Film Photography in 2019

A few thoughts

Alec O'Grady
May 11 · 3 min read

Film has gone from a hobby to a profession and obsession in a matter of years. I’ve only been shooting film since 2015, but I’ve done a lot of research and have slowly been observing what’s been happening in the analog photography world.

Somewhere in Utah, Portra 400 on Minolta SRT 101.

Special Effects

The first thing to address is the new types of film that are coming out. You’ll notice companies are trying out film with “special effects” like Revlog, Psychadelic Blue, etc…

I’ve shot a few of these rolls, and I’m unimpressed. Why? Film, to me, is supposed to be natural. Every film has it’s own “effect” in a sense. Kodak Ektar is a very different film from say Fuji Velvia. Different colors, different grain structure, etc… I don’t believe adding gradients or overlays to photos helps the image, but in actuality destroys them. That being said, it’s an acquired taste and I still have a few rolls in the fridge. We’ll see what happens as time continues.

Bringing Back the Classics

One thing I can say I’m in support of is bringing back older films. Last Year, Kodak’s re-release of Ektacrhome was a huge hit, and photographers all over ran to their local shops to buy a roll for upwards of $15.

But, there’s plenty more coming back. Ferrania recently brought back their classic, Black & White filmstock P30. It’s an 80 ISO film, wildly irregular in this day and age. Because of it’s fine grain, it looks incredibly cinematic. It has a crazy, old school history and is now back in business for producing film!

London, Ferrania P30 on Minolta SRT 101

Disposable Cameras are “in”

Every photographer has looked down upon disposable cameras. Okay, that’s a big generalization, but I’m pretty sure it’s still true. You’ll always find them in the back corner of a CVS, dust on the box, with a price double what it should be and expiration date long past.

Now, they’re starting to come back. In a world of social media, people want physical, real photos. The disposal cameras are one of the best ways to do that, mostly because developing and scanning is cheaper, because they go to Target or back to that CVS.

Either way, disposable cameras a great way to discover film. Sure, the cameras aren’t great, but the film doesn’t lie. And more companies are coming out with disposable camera versions with their film. Ilford & Fuji being two.

Shooting with a classic polaroid is cool, but isn’t worth it

Like myself, I’m sure many of you have dreamed of having a Polaroid SX-70 or LAND Camera. While spending upwards of $100 on a Polaroid camera might not seem too ludicrous, the cost of film is.

There’s been a lot of talk and confusion around Polaroid, as a brand. Are they still a company? Did they just re-brand to Polaroid Originals? Are they still making cameras under a different name? It’s hard to say, but because of their classic cameras, people will spend the money on the film for them.

A sheet of 8 exposures can cost as much as $20 from Polaroid Originals. For only 8 polaroid shots, that’s really not worth it. Sure, shooting with a classic Polaroid is awesome, but it’s not worth the excess of money you’d be spending on those photos 😬.

There’s a lot more I could say on this topic, but I want to keep it simple and concise. If you’d like to follow along on my adventures, follow me on Instagram & Twitter.

Alec O'Grady

Written by

UX Designer // Photographer // Filmmaker {Currently in San Francisco}

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