This question always amuses me. My signature line used to be "Photography is not for the faint of wallet."
My answer: I use what I need. YMMV
After buying cameras, lenses, tripods, filters, cases and bags; then dedicating and fitting out a room for a darkroom; buying enlargers, lenses, sinks, negative carriers, trays, tanks, reels and a zillion other things; - film is cheap.
I think this question must take in consideration what are you shooting. I make most of my pictures on the street with 35mm camera - and of course it is very different from one who shoots landscapes.
I tend to vacillate between between being cautious to firing off a roll. It depends on my mood. Sometimes developing a roll of film is just as fun a shooting it.
"The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."
i see what you are saying and i agree with you sortof ...
but i see landscape and portrait and street and abstractions as all the same thing
an exercise in observation ...
i can't speak for anyone else's experiences but i know that if i was in the zone and only took formulaic
or only photographs that i intended to take i wouldn't know how to print
and my eyes wouldn't be open to seeing most of the world around me ... my guess is that when you are on the street
with your camera, you observe a lot of different things, you are not just looking for people wearing read shoes ...
even if your long/short term project was "red shoes" ...
In the early Eighties I worked for three years for a very talented studio and wedding photographer, many years my senior, he taught me many, many things especially coming from a darkroom technician / printer / industrial photographic background.
Apart from how to take or rather 'light' a portrait he taught me that 16 photographs told the story of a wedding, any more than 30 was 'guache'. He went through every wedding album or proof set of portraits with the happy couple or the sitter, whether he photographed it, or I did, he didn't look at the photographs he looked at the customers faces, if it was my work he used to say 12 smiles out of 20 images......very good or 9 smiles out of 20 not so good.....smiles = print sales = profit and even more importantly a recommendation, we never paid advertise!.
He also held great store by gasps ! by customers.
Basically every photograph should produce a reaction....
He also started out telling me that 'good' wedding photography was one of the hardest skills.......
handling the people...not the camera ! 90% people work, 10% camera work ! and any more than 30 minutes max actually doing the photography means that you are imposing on their day and not doing your job properly...
I was such a smart a*** as most of us are when we are young... he could have taught me a lot more if I had listened a bit better.
Now.... I still try and 'think' about what I photograph, for me it ain't the materials its the time and the desire to produce something that means something to me or has 'worth'.
What I do always do is bracket, half a stop and a full stop either way ( not on sheet ! ) no substitute for a good neg, never was, never will be......and I always PRINT...
I truly despair when I see supposedly professional wedding photography now, 600 photographs of the wedding on an i pad.......584 too many in my opinion and frequently no prints..... or as I call it no point...but I am not knocking digital....just as always 'how its used' or how its now used as quantity over quality, quality always for me.
Oh and you do not take photographs with your arms out in front of you.... and people who take photographs with i pads in that manner especially should have them kicked out their hands without a word of apology IMHO.
I do have one 'indulgence' a Leica with a motor drive.....but I still have a little guilt if I leave my finger on too long...
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
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thanks for your insights.
i know the wedding photographer is only supposed to tell the story of the fairy tale ( wedding of the bride and groom )
that's their job, and its important to do what he is being paid for ...
but very few people here who responded to this thread are paid professionals but ... lay-persons / hobbyists
... im thinking a guest at the same wedding with a camera might see a million different stories to be
told from the birds on the street infront of the church choking on the rice to the food or behind the scenes service to the guests or even the band/dj
to the slowly getting drunk friends who eventually passed out in the lady's room.
i guess a real-life example of what i am talking about would be this ...
back in around 1996 i was hired to photograph a house in worcester massachusetts. it was a beat up 2 story italianate gothic sort of wood framed house
taken by eminent domain by the state for improvements to a state highway / turnpike.
the photographs were supposed to be of the house for the state and federal archives.
these historic preservation photographs illustrate a detailed report which explains the historic significance of the house &c, and typically are very formulaic.
maybe 12 4x5 views -- tops. street views, (context) 3/4 perspectives ( 2 elevations in one view ), windows, watertable, details of construction,
and typical room views up +down and details of construction
( if there was a hole in the wall for example that showed how the framing was &c ) that is usually what people stop at ...
they typically have tunnel vision when they do this sort of work and forget or don't explore a little bit ...
under a pile of leaves there large granite blocks and what in new england was referred to as a "stone fence" which would have been the boundary of the house
( incase you were wondering, they made wood fences and when they worked the soil they pulled the rocks out of the ground, and dropped it over the wood fence
... the wood fence eventually rotted away and the stone fence remains )
if i hadn't looked beyond the scope of "just the house" photographs that further explained the context of property wouldn't have been found ...
and after they knocked down the house, graded the property and put the exit ramp in it would have all been vanished ...
im not inquiring or suggesting folks just blast through a thousand rolls of film in a day, but if they observe and photograph things they might not have intended to when they left with their camera + allow themselves the lee-way to let go and photograph unplanned, unexpected
and to make a few mistakes along the way ..
Last edited by jnanian; 05-09-2014 at 08:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Sometimes, though, Stone, you have to experiment, to try, and sometimes the "best" shot is not the one you thought was best.
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
I stopped taking a camera out as often when I recognised a tendency to expose film just because the camera is there and not because there is something interesting to photograph; which just creates more film processing work, organisation, printing etc.
I'd like to try that, but it ain't gonna happen. Just a personality thing I guess. Same with the way I paint. Everything has to be completely planned. I can't just attack a canvas the way many people can.
Originally Posted by jnanian
I'll say this though. While I don't go through piles of film and chemicals making photographs, I do waste a tremendous amount of it on the science part
Thanks for passing along those tips Simon. Most of us are not professional event photographers, but I bet nearly all of us are "forced" into this kind of duty fairly often.