How do I trick me into doing what I want me to do?
January 15, 2007 3:29 PM   Subscribe

how do I make myself take more pictures? I post daily to my blog using my digital camera, problem is I want to motivate myself to use my 35mm camera.

My new year's resolution was to take more pictures and in order to force myself I commited to post a picture to my blog every day, no matter what. And to get and carry a bag that will fit both my 35mm SLR and my digital camera. So I have the bag and I carry one camera or the other almost all the time. BUT how do I make myself use the 35mm? I don't want to shoot a ton of digital, or at least not exclusively digital...but with 35mm I have to finish the roll, get it developed and then pick it up, scan it...
So I guess the blog doesn't help with the 35mm at all...how do I make myself take more 35mm pictures? I need to trick myself.
posted by henryis to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Stop taking your digital camera with you?
posted by Paris Hilton at 3:33 PM on January 15, 2007


Buy tons of 35mm film, and keep it in the fridge so it'll last a bit longer?
posted by tmcw at 3:41 PM on January 15, 2007


Why must you take pictures with the 35mm? Simply because it's an SLR?

Seems to me like the best option is to try and sell the SLR, and get a DSLR. Your reasons for not wanting to use the 35mm all stem from the fact that it isn't digital.

But that doesn't really answer your question. If it was me, I would probably agree with Paris Hilton (You'll never hear that again) and say to just stop taking the digital around with you.

Alternatively, you could invest in one of those safes that only lets you take something out after a set interval, and store the digital in there. But the best solution here is just for you to force yourself to use your SLR. Just get in the habit of taking it around with you...I'm sure you'll get used to it pretty quickly.
posted by DMan at 3:42 PM on January 15, 2007


What are the virtues of your SLR versus the digital? Go looking for shots that will exploit those virtues. If you can't find any, why are you keeping the camera? I don't see the virtues except traditional darkroom work is more fun than clicking a damn mouse.
posted by Listener at 3:47 PM on January 15, 2007


i would think switching to a DSLR would encourage you to take more photographs, in a more liberal fashion.

this is coming from a diehard film user. i think i own between 4 to 5 film cameras: rangefinders, medium format TLR, medium format SLR, toy cameras...etc.

if you need to force yourself to use your 35mm, then like others have said, the best way would be to just stop bringing your digital camera around.

why are you trying to force yourself to use 35mm anyway? most people i know use film instead of digital gladly and by choice, because they prefer the film medium, because they like developing their own b/w film, because they enjoy the entire analog-ness of the process. i've heard of many pros as well who were forced to go digital because of economies of scale (? not sure if this is the right term) and who envy amateurs who can afford, because of their volume and their non-commercial purposes, to use film.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that... if you find digital more convenient and you actually need to 'trick' yourself into using film.... maybe just don't?
posted by nihraguk at 3:57 PM on January 15, 2007


I much prefer my film camera to my digital, simply because I can't afford a digital with the quality and features of my Olympus IS-1 with auxiliary lenses and flash. My Canon S-50 is a great digital camera, but the limitations in low light and the short battery life get frustrating. I just get better pictures with the film camera, so I face the same problem. Here is what I do to try and increase my camera-time:

I keep all my cameras on display on a shelf in my living room. I keep the IS-1 loaded with film at all times, and make sure I always have spare batteries. I keep the bag nearby, so I can just grab it when I need it. That helps when I want to shoot things in the apartment, like friends, parties, etc.

I also have a friend who likes photography, and we try to encourage each other to go shoot together. Some weekends, we will just set aside a morning or afternoon and go shoot with no agenda. We drive around and look for interesting areas in town or out of town. This has probably been the most productive. Make an agreement with a friend.

I keep a list of photo ideas in my computer or in a sketchbook. If I see something on TV or in a magazine that inspires me, I make a note of it, or a sketch, then consult this from time to time and try to use those ideas as starting places for some shooting.

I have a friend who lets me use her kids as models when I want to shoot. That helps a lot. I also have been teaching her about photography, and that gets us both out. At times when I am just being lazy, if she gets in a mood to learn, I won't say no, so it gets me off my butt.

Create a list of self-assignments. Many photo magazines feature these. Maybe a Google for the term will give you some ideas. Here are some assignments you can give yourself. Pick just one for a day or a weekend:
-Take ONE "perfect" flower picture.
-Take a unique and creative portrait of a friend.
-Take a important or unusual object and photograph it in a variety settings outdoors and in.
-Photograph ONLY something within 3 feet of the camera.

Obviously, these ideas are for any kind of photography, not just film.

I understand the desire to use film. It makes me slow down and think through the process more than my point and shoot digital, and as I said my film camera has capabilities my digital does not. And low-light pictures are better overall.
posted by The Deej at 4:28 PM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


- Pull out the 35 for the things film does well—high dynamic range, for one, faboo black-and-white if that's your thing.
- For everything you shoot on the 35, do a reference shot on the digital.
- At the end of the roll, develop it (or fire it off to be developed), and sequester the digi reference shots in a safe place.
- When you've got the film shots developed, scan 'em and show them side by side with the digi references, one a day.

That gives you an excuse to shoot with film, an excuse to post about it every day (with, granted, a bit of a delay and corresponding initial startup time), and a distinctive way to look at why you're using film vs. digital and to what degree of utility.
posted by cortex at 4:29 PM on January 15, 2007


I'll agree with those that have suggested considering a digital slr. the dear wife give me a Nikon D80, the most wonderful gift I've received in many a year. I had been using a series of inexpensive digitals (such as nikon cool pix). The D80 lets me take shots that are as good (in my opinion) as a 35mm slr.

The advantage, of course, is being able to shoot as much as I want and not have to deal with the cost and time involved in film processing.

thanks to all for these ideas, I don't favorite many posts here on the meta, but I'll come back to this one.
posted by HuronBob at 5:01 PM on January 15, 2007


You could get a darkroom so that you could develop the film rather than having to take it to get developed. You could load your own film rolls with just a few frames per roll so that you don't have to take so many pictures to finish a roll.
posted by willnot at 5:11 PM on January 15, 2007


The question was how do I force myself to take more 35mm pictures - so let's stay with that (some of us know and appreciate the difference, so let's not go there).

I would consider the craft of 35mm and identify what is more suitable for you to use it for - create some themes around this. This may involve spending quality time in the darkroom working with extending or compressing the contrast of the medium and getting into the alchemy of the art of analogue photography - which has been liberated through the invention and uptake of digital imaging.

There is something highly satisfying about watching the image slowly emerge through the processes of the darkroom - something that is lost in the almost instant gratification of digital.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:32 PM on January 15, 2007


I went off a bit and had to delete when I read your profile. I guess part of this is work for you -- which makes it hard. What you wrote made me really feel like it is a chore for you to take photos and that's a shame.

If you really want to take 35mm pictures everyday, Here's a justification for film: Choose someone or someones you love or something you love and photograph him,her, it. It is amazing how people, places can change from day to day etc.Tell yourself you have to use film because time has taught us that a negative will last pretty long and there's a good chance it will be printable (i.e. you don't have to worry about what kind of digital format you've stored it in) years from now when your ancestors are curious about what you and yours and your world looked like. I am sure there are arguments you could make about this, but don't think that hard -- just use the trick and think of it as a posterity thing.
posted by nnk at 5:57 PM on January 15, 2007


I suppose I missed the mark. If it's a question of not using the digital when you go out for work, I'd have to agree with others -- don't take it -- or at least don't take it some of the time.

But can your really force this stuff? My instinct would be not to fight it and use what you're most comfortable with -- you'll get better results.
posted by nnk at 6:03 PM on January 15, 2007


Maybe part of your resistance is the thought of scanning the negatives if you want to use your 35mm shots in any digital context. It's time-consuming and doesn't have the same pleasure as doing darkroom work.

But almost all photo labs now have the option of scanning your negatives onto a CD at the time of development -- maybe you could do that? They won't be high-quality scans, but definitely usable for web/email purposes and small digital prints (up to 8x10). And it'd let you see which photos you'd either like to print in the darkroom or get a high-quality scan of. Think of it as a digital contact sheet.

It will increase your costs, of course, but if you're not doing a ton of rolls per month, it'd be worth it if it gets you using your SLR more.
posted by lisa g at 6:39 PM on January 15, 2007


Buy film. Buy black and white film. Buy film with funky characteristics. Develop your own film. Fall back in love with the medium.
posted by holgate at 6:46 PM on January 15, 2007


BUT how do I make myself use the 35mm? I don't want to shoot a ton of digital, or at least not exclusively digital...but with 35mm I have to finish the roll, get it developed and then pick it up, scan it...

If money is no object then use an entire roll of 35mm every time you stop to take a photo. It is very easy to take 36 different photos any place where you would have taken only one.

If cost is an object, send the 35mm SLR off to eBay and get a compatible dSLR. Once you have a dSLR, you can up the exercise to 300 shots per "scene." Your photographic ability will go up dramatically.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:50 PM on January 15, 2007


When I had access to free film in college, I used to shoot 10 rolls per day when I had time to do photography. It makes a huge difference if you are shooting B&W and have access to a lab to make your own prints. Realistically, it doesn't make *any* sense to pay for the cost of film unless you are an established artist who expects film-based works.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:55 PM on January 15, 2007


BUT how do I make myself use the 35mm?

You don't have a problem. Continue shooting digitally and keep posting everyday. Shoot your film. When a roll is done, develop it and then post those pictures to your blog

I don't want to shoot a ton of digital, or at least not exclusively digital...but with 35mm I have to finish the roll, get it developed and then pick it up, scan it...

If shooting, developing and posting film shots is such a hassle, then switch to digital completely or just stop thinking you have to do this silly post a picture a day thing. Post a roll of film a week or every two weeks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 PM on January 15, 2007


Costco makes prints and 5 meg files from my film in an hour. About $15 for 24.
posted by The Deej at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2007


Get bulk film & a bulk film loader ($15), and after the initial cost you'll be paying 5 cents per negative, which is less than half of what you would get per roll. After I forced myself into the mindset that film was almost free, I started taking more photos, shooting multiple rolls in a day.

Get a cheap darkroom setup (beakers, bottles, a tank, a changing bag, thermometer) used. I paid $40 for all of this. Buy the developer Diafine and other chemistry (fixer, permawash, photoflow) for $15 more. Now, developing film is reliable', takes less than 30 min, is without temperature restrictions, and you don't have to worry about having an incorrect developing exposure. Best of all, it's pretty much free (the chemicals last an year or so).

Also, the amount of initial money you spent will be used to motivate you to take more photos ('I bought all this stuff, I can't just let it gather dust').

That's what worked for me, anyhow.
posted by suedehead at 8:49 PM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Use the 35mm for things that you can't do (easily) with the digital. I'm talking about stuff like IR (if the camera doesn't have an IR frame-advance sensor) and UV photography (difficult). It'll cost a bit in filters once-off and some film for experimentation but the results can be very very cool.

If you have high quality fast lenses, think about doing some portraiture that's not possible with little P&S cameras due to their small sensors and therefore too-much DOF. Having got myself a DSLR and good 28-75/2.8, I find that I can take much better portraits than I could with my (otherwise excellent) 8mm-sensor digital.

Get some high quality slide film and learn to use it accurately - it's about as fussy as digital for exposure precision so you'll want to bracket for a while. Make (and by make, using a lab is acceptable here) beautiful cibachrome prints with breathtaking saturation. Make them bigger than the digital is capable of, frame them and give them to special friends as bday/xmas presents.

Go on a photographic trip (OK, might be hard with the kid, but still...) and take only the 35mm. Even if it's just a sunset half an hour away or a foggy morning by a river or something.

Get a macro lens.

I don't agree with those who say to deny yourself the digital... all that will achieve is less digital shots. Use the digital to scout out high quality scenery, etc, wait for awesome light and retake the shot with Velvia 50.
posted by polyglot at 9:17 PM on January 15, 2007


Oh yeah... if you really get into the high-res stuff, landscapes (you live on an island! I know plenty of photogs who'd kill for that accessibility of scenery) then have a look at medium or large format.

I'm talking 4x5" or even 8x10" negatives: that's 14x and 57x respectively the area of negative compared to 35mm (36x24mm). You can make the most breathtakingly detailed images with that style of camera, particularly if it has front and back movements that allow you to have a plane of focus that isn't perpendicular to the line of sight, not to mention perspective adjustment. That sort of movement allows you to have everything from the flowers at your feet to the distant mountains perfectly in focus wihtout stopping down so far as to make diffraction a problem.
posted by polyglot at 9:33 PM on January 15, 2007


Document your life. You will take scores of pictures of every day.
posted by xammerboy at 12:02 AM on January 16, 2007


Most places that develop film will scan it for you free of charge. If you don't go to such a place, switch. That's really the only big headache with using film. Developing can be quite quick nowadays. Also, buy crap loads of film and put it in the fridge.
posted by chunking express at 7:13 AM on January 16, 2007


thank you for the answers.
I guess I need to clarify - I love shooting 35mm. Love love love it.
But I made the weird commitment to post daily which had the unintended effect of me shooting more digital and less film.
Not that I hate film and think I should shoot film, just I love it and it's too easy to shoot with the digital camera, and I couldn't figure out how to (daily) use the film to post pictures.
posted by henryis at 8:50 AM on January 17, 2007


It sounds like you just need to build up a good stock of pictures, (maybe a months worth of posts) in advance - then as long as you shoot at the same rate as you post entries, you wont have to worry about the delay for D&P.
posted by Lanark at 1:23 PM on January 17, 2007


Something that encourages me to shoot, in general: buy frames. I makes me want to shoot something worthy of framing.
posted by The Deej at 6:10 PM on January 17, 2007


IT makes me...
posted by The Deej at 6:10 PM on January 17, 2007


Nice one, Deej.

You could maybe even think about utilising all that shot film in some kind of sculpture piece aside from printing from it - something that involved light and using the sun to project it at certain times of day? I dunno.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:20 PM on January 17, 2007


Hmmm, film sculpture. What a great idea! I may try that! My apartment screams "photographer" when you walk in. Plenty of framed photos by myself and my daughter, and a small collection of cameras on a bookshelf, including my grandfather's old "pocket" Kodak. Adding a film sculpture or 2 sounds great! I have been looking for something to add. Thanks, SV!

Also, back to the question. PopPhoto is having a Shoot All Day assignment/contest. Briefly, they want readers to set aside January 21 to shoot ALL DAY, 15 hours, and come out with an average of one shot per 5 minutes. You can use the link for more details. But whether you do this or not, a simple self-assignment of "I am going to shoot 100 pictures today (or this weekend)" will force you to look for photo-worthy scenes.

Good luck!
posted by The Deej at 5:20 AM on January 18, 2007


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