April 2019, I wasn’t yet aware how much one year would change.

When I first purchased Julie Paisley’s film course last year, I wasn’t sure how it would go. It was my first time buying a course online and I was scared. I knew I wanted and needed to change something, but I wasn’t sure where to start or how to get the quality of images I was wanting. I decided to take the plunge and promised myself that I would go through the course and give it one year before I made a decision about if it was the right direction.

I didn’t know that it was exactly what I needed.

In order to shoot film and not invest an insane amount of money in something I wasn’t sure would pay off, I got an old Canon film camera off of eBay for a steal. Walmart had some consumer level film. I actually wrecked my first roll because I was playing with buttons on my camera and accidentally wound it back before I had even taken one photo. Then, my first session trying it out (because I was trying to be brave and took it out on a session right after my camera arrived, without having done any of my homework or even trying to figure out how to meter), I couldn’t figure out how to actually get the film to advance for the first fifteen minutes. I felt like a complete idiot.

The roll that I shot sat in my office for five months.

I was scared and we moved. I wasn’t sure where to send it (that decision alone took me until January to settle on a lab to use consistently, and then I questioned it for the first six months of this year). Ultimately, I took it to a small camera shop here in town and I was surprised. The images weren’t perfect, but they also weren’t the disaster I thought they would be. It gave me hope. I had taken my second roll on vacation with us and captured images of my husband and son. One week after I got those scans back, I ordered my first batch of Fuji 400H from the FIND Lab and resolved to shoot it at an upcoming wedding in the Keys. The colors of the Fuji 400H made me fall in love.

It was like finding the missing puzzle piece.

I after getting the images from the Fuji 400H back, I was in love. It was exactly what I had needed. I suddenly felt much more confident in my photography, in the fact that I was doing the right thing for me and my business. I haven’t looked back since. I have shot film at every wedding and session I have had this year. I no longer question if it’s the right move. Film made me fall in love with my art again and forced me to get better in ways I didn’t think I could.

Going forward in 2021, I’m hoping to incorporate more film and will hopefully be adding medium format film to my workflow.

I can’t wait to see how film will change my photography as I continue to grow.