The New Normal

My transition back into film was not a smooth one. My first hurdle was figuring out indoor light, and how to make shooting film in studio work for me, even in the dark Seattle winter.  In the end, learning how to use studio strobes was a life saver, and with no more fear of inadequate light, my problem was solved.

The second hurdle, however, was much harder.

When I was shooting digitally, my sessions were fast and fun.  I could fire away without care and never felt that I was missing a moment. It was not unheard of for me to complete a family session in 20 to 30 minutes.  And in the end I would have 500+ images to cull and edit.

The slowness of shooting film, however, was another story.  My sessions no longer had a comfortable flow.  Sessions started taking longer; up to an hour, sometimes even a little more. I was constantly worried that I was missing moments.   It also stressed me out that after an hour of shooting, I was walking away with only 64 images (four rolls of 120) to choose from.  I went from giving my clients 100 or so images per shoot to 30 or 40.

But I stuck with it.  I love the look of film, and I really didn’t want to go back to my digital gear.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I had a super fun session with a six year old, and four year old twins.  I did my thing… pausing to talk to the parents and kids when I stopped to change rolls, and taking my time, slowly progressing through the shoot as I do now with film.

At the end of the session the mom turned to me and said “thank you!  that was so fun and relaxing!  I can’t wait to do it again”  I smiled and thought… “OMG… It WAS fun and relaxing… when did that happen?”  And just like that I realized that I’d fallen into a new normal.

My new normal is slow.  There are pauses and down times in the sessions.  I don’t rush to make sure I’m catching every. single. adorable. moment.  Instead I’m trusting that when I choose to hit the shutter, something special and beautiful is going to be captured.  I’ve given into the process… and I love it!

Are you struggling with transitioning to film?  What are your hurdles?  Do you have a new normal?  I’d love to hear about it!  Post your comment in the space below, or join us on the Facebook Film Forum group!

Happy shooting!


Sandra Coan Photography
sandra coan photography
sandra coan photography
sandra coan photography

All images by Sandra Coan.  Shot on a Contax 645 with Fuji 400h and strobes.  

Processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab.