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Camera Film Experiments That Will Get You Out of Your Creative Rut

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Photographers get into creative ruts every now and again. If you shoot in digital, you may want to try shooting in film to get out of a rut. If you already shoot in film, there are tons of experiments you can do to make your shooting adventures more exciting. Here are a few that are recommended.

Film Soup

Film soup involves immersing your 35 mm canister in some sort of liquid after the roll has been shot. It messes with the emulsion to provide unique effects. It can heighten the color and emotion of the image.

Some people are worried about using too many ingredients in their film soup as they think it may ruin the film. However, most who have experience with the technique have found that too much is never enough.

Dish soap and kosher salt make a great film soup base. It can be mixed with food coloring, baking soda, and more. You can also use boiled water with lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar.

Soak the film for 1- 24 hours, rinse it for five minutes or however long it takes for the soap to come off. Allow it to dry for a couple of weeks. Then send it to a lab or develop it yourself.

Double Exposures

For a unique take on double exposures, try running a roll of film through a camera twice. To make it even more fun, swap with a friend. So both of you will use up a roll of film, trade-off, and take your own images over the used one.

When shooting over a used roll, you are likely to get some misaligned frames. This can be a really cool technique, but if you are trying to avoid it you should:

  • Use a camera with automatic frame advance.

  • Use the same model camera that the original frame was shot with.

  • Bend or mark the film where you pulled it to load the camera.

Use a Prism

A prism effect can be created with digital or film cameras. Just place the prism in front of the lens and start shooting. It will provide a rainbow, a blurred area, or a reflection of something off-frame. Once you understand how the light source works, you’ll get stunning results.

Light Leaks

Light leaks can add depth, dimension, and layers to your images. You can buy effects that help you get light leaks, but it may be more fun to DIY it.

The easiest way to create light leaks is to run the film through the camera again. This is done by extracting the film leader from the canister of the finished roll of film and loading it back into the camera as normal. You can avoid double exposure by putting a body cap on the camera or putting a cap on the lens if you are using a lens.

You can also open the back of the camera a fraction of an inch every three to five shots to expose it to light. Make sure the camera is off when the back is opened.

Motion

Motion is well captured when you slow your shutter speed down to around 1/15 or 1/18 of a second. It is best to keep as still as possible by stabilizing yourself or using a tripod. This is another technique that can be done with film or digital.

If you are in a photography slump, these film techniques will help you get excited. Which will you be trying out the next time you need a creative boost?

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