Film street photography

Street photography has recently become a very popular kind of photography, maybe the biggest one. Most of them use different types of digital cameras, full frame, APS-C, mirrorless or even mobile devices such as phones.

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Leica M6 TTL + protopan 400 by Jose Luis Gea

But we shouldn’t forget where street photography comes from, and that is analog photography. Cameras are still, basicaly, the same as it was in the beginning and it’s always an unique and exciting experience.

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Leica M6 TTL + Kodak portra 400 by Jose Luis Gea

Choose your film

The first thing that we have to consider when using an analog camera is the ISO (International Organization for Standardization or known as “film speed”) of the film, you will have to adjust your camera for that ISO so that it can calculate the aperture and shutter speed (on “newer” analog cameras). You will not be able to change the ISO from the camera, you can do this just by changing the film.

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Leica M6 TTL + protopan 400 by Jose Luis Gea

Maybe the most adecuate ISO for street photography is 400 in colour and in Black and White, this speed will allows us to adjust a correct exposure for different lighting conditions.

It’s a very common speed and you, depending on where you living, wont find any trouble to get one. And with portals like amazon or ebay finding the correct film has become a piece of cake. In fact, they are manufactures that still produce analog films.

Take care about the highlights

Regarding exposure, in analog photography it’s normal to adjust the exposure to shadows because during the photographic processing you can recover more easier darke zones than bright onces.

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Leica M6 TTL + protopan 400 by Jose Luis Gea

Nowadays, we are observing an inclination to this traditionally way of photography from those who search for an extra differenciation to other photographers. For example in grain or grey gamut, which only a analog film gives.

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Leica M6 TTL + protopan 400 by Jose Luis Gea

Back to the roots

Prime lens are very common in street photography (several street photographers don’t like using zoom lens). Even manual lenses are being rescued from forgoten places by purists who doesn’t like what the rest does (also known as “mainstream photography”).

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Leica M6 TTL + protopan 400 by Jose Luis Gea

It’s true that digital photography has contribute substantially to make the photographers life easier. But it also has changed the way we take a picture (not just the negative processing, which we will comment in other article), in analog photography there is no “erase” button which means you can’t undo your mistakes. However, this isn’t negative at all because you won’t have to spend hundreds of euros or dollars in order to store your thousands of pictures virtually (other positive aspect is that you won’t be exposed to Hard-Disk errors like CRC or data lost).

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Leica M6 TTL + Kodak portra 400 by Jose Luis Gea

Jose Luis Gea for Street Soul Photography