POCKET FILM GUIDE
The ISO number is essentially an indicator of how sensitive the film is to light — it’s also often referred to as the film speed. You’ll find this number on the side of any type of film and common ISO numbers include 100, 200, 400 and 800. The lower the number means the lower the ‘speed’ of the film. A low speed film will be much more sensitive to light and produce a much finer picture. Higher speed films are great if there’s low-light but the results can tend to be slightly grainier.
So, choosing an ISO number and a film often depends on when or where you are going to be taking your pictures.
SUNNY/SUMMER: When the weather is good and the sun is shining bright in the sky, it’s always best to go for a low speed film, like an ISO100. Also a good choice for crisp and beautiful night shots!
CLOUDY WEATHER/WINTER: As winter sets in and the days get shorter and darker, best make sure you’re totally stocked up on higher ISO films, ISO400 or even ISO800. Also a good choice if you decide to shoot indoors without a flash!
Colour Negative (CN):
Colour negative film is the most common film you’ll find on the market. It’s straight-up, straight-forward basic film that is processed by your lab in C-41 chemicals. This is the stuff you can take to your local drug-store or supermarket and have ready in an hour — it’s fast and fun and great for those gotta-get-it-quick moments. It’ll give you natural colours and contrast but all colour negative films will yield different results. Some films will give you 12 exposures, some 24 and others will give you 36. Play around and discover new films and new results! Want more information on Film? Read Pamela Klaffke’s Film Bible Colour Negative Edition.
Black and White:
Fancy giving your shot that super vintage, classic look? Then why not go for black and white film! Shoot roll after roll of breath-taking, ultra-elegant shots. It’s great for portraits because it’s the perfect way to play around with the contrasts of dark and light. Or get experimental to achieve unpredictable, mysterious or even spooky results!
The redscale technique came about when crazy photographers would load a film backwards and shoot through a semi-transparent layer on the back. The result was gorgeous splashes or fiery reds, oranges and yellows! Lomography have crafted a film that makes it as easy as just loading up your camera and…click!
Slide film is basically an alternative type of film to colour negative. If you want your shots to be bright and vivid and dripping with in-your-face colour, give slide film a whirl! Generally used by professionals who prefer its better tone reproduction, slide film is also popular with many Lomographers. The reason why? It can be cross processed for mind-bending, unpredictable effects and über-vivid colours. Not sure what cross processing is? You will soon!
Cross Processing, also sometimes known as X-PRO, is when a film is developed in a solution that is actually meant for another type of film. Usually this means developing normal colour negative film in the solution that’s really meant for slide film. C-41 is the name of the solution that is used to develop colour negative film and E6 is the name of the solution used to develop slide! Develop the film in the wrong chemicals and the effect is often wild, crazy, popping colours and unpredictable results! Perfect for experimental Lomographers. Ask your photo lab if they’ll give your shots the crazy X-Pro treatment!
Just like milk, rolls of film come with an expiry date! This ‘process by’ date can usually be found printed on the side of the film package. But don’t let that put you off! Film can usually still be used many years after the expiry date passes. But here’s the fun part — when film does expire, things start to get a little crazy. Unpredictable results, strange colour-shifts, erratic saturation and much more! Some Lomographers even keep their expired films in the fridge — to help preserve them.