Film Friday: Talking with Jonathan Canlas

Cruise through Jonathan Canlas’ instagram account, and its clear – his two greatest passions are his adorable family and film photography. Canlas, isn’t just an extremely talented photographer, but he’s also the founder of Film Is Not Dead. He calls Hawaii home but travels the globe conducting his wildly popular FIND Workshops. He’ll head to the UK in February and team with the UK Film Lab to put on one of his two-day workshops. These workshops, in Canlas’ words, are part of a “community, family, a belief, a journey, centered around FIND-ing your unique voice through film photography.” If you’re lucky enough to be in Brighton this February, get your spot http://filmisnotdead.com/#workshopsektar100     We asked Jonathan to share some of the top 5 questions he receives in each workshop. Perhaps some of you have had these questions.

KodakPortra400We’re also lucky enough to have some of Jonathan’s work as well. For more of his work, visit ALOHA.KodakPortra160VC

1. Will shooting film make me a better photographer?

The answer to this is yes and no.

I mean, putting film in your hands is not going to make you see the world differently or make you magically better at your craft.  Meaning if you don’t see light, understand composition, or have a strong voice, film is not going to just give that skill to you.  HOWEVER, when film is put in your hands it forces you to slow down and shoot very differently than if you were shooting digitally.  With a digital camera that has cards that have the capacity to hold thousands upon thousands of images it is easy to just click away, taking multiple captures of one thing.  With no real limitation with digital in how many photos you can take, the discipline to take one and move on is just not needed.  It is really easy to get loose about what you are shooting with that mentality.  However, on film, every time you click it costs money and a certain discipline is usually adapted when shooting film.  With more intention combined with a slower pace, it will literally make you analyze everything that is going in your frame. And this I think can make you a better photographer in the long run.  Where the opposite can make you a sloppy photographer.  It makes you a lot more intentional that is for sure.

Another way it will make you a better photographer is it will force you to learn your exposures.  Obviously, there is no chimping with film.  And to get the perfect negative that requires no time behind a computer requires the perfect exposure.  And if you stick with one ISO for even one full day, you’ll really get to learn really quickly the exposures in different lighting situations.

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2. What limitations does film have?

Some, but not many.  I still think digital is king in low light situations in terms of shooting in color.  Even if I can underexpose KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 up to 3 stops, it has to be the right light and that light is not always available nor is your subject going to always just be hanging out in that light.  But on the b/w side of things, KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X is incredible.  I’ve seen it pushed to 6400 iso and shot in the darkest of dank receptions and have amazing amazing results.  Other than the low light limitation in terms of color, its abilities outweigh the limitations.  The dynamic range is incredible along with color and most importantly, how images look straight out of camera when scanned by a good lab like the lab I use theFINDlab (http://thefindlab.com).

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3. How can I shoot film and not have it break the bank as digital costs me nothing?

I think the myth needs to be busted that shooting digitally does not “cost” you anything.  First, there is the initial cost of your DSLR, which as time has shown, is usually upgraded every year and some change.  Combine that with the depreciation of your “old” DSLR and you’ve got quite some costs accumulating.  Then there is the “cost” of the time of editing your images.  I don’t know many (any for that matter) that deliver clients images straight out of their camera.  Some time is needed to edit those images and as they say, time is money.  I honestly think that shooting film and shooting digitally the costs are the same.  Either I can shoot film and not have to sit behind a computer or I can “save money” and shoot digitally and then be stuck behind a computer.  Also, touching on the answer of question number 1, when you shoot film, you are not burning through thousands of exposures.  Less editing time and more keepers equals a lot of “money” saved.  Remember, time is money, no matter how you try to rationalize it.

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4. What is the best film stock to use in multiple lighting situations?

I have found KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 to be the best film for this.  I can effectively have an ISO of 50-3200, without having to change how I develop the roll.  That means I can overexpose up to 3 stops (I’ve even done up to 4 before) and under-expose up to 3 stops all on the same roll without having to pull/push the roll.  The Vision 3 technology in the new PORTRA 400 is absolutely incredible.  Now mind you, you can’t just underexpose PORTRA 400 by 3 stops and think it will look amazing.  You have to find the right light to be able to do this.  Meaning, when you shoot underexposed like this, you need to make sure that whatever you are shooting is lit or has some kind of luminosity to it.  You can’t shoot into a cave with no light and expect it to look ok.  However, if you have some dimly LIT subjects, try underexposing PORTRA 400 and be amazed by the results.

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5. I know you say FILM IS NOT DEAD but is it close?

No, not at all.  A good friend of mine, Mark Sperry, said something in regards to this recently.  Basically it has never been better for film shooters than it is today.  Even with all of our limitations.  We are missing a TON of different film stocks, camera makers, and labs that used to be around say 10-15 years ago are long gone.  But the ones we do have right now are the best of the best.  We have only a handful of film stocks to choose from but the abilities of said film (the new Kodak Portra line) stocks are amazing.  We only have a couple companies still making film cameras, but we have a HUGE surplus of cameras that people are no longer using and can be snatched up for pennies on the dollar.  And the labs that are open and thriving today (theFINDlab) are labs that are mostly run by film shooters and know how to scan color neg film.  It is a great time to be a film shooter that is for sure.  Arguably the best time.

Bonnie Marcus Holiday Card Collection

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The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year at the Bonnie Marcus Collection design studio!  All of the holiday card designs that we’ve worked so diligently on throughout the year are finally available to our customers!  I can hardly wait to see which are everyone’s “favorites!”  (Of course, they are ALL my favorites!)

bonnie-at-table

This year’s collection was inspired by my love of everything that sparkles!  When I launched my business 10 years ago, I hand-sparkled all of my invitation designs to make each one a special work of art. I am thrilled that the advanced print methods at the KODAK Picture Kiosks could replicate the beautiful texture of the glitter that we use in our designs. Your friends and family will love these new beautiful, festive, sparkling card designs!

Another trend that has inspired our new holiday collection is my love of chalkboard-style design, which makes one nostalgic for the simpler days, before email and smartphones were our primary methods of communication.  Our chalkboard-style holiday card designs are definitely some of my favorites!

trend cards

One of the questions I am frequently asked is “How do I make sure that my holiday card stands out from the crowd?”  (What they are really asking is “How do I make sure that my card ‘makes the mantle’?”)  Many families receive hundreds of holiday photo cards during the holiday season!

To make sure that yours stands out from the crowd, my suggestion is to start with a theme in mind – something that is special and unique to your family. What are your family’s passions or pastimes?  If it’s sports, I would suggest taking your family photo at a favorite stadium.  If it’s boating, consider taking your photo out on the water.  Choose something that is representative of you and your family…. and don’t forget to include the family pets as well!

sailboat card

Another tip is to make sure that you take lots of photos – both group photos and individual ones. With 3 little boys in our family, there is a high probability that one of the boys will be making a funny face in every group photo.  So…. to guarantee that you’ll be greeting card ready, make sure that you take individual shots of each family member as well as group photos, because you may opt for a card that has individual photos of each child, if the group photo didn’t turn out exactly how you had envisioned.

It may also be helpful to do a little advance research and choose a few designs that you love prior to even taking your photos.  Perhaps the card you love will set the tone for your photo shoot.  Whether your design style is modern, traditional, nostalgic, religious, or high-fashion, there are such a wide range of options available on the KODAK Picture Kiosk – I’m sure you’ll find one that is perfect for your family!

Designing our photo card is actually a “family activity” for my children.  They love helping to create the cards on the KODAK Photo Kiosks at our local Target.  The machines are very easy to use, and our favorite feature is that you can view your photos in color, black & white, and sepia tones, and then choose the one that looks best with your layout.  My kids love “designing” their own cards at the kiosks, and I love being able to have them print while we shop – instant gratification, no shipping charges, and one more thing off the “to do” list!

color effect cards

EXCITING NEWS!
I will be giving one lucky fan a fabulous exclusive Bonnie Marcus Collection tote bag filled with $100 worth of stylish goodies – from a fashionable iPhone case (4 or 5 avail.) to designer post-it notes, chic thank you notes, stylish stationery sets and more!  For a paper lover, this is truly a dream come true!  The winner will definitely have their stylish stationery needs satisfied in 2014 (and beyond).

To enter to win, head over to the Bonnie Marcus Collection Facebook page and look for the post about the sweepstakes. Leave a comment about your family’s most memorable holiday “Kodak Moment.”  One Bonnie Marcus Collection fan will be chosen at random.  Good luck!

UPDATE: The sweepstakes is over and the winner of the Kodak moments Holiday Gift Box is Montana Griffin!

Cheers to a joyous, meaningful holiday season!

All the best,
Bonnie
Owner, Bonnie Marcus Collection “where fashion meets paper®”

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