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I was one of the lucky bloggers who were invited to attend an “Intro to Film Photography” workshop in Manila and I was sooooo thrilled! Though I am familiar with the classic point-and-shoot film cams from before, I never really used it first-hand. So all thanks to Vintage Camera Market for preserving this practice and sharing knowledge and fun to young people like me! (Okay, chill. I’m still young.)

It was my first time to use a film camera ever. And I have to admit, it’s kinda exciting and scary at the same time. It’s as if, if you accidentally do something to the film or click something on the camera then its all ruined. Effort are all trashed. Dreams of having a perfect shot destroyed. Then after the workshop, I still think it’s true.

Our instructor clearly said “don’t be afraid to explore and know your camera”. Which makes sense, because in photography, knowing everything about your camera and how it works are your aces. And yes, it is safe to discover and try all the functions while your film’s still out. But when the film’s already in, that’s when the real exploration really starts.

Intro to Film Photography workshop

Vintage Camera Market is a community for film camera enthusiasts with the common goal of preserving the art of film photography. I knew them on Facebook via this page and I just recently learned they have an online community as well where you can buy and sell cameras and camera stuff. Their mission to make film photography sustainable and fun, is what caught me. I’ve been eyeing to try actual film photography since these digital apps came into trend.

In order to attain their goal, VCM offer workshops to photography enthusiasts and to those who are interested in starting their journey to film photography for FREE. I attended the March 1 run and I can vouch it is indeed fun!

The workshop covered the most important fundamentals of film photography from different types of film cameras to delicate parts of it. After an hour of discussion, we also did a mini photo walk along Escolta and nearby streets to try and experience capturing interesting images while working for the VCM’s theme of the month.

No film cam? No prob! VCM offers rental packages for a wide range of film cameras. See their website and Fb page for the updated rates. They also offer the same services outside the workshop in case you’re just into film photography walk within the area.

My workshop experience

We started the workshop by learning all the names and backgrounds of everyone in the room, not just the instructor’s. I shared that I have a day job aside from travel and food blogging, and that I love photography though I am more of a digital camera user. Participants include bloggers, working girls and guys, and mostly students, validating that the reach of interest to film photography is in variation of adults and young people – which is very good to know!

At first, I thought the most exciting part was the photo walk, but as the lecture went, the I loved it more and more. Honestly, I found it challenging, that I need to focus on really learning all the parts and functions so I was like “sht ayoko na makinig, ayoko na mahirapan” but when the discussion became more interactive, I realized “sht mas mahihirapan pala ko kung di ako nakinig” lol.

Another challenge is the limited space and stuff to support the theme. The theme of the month is “Nostalgia”, and we only had 2-3 hours to come up with an original idea of what to capture. I didn’t have enough time to roam around nearby streets as well because I was afraid I’d be left out.

Not to mention the camera is heavier than the usual digital camera (which is my phone) I use. And the lack of experience makes my manual setting soooo slow that I wanted to capture a moving object but I failed because I was still catching the exposure balance but my subject was already meters away lol.

Related post: Sundowners Vacation Villas: one of the coolest Santorini-inspired vacation villas in PH!

What I learned from the workshop

I am not spoiling VCM’s cause by giving you all the details of what was discussed during the workshop – I’m not an expert (at least not yet) anyway. Instead, I am sharing the behaviors and ideas I learned from it. If you want to know more about the technicalities, you have to attend it face-to-face to fully understand the importance of the photography concept. If you’re still reading my article up to this point, I’m sure it’s because you are interested. Feed that curiosity! Visit their Fb page for the schedules of upcoming workshops.

The most important part of a camera

Our instructor, Aries Balanay, shared that most of professional photographers invest on camera straps as way of respect to their device. While others are focused on upgrading the body and the lenses, the strap is one of the most important part of the camera as well.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

I always believe “Your shots reflect YOU”. So aside from knowing your camera.m, you gotta know you. Every photographer has his/her own style, inspos, pegs. To be honest, I’m not sure if I already have my unique style yet. I guess I need more practice and experimenting to do!

Participating in a photography workshop will enhance your passion for photography

I love taking photographs. In fact, I challenged myself to take at least one random snap everyday and make a story out of it at the end of the year. But being surrounded by people who actually love photography boosts my interest and curiosity to learn more. Knowing new people, learning new skills make me become more motivated and inspired to become better at it.

Tips for beginners and first-timers (like myself!)

  • Be ready to carry a heavy cam. Most film cameras are a little heavier than your digicams.
  • Make the most of your first 36 shots. For my first time, sine I had limited time, I was able to take 31 photos plus 1 half-exposed (or IDK how they call it). Work around and beyond the theme and let yourself look on another perspective.
  • Always, I mean ALWAYS wear your camera straps during photowalks! Taking good care of your camera will do you good.
  • Build relationship among photographers – from pros to beginners. Building a network allows you to learn and experience more about photography. It’s always nice to share best practices and tips among your colleagues.

Scanned photos of my film supporting the theme of the month, “Nostalgia” (+ some practice shots)

Slide left to view more.

Thanks again, Vintage Camera Market for inviting me and letting me experience film photography first-hand. Because of you, my interest in photography is not just for having a beautiful photo for the blog, but also has become love and passion to deliver stories and emotions through photographs – especially through film photographs!

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