Photo Life 6: Digital vs. Film - A Visual Comparison

Photo Life 6: Digital vs Film | Azzari Jarrett

Wisteria is blooming all over this time of year.  I recently captured digital images with my Fuji XT-1 and 35mm lens and my Nikon F100 and 85mm lens, loaded with Kodak Portra 400

For this installment of Photo Life, I thought this would be a good exploration of digital vs film images.  And for the record, this is not about which medium is a better - I enjoy shooting with both.  And you are forewarned - this is a photo heavy post!

Let's take a look at the digital captures first.

Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria | Azzari Jarrett

No post processing with these digital images - I set the camera to overexpose by +1.  They are crisp, clear, and capture the morning light beautifully.

And here are the film images, captured on Kodak Porta 400.

Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett
Wisteria on Film | Azzari Jarrett

Once again, I didn't make any adjustments make to these film captures after scanning. These images were taken at the exact same time of day.  They are more muted, grainy, and soulful.

Deciding which camera to use all depends on my mood and what I want my resulting images to portray, as you can see in these captures. 

There is no right or wrong.

Capturing the feeling of the moment or shadows and light, almost always means I reach for film. Crisp and clear, and capturing a certain point of view means that I reach for my digital camera. 

Always remember to have the resulting images in mind.

Do you have a preference? 

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And as always, please let me know if there is a topic or question you would like addressed in this series. Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.

Photo Life 5: Photography Equipment I Use and Love

Photo Life 5: Photography Equipment I Use and Love | Azzari Jarrett

I am often asked about what cameras (both film and digital) I use and what film that I like the best.  In this installment of Photo Life, I'd like to share some of the photography equipment that I use and most importantly, that I love.  Hopefully, this will be helpful!

Digital Photography

I use my digital cameras almost everyday to capture my girls and my project life layouts.  I shoot with my Nikon D600, which almost always has the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24 - 70mm f/2.8 lens attached.  For client work, I love the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens, and my go to portrait lens is definitely the Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens.

When I am on the go, I love to bring my Fuji X-T1 - it's small, sharp, and light. Perfect to tuck in my bag without weighing it down.  I photograph most of my layouts with this camera. I have the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 lens.

Instant Film Photography

When I want to capture my feeling or mood, I reach for my film cameras.

I have a restored Polaroid Land 250 Camera which I purchased from LandCameras.com. I've had it for years and still works as good as the day I received it.  I use Fuji FP-100C film and Fuji FP-3000B (now discontinued).

The Polaroid Sun 660 rounds out my Polaroid collection. I love bringing this camera on vacation with me!  I purchased it on ebay a couple of years ago - but there are plenty available at garage sales, goodwill, antique shops, and etsy. Of course, Polaroid 600 is now discontinued, but I have had great success with Impossible 600 Color Film.

Fuji Instax Mini Instant Film and Fuji Wide Instant Color Film is the most readily available instant film. I use them with my Instax 210 Instant wide camera and my Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic camera - both are fun to use and my kid friendly.  My girls love both of these cameras, and I always love their perspective! Many of these photos make their way to my layouts as well.

35mm Film Photography

If I could recommend only one film camera, it would definitely be the Pentax K1000. There are plenty available on ebay.  It was my first film camera and I learned so much about photography, even after years of shooting digitally.  With this camera, I learned to shoot in Manual - setting my aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all on my own.  Here are a few tips on choosing a 35mm manual film camera.

If you shoot digitally with a Nikon, I could probably hand you my Nikon F100 and you would instantly feel at home! That's exactly how I feel about this autofocus 35mm film camera, it just feels good in my hands.  An absolute pleasure to shoot with. I purchased this camera used, but in excellent condition on Adorama.

My favorite 35mm film: Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H.

Medium Format Film Photography

My medium format film cameras consist of the Contax 645 and the Hasselblad 500c.  Both are great cameras and produce large, beautiful prints.  

I definitely don't use the Contax as much as I should, it is extremely large and heavy.  But the resulting images are stunning.  Here's proof

The Hasselblad was a total impulse buy from a camera shop during a visit to San Francisco a couple of years ago.  I saw it, took one look through the viewfinder, pressed the shutter, and took it home with me that very day.  I've mentioned this before, but this camera has the best sounding shutter, hands down.  You can hear it in this short film that I recorded a while back.

My favorite 120 film for the Contax and Hasselblad: Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H.  I also have a polaroid back that I use with both of these cameras, which I load with Fuji FP 100c instant film.  They don't use the entire width of the film, as you can see at the bottom of this post, but I still love the results.

Photo Organization

I use Adobe Lightroom to organize all of my photos - but film and digital.  I post process my digital photos with Adobe Photoshop.  I don't alter my film images in order to preserve the look and feel of the film.

Scanning/Developing/Printing

I develop my film at a local photo lab and scan all of my film at home on my Epson V600.  I also print my photos at home with the Epson 3880 which I have had for years. I find that Epson papers work best with Epson printers.  I print with Epson Premium Semi-Gloss photo paper and Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper.

Whew - I know that's a lot! Definitely let me know if you have questions about anything I mentioned here, I'm happy to help.

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And as always, please let me know if there is a topic or question you would like addressed in this series.  Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.

Photo Life 04: How to Make A Film Journal

How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett

Here's my truth: After I snap a instant film photo, wait for it to develop, and scan it, it usually goes in a drawer in my studio. Not good.

One of my goals for this year is to actually get those photos documented.  Here's a quick and easy way to tell stories with your photos -  by creating a simple journal.

You will need:

I chose a kraft journal so that I could emboss the cover with a few stamps.  

How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett

After you have selected your photos, use the Scotch roller to apply adhesive to the back of each photo.  

How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett
How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett

After all of your photos are secured, go back and simply add journaling under each photo.

How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett
How to Make A Film Journal | Azzari Jarrett

Easy, simple, and most importantly - done.  

Click through these images to see my a few more images from my film journal:

As always, please let me know if there is topic or question you would addressed in this series! Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.

Photo Life 03: Traveling With Photography Gear

Photo Life 3 - Traveling With Photography Gear | Azzari Jarrett

For my third installment of Photo Life, I'd like to talk a bit about traveling with photography gear.

Kammi reached out to me about how I decide which cameras to travel with.  She is going on an international trip soon and would love tips on what to bring.  

When I travel, I always pack my camera gear first. Priorities, right? For me, it's always the same formula - two film cameras, one digital.  I usually like to have one instant film camera and one 35 mm or medium format camera. If I only have room for two cameras, I leave my digital camera at home.  I know that I will always have my iPhone which takes care of the digital format for me.

In order to make your trip a successful one, you should definitely plan ahead for what photography gear to pack.  Think about what kind of images you would like to take from the trip and plan accordingly.

Here are a few things to consider:

What kind of trip are you taking?

Are you going to the beach? Think about the sand and water - you many not want to bring your most prized camera.  Walking around a new city? Your digital SLR or 35mm cameras are perfect for this.  Are you going backpacking or camping?  You may want to photograph with something small and lightweight. 

Also consider the length of your trip.  If you are going on a day trip, you may want to travel light and only want to bring one camera.  

Don't forget to check the weather at your destination, which will also help you decide what photography gear to bring.

Choose only the essentials.

Creativity needs constraints.  You don't want too many options which may make you feel overwhelmed.  The key is to limit yourself, and take photographs with what you have at the moment.  

If you decide to take your digital SLR, consider only packing one lens.  Remember to bring extra SD cards and your battery charger.

And of course, if you choose to bring a film camera - don't forget to pack the actual film. Speaking from experience here!

Carry On.

A rule of thumb I like to live by: Never pack what you can't carry.  

Let's be honest, checked baggage is not exactly handled with care.  And if you are like me, I'm sure your photography gear is pretty important.  

I carry on all my photography gear - digital and film.  I usually tell the gate agents that I have film and I have not had a problem with them hand checking it so that my film doesn't have to go through a scanner (although it should be safe).  

Organization

Be sure to lay all of your photography gear out before packing to leave.  This way, you can make an accurate assessment of much stuff you have and if it will fit in your bag.   

I currently have this camera bag, but honestly, I don't take it with me when I travel.  I usually pack my photography gear in a tote bag or even my diaper bag (any other mama's feel me here?).  And of course, there are many stylish camera bags available which would make packing easy. Check out these or these.

 

Do you have any other tips for traveling with photography gear?

And as always, if there's a topic that you'd like to discuss (whether it's photography or film related), feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.  

Photo Life 02: Finding Your Creative Voice

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

Continuing today with the 2nd installment of my new series, Photo Life!

With this series, I plan to tackle common photography questions that I receive.  As always, if there's a topic that you'd like to discuss (whether it's photography or film related), feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.  

Amanda recently contacted me about guidance on how to free yourself from the technical side of photography and find your creative voice.  She is struggling with how release the feeling that her images have to be "perfect".

Here are 4 tips to help find your creative voice through photography. 

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

It sounds simple, but so many people struggle with this.  They take photos of what they think is popular or what looks good, not giving a second thought to their own interests or what brings them joy. 

What do you like to do? How do you spend your days? Be sure to photograph that.  Are you drawn to still life photography? Food photography? Portraits? Pursue what makes your soul sing. The joy you experience in capturing what interests you will be readily apparent in your photos.  If your photos are forced or rushed, that will come across too.

I admire the work of so many people that have such different interests from my own.  Photographers who concentrate on portraits, weddings, graffiti, abandoned buildings, the list goes on.  But when you are your truest self behind the camera, that will come through in your images.  And that is what I see - someone's passion, their determination, the beauty of what they have captured at that moment in time.

Keep in mind that your interests will change, and that is okay as well.  As life happens, know that as you grow as a person, your interests will shift. Your photography will continue to evolve based on your life circumstances.  Be open to that.  And photograph what makes you happy.

Be sure to take photos every day with any camera that you currently have. Don't wait for the perfect time.  Don't wait for the perfect camera.  Use what you have, right now.  Your smartphone, your digital camera, your film camera - it doesn't matter, just be sure to capture that light everyday.

And by that I don't mean that you have to do a formal 365 day project.  Simply take a moment each day to photograph some bit of your life.

Practice, practice, practice. It's the only way to find your rhythm, what angle you like you the best, what setting is best for the time of day.

Keep snapping, keep practicing.

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

Knowing the rules of photography is important.  The rule of thirds, lens flare, shooting in manual, composition, guidelines - these are all great, but if the technical side of photography is too daunting, don't let it hinder you from where you are.

There are so many people who never reach their full potential or even share their images, because they are so critical of their own work.  They have spent so much time post processing and critiquing their own photographs that they are paralyzed and too afraid to share.

Push through that. 

Photography is not about perfectionism. Photography is art. Know the rules of the game so that you can acknowledge when you break them.  

Be sure of yourself. Be sure of your work. That photograph that you captured is from your unique point of view at that very moment in time, regardless of how many people have photographed that subject before you.

Try not to make your photos abide by anyone else's rules.  And only then will your photos truly become your own.

Photo Life 02 | Finding Your Creative Voice by Azzari Jarrett

 

And finally, this might be the most important tip - Be inspired, but then keep going.

Follow your favorite photographers.  Look at their work.  Contact them about their process.  I have found that photographers love to talk shop (myself included, by the way).

Be inspired by what they are doing, but don't let it hinder you from quitting because your photography is not where you want it to be.  

I think Alice said it best in this interview:

"When you’re too focused on what everyone else is doing, you end up trying to emulate the thing you’re inspired by. Keep creating a lot of work, keep producing."

Don't stop because your work does not look like theirs, your work brings your unique perspective to the table.  

Do what feels right, and you will get to where you want to be.

photo life no. 1 | how to choose a 35mm film camera

How to Choose a 35mm Film Camera | Azzari Jarrett

I'm kicking off a new photography series today called Photo Life! 

I plan to tackle photography questions that I receive and I thought a new series would be the perfect way to tie my thoughts together.  Although this first installment is about film photography, not all of my posts for this series will be related to film.  If there's a topic that you'd like to discuss, by all means, leave a comment or send me an email.

So you might be interested in experimenting with film photography.  A common question I receive is how do I choose a film camera?

I always recommend starting with 35mm manual film cameras with your initial journey into film photography.  Quite simply because 35mm film is the easiest film to find at your local drugstore or online (I purchase all of my 35mm film from Amazon). Also, learning to shoot manual will strengthen your photography skills overall. It wasn't until I begin shooting with my Pentax K1000 that I completely understood all of the settings of my digital SLR!

Here are some examples of cameras to look for: Nikon FM, Canon AE-1, or Pentax K1000.  All of these cameras are affordable, sturdy, and quite easy to find because they were so popular.  

You can find used 35mm cameras online at sites such as Ebay on photography sites such as Keh.  If you do plan to purchase online, make sure the seller has plenty of pictures posted so that you can inspect the camera accurately.  I have a Pentax K1000, which I purchased on Ebay.  I am using this camera in the photos for this post.  

In person, you have the added benefit of holding the camera is your hand and inspecting the overall condition of the camera for yourself.  Try looking at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and antique shops.  Don't forget to ask your family and friends if they have any old cameras that they would like to pass along.  If family and friends know that you are looking for film cameras, they may think of you when cleaning out their attics or old boxes. 

Here are some important things to look for when choosing a film camera:

  1. Check out the overall condition of the camera.  Are there any cracks, loose knobs or buttons?
  2. Inspect the lens.  Do you see any mold or fungus?
  3. Open the camera back.  For the Pentax K1000, simply pull up the rewind knob at the top of camera (see the image above). Is there mold or fungus in the interior of the camera?
  4. Press the shutter and wind the lever.  Be sure to look at the curtain, does it open and close smoothly?
  5. Check for bent spools (see the image above).

Keep in mind that when purchasing a used camera, there will always be a risk.  I hope that by sharing these pointers, you will know what to look for when purchasing to help you determine if your investment is a good one.  

For inspiration, here are some film images I have taken with my Pentax K1000.

Are there any other tips you have for choosing a manual 35mm camera?