I’ve been addicted to travelling ever since I left home to do my first season abroad working for a large British tour operator. And I’m never without a camera, whether that’s a compact point and shoot, a GoPro, my iPhone or my DSLR. I would literally have some kind of camera attached to my face wherever I went. I’d upload hundreds of photos to Facebook from a single weekend trip. I was desperate to share my travels with my friends and family back at home.

I’m one of these people who is addicted to technology; my iPhone, MacBook, my iPad. I find myself constantly checking Facebook or scrolling through Instagram. When I shoot with my digital camera (or iPhone), I take far too many pictures. After all, I can just go back and take out the bad ones later right? Of course, this leads to either spending days editing my photos, or in the case of my iPhone, doing absolutely nothing with them.

Why every Traveller should try Film Photography

Over the last year I’ve seen a lot more people talking about shooting film, and how it’s a completely different experience to shooting with digital. So last year I decided to give film photography a try, and I fell in love. (Disclaimer: I don’t count the disposable cameras I used to take on holiday as a child). By shooting film, I mean a process that involved loading film myself, choosing the camera settings and having to manually focus.

When my Grandfather passed away a few years ago, I inherited his old cameras. So when I first took out his old 35mm SLR film camera, I wasn’t even sure if it still worked. I found 2 rolls of unused film, and purchased 2 more, to give me 4 rolls of film for a week holiday in Italy. Four rolls of 24 frames. That gave me 96 frames! I could only take 96 pictures on my holiday!!!

Why every Traveller should try Film Photography

Having a limited number of frames makes you really think about the shot that you are taking. You need to take the time to compose the shot perfectly, and slowly adjust the manual focus. Even after spending the time doing this, sometimes you still decide at the last minute not to press the shutter as you realise it’s not as great a frame as you hoped. You spend so much more time looking at the intricate details of the places you visit, looking for that perfect frame to capture just how it felt. For me, I felt like I really stopped and experienced so much more than I would have done if I’d have had my digital camera instead.

For someone like me, who finds it so hard to slow down and take a breath, always rushing from here to there, shooting film is like meditation. You stop, focus everything on that single shot, slow down your breathing and enjoy the calmness and the beauty of your surroundings.

Why every Traveller should try Film Photography

And once the trip is over, there’s no more spending hours editing in front of a computer screen. The rolls of film get parcelled up and sent off to the lab for developing and scanning. The excitement of waiting for the results keeps that holiday feeling alive, and when they come back, oh my, they are wonderful. I use UK Film Lab, a professional lab in the UK that specialise in film photography, but there are some great film labs in Europe and the USA too. Not only do they do all of the hard work for you to make the final image scans so beautiful, but they’ll also send a feedback sheet with each order with tips of how you can get even better results from your film. How amazing is that!

Ok, so not every shot always works out how you planned it. But that’s the beauty of film photography. You can never be 100% certain of what you are going to get. But unlike a digital sensor, film is so much more forgiving if you don’t quite get the exposure spot on. And the colours from film photos are just incredible. Every time I get new scans back from the lab, I just fall more and more in love with film photography.

Getting started with film photography doesn’t need to be expensive. You can pick up old film cameras on eBay or at a local flea market, and expired film is also pretty cheap online. Expired film can produce some unpredictable but really beautiful results. There are still a few places that develop your images cheaply and will put them on a DVD for you.

Why every Traveller should try Film Photography

It might be more expensive than shooting digital, and I can’t see my images right away, but I’m definitely going to keep shooting film. I love the process of slowing everything down, and the end results are just beautiful.

Do you have any experience with film photography? Have I convinced you to give it a try? Let us know in the comments below.


This is a guest post by Cat Ekkelboom-White.

cat 1Cat grew up in the countryside in Suffolk England, but at the age of 23 she discovered her love for travelling, seeing new places and mountains. She travelled the world working back to back winters as a ski instructor, until she met her husband and moved to the Austrian Alps permanently. Through travel, she discovered a love of photography. She believes that you can find adventure anywhere, close to home or across the world, if you’re open to seeking it out. She loves accompanying couples who want to say their wedding vows in beautiful locations off the beaten track, and when she’s not photographing a wedding, she’s out climbing, hiking or skiing. She has a “scratch off where you have been” map at home, and won’t stop travelling until she’s been everywhere! You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.