out to maternity maternity models so we could put together a style shoot. Just for the fun of it! This beautiful mama in the photos was one of those lovely women while she was pregnant with her first child. Six years later I had the pleasure to romp around the soy bean fields with them on this beautiful fall day.

I owe you all an apology. I have made a pretty big rookie home dec/reno blogger mistake. I don’t have ANY before pics of this bathroom. Which is a HUGE shame because it has been 4 colors in it’s lifetime and the ‘after’ is pretty awesome compared to where it came from, so I will do my best to try to describe it a little to set the scene so these images have even more impact. I don’t claim to be the next ‘it’ thing in interior design by any means…but I am happy with the direction that my home is starting to grow and shift.

It was bare bones. No accessories or shelving at all. The toilet, wood transom, white vanity, builder grade light fixture with some flared girl-esque shades, and gray tiled flooring. The only thing I ever really did was change the paint color over the last 13 years. It was pale blue, then ballerina pink, then just before this an odd yellowy green color. The bathroom is large and part of a shared shower room that connects to my daughter’s similar bathroom (those reveals to come down the road). As I mentioned in my Mid Life Makeover post, I am trying to do as much of the updating and reno work on a budget, but with a clean, simple and stylish look. I am considering this Phase 1, so we are keeping a lot of our bones like the flooring, vanities, and light fixtures until we can do Phase 2 and take it all to the  next level which will be lots of mill work, new flooring, new shaker style vanities, new light fixture and mirror.

First thing I did was the paint. That green haaaad to go! I went with Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray after using it my daughter’s bedroom and falling madly in love with it. It went with the floors perfectly, and created a fresh clean palette to start with. Then the IKEA Lack floating shelves. Ideally I would design a wall of built in cabinetry that can hold linens, but we will save that for Phase 2. The Lack shelves are clean, and when butted up against the side wall have a bit of a built in look and for $14.99 you can’t beat them.

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

When you open the door the first thing your eye is drawn to is the print. I found this Batman print by a fellow photographer Jen Lynne. I bought it for the boys nearly 2 years ago the second I saw it. It has just been waiting patiently for a home. It was the first thing to be added to the room and became the inspiration for the mood. It is in an IKEA Ribba frame. If you are interested in the print she is still selling copies. Click on her name or email her at jen@jenlynnephotography.com.

I knew I wanted a slightly masculine, modern look with some earth tones incorporated for the boys. Since our 8 year old could care less about the decor, I wanted it to have a slightly more grown up feel for my 12 year old son that tends to have a lot of friends over. A few toilet time reading materials and a geode I found at my newest addiction, HomeGoods.
Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear   Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

The vanity, faucet and light fixture are staying for now, but I did update the light shades to a cleaner line and the handles on the vanity to something more masculine. They were quite frilly before. Seeing the image below I think I need a small print to the right of the sink to ad a bit of color there.

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear   Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I am a tiny bit obsessed with plants right now. I want to incorporate plants in all the rooms and I found these air plants (that hopefully the kids can’t kill) that add a cool texture and natural color. It sits in a tiny spice bowl I found at Target who is having a sale on home goods right now (like you need a reason to shop at Target….pshh).

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

One neat little thing about this bathroom is that the toilets sit in the dormers. We have a Cape Cod style home (see all about that here) and when we did the floor plan we re-arranged the bathrooms and bedrooms to create Jack & Jill baths and this was the best way to get it incorporated. And since the toilet is so far from the vanity, and I have two stinky boys that don’t know how to check for toilet paper before they sit on the toilet, I found this chunky basket at Michaels Arts & Crafts for 50% off to hold the air freshener and extra toilet paper, bringing the natural elements to this little nook. Next up is another plant (don’t tell hubby :) ).

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear   Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

This guy is probably my favorite find and only cost me $5.99 from World Market. My oldest son wears glasses and contacts and this wooden Stonehenge-esque statue was made for holding glasses. How perfect!

Boys Bathroom // Marta Locklear-13

And of course you cannot be a photographer’s son without a little vintage camera action. This little faux camera came from HomeGoods and even has a secret little compartment in the back to hold treasures. Their laundry basket sits just under the shelves to keep things neat and tidy. Then all white linens to finish off the look and give it a clean spa feel!

 

Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear   Boys Bathroom Reveal // Marta Locklear

Let me know what you think and if you love seeing the little reveals as I get them done! This is an all new venture for me, but I am enjoying it and it is highly motivating to get all the projects completed. I am happy to answer any questions too!

 

 

  • julia - Absolutely gorgeous! Such an inspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Thank you so much Julia! Amazing what you can get do with a can of paint, builder grade cabinets and new accessories!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Lynne - Ahhh, I love this so much Marta!! What a cool fun bathroom for the boys!! And the batman print looks perfect in there. This makes me want to decorate my bathroom!ReplyCancel

  • Tanya Rey - Everything looks so beautiful! I painted Aloof Grey in my basement and love it. You are inspiring me to redecorate!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Hi Marta love this help on home decor…I’m about to totally repaint all of our drywall! Hooray for inspiration…ReplyCancel

A Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear WeddingsA Girl, A Boy & A Horse // Marta Locklear Weddings

Contax 645 | Fuji 400H | Film Box Lab

When a new client contacts you and wants to do a post wedding shoot, in their wedding attire, with their horse…you drive as far as you have to drive to make it happen. It was worth the drive to Reisterstown, Maryland’s horse country, and worth the days of “no rain dances” that were done before hand. Sagamore Farm that Horacio worked at was stunning! Not to mention the stunning floral crown and bout that they had! I am looking very forward to their maternity and newborn sessions coming up this year!

  • Jen Lynne - Ok, this is to die for!!! As a horse lover this is the dream shoot.. horses + Photography = LOVE!!!ReplyCancel