Film Friday: Why We Still Shoot Film Photography by Nick & Emily

Today’s Film Friday blog post comes from Nick and Emily, a Grand Rapids based, husband and wife portrait and wedding photography team with a passion for love, marriage, and creativity.

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As Hybrid Wedding Photographers (that means we shoot both digitally and with traditional film, not that we drive a Prius), a question we get asked all the time is “Why are you still shooting film?”. It’s typically paired with other questions like “Is film photography still a thing?”, “Isn’t digital photography better” or “Do they even still make film”.

First of all, yes they still make film (Thank God!!). In fact today’s professional film is better than it ever has been. The fact that recent movies like Star Wars Force Awakens were shot on Kodak film is a testament to the capabilities and beauty of today’s film. So put it this way, we aren’t shooting the stuff your grandparents shot, however we may be using their camera.


The next question to come up is “is digital better than film” or vice versa. The simple answer to either way of asking this is… no. Just as one might prefer the crisp, clean sound of a digital song, another may prefer a classic vinyl record for its depth, tone and warmth. In the same way digital photography gives way to predictable, clean and precise results, while film brings in a warm beautiful imperfection that often times speaks to the romance of a scene.

With that being said, lets get into the nitty gritty of why we still choose to use film for so many occasions.


The Look

Like we mentioned above, much like the distinct crackle of a vinyl record, film brings a beautiful imperfection to the look and feel of our images. The gentle grain and soft organic colors of film truly add a dimension to our artwork that our couples have come to adore. Even when we are shooting digitally we try hard to recreate this look as best as possible in our editing, but there is still nothing quite like the real deal.

Our specific tone and colors come from our all time favorite film stocks from Kodak Alaris. We shoot exclusively with their professional PORTRA 160 & PORTRA 400 film stocks for our color work. We absolutely LOVE these film stocks!! They gives us the grain, color, tone and over all romance we look for in our photos. Our film fridge (yes we have a refrigerator dedicated entirely to film, thats how much we love it) is constantly stocked with these two films. If we were forced to shoot on just PORTRA 400 for the rest of eternity, we would be completely fine with that! In fact… hey Kodak Alaris, we are open to the idea of a sponsorship to make that happen 😉 😉 Lol

Film isn’t the only factor playing into our signature look. The various formats and sizes of cameras we shoot, as well as the lenses that are only available for these cameras, play a large roll in creating the images we are able to create. With so much of digital photography looking so similar and “sterile” these days, we use our unique gear to set us, and our artwork, apart from the rest of the photographic crowd. Everything from polaroid cameras that are almost 50 years old, to the classic all metal work horse cameras that were a staple in many of histories most beloved photographers camera bags. It all plays so perfectly into the romance and depth of our images.


The Experience

Film is slow and methodical. For this reason it works absolutely perfect with portraits and formal sessions! It gives way to intimate moments, allowing our couples to be more focused on each other rather than us as the photographers.

The whole process of slowing down, draws focus back to the moment at hand and makes for an intentional meaningful session. This can be done with digital photography as well, but on our end as photographers when you remove all the fancy settings, the lcd screen on the back of the camera, the various auto-focus modes and bring back the most basic simplistic functions of the camera it takes our focus off of the gear in hand and puts it on the beautiful moments at hand.


The Creativity

Like a brush in the hand of a painter, our cameras are our tools for us to create our artwork with. Fine art requires technique, vision and creativity and we find so much of this with the unique tools we have in our bag.

There’s a creative charge that comes with picking up a camera that is uncommon in itself. Each unique camera forces you to see the scene in front of you in a slightly different way. Composition, focus and limitations change between each camera, and in turn give us as the joys of creating images we may of otherwise not been inspired to or even able to create.


We still love our digital cameras, and use them when the time is right. But, we absolutely love film, and it is and will continue to be very much alive in our workflow and creative process. Most of all we love giving our Brides and Grooms uniquely crafted Fine Art that is not only timeless, but will inspire generations to come.

All film shots above were:

Father’s Day iPhone Giveaway with Bonnie Marcus

Check out the giveaway we are featuring on Instagram along with Bonnie Marcus. Enter for a chance to win an iPhone 6S and a personalized Bonnie Marcus Father’s Day To Do Checklist Notepad.

It’s easy to enter.

Enter for a chance to win an iPhone 6S and a Bonnie Marcus To Do Checklist Notepad and surprise Dad this Father’s Day!


1. Follow @kodakmomentsapp and @bonniemarcus

2. Like the giveaway post

3. Share with a friend by tagging one person in a comment on the giveaway post

4. You are entered for a chance to win!


FATHER’S DAY Sweepstakes Rules

These rules govern the Father’s Day Sweepstakes being conducted by Kodak Alaris Inc. (together with its affiliates, “Kodak Alaris”).

  1. How to Enter. You will be entered in the sweepstakes automatically if you (i) follow @kodakmomentsapp and @bonniemarcus on Instagram, (ii) like the post on each of accounts announcing the sweepstakes, and (iii) tag at least one of your friends on one of the posts announcing the sweepstakes. You may also enter the sweepstakes by sending a postcard with your name, e-mail address and employer’s name and business address to the following address: Kodak Alaris Inc., 2400 Mt. Read Blvd., Mail Stop 03024, Attn: Social Media Manager, Rochester, NY 14615.  No purchase is necessary to enter or win, and any purchase will not affect your odds of winning.  All valid entries registered or received by Kodak Alaris by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on June 19, 2016 (the “Entry Deadline”) will be eligible for a drawing to win the Grand Prize.  Kodak Alaris assumes no responsibility for late, lost, damaged, misidentified or misdirected entries.
  2. Eligibility. Eligibility is limited to persons at least twenty-one (21) years of age who are legal residents of the United States or its territories and possessions.  Limit one (1) entry per person.  Multiple entries will be disqualified.  The sweepstakes is void where prohibited or restricted by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.  Employees (and their immediate families and household members) of Kodak Alaris or its affiliates or advertising and promotion agencies and paid subscribers are not eligible.  Any person who was awarded a prize or received other promotional consideration from Kodak Alaris within six (6) months prior to the Entry Deadline is also not eligible.
  3. Grand Prize. All prizes are subject to availability.  The Grand Prize is one (1) iPhone 6S approximate retail value $650, and one (1) Bonnie Marcus notepad, approximate retail value $20, or a substitute prize (or prizes) of comparable value. All taxes on the Grand Prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.
  4. Random Drawing. One (1) Grand Prize winner will be selected by random drawing, to take place on or about June 20, 2016, from all eligible entries received on prior to the Entry Deadline. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  5. Conditions of Participation. Participants agree to be bound by these rules and all decisions of Kodak Alaris’s sweepstakes manager, whose decisions will be final. All entries become the property of Kodak Alaris and will not be acknowledged or returned. Kodak Alaris reserves the right to use any and all information related to the sweepstakes, including all entries, for editorial, marketing and any other purpose, unless prohibited by law.   The information you are providing for the sweepstakes is being provided to Kodak Alaris and will be used to notify you if you have won, to inform you about special offers from Kodak Alaris and our trusted partners, and for other business purposes.  Kodak Alaris shall not be responsible for registration errors or for lost, late or misdirected mail (including e-mail), or telecommunication or computer hardware or software failures.  If, for any reason, the fairness or integrity of the sweepstakes becomes compromised, or the sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort, Kodak Alaris reserves the right to terminate or modify the sweepstakes, and to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process or the administration of the sweepstakes or otherwise violates these rules.
  6. Grand Prize Notification. Upon drawing, the Grand Prize winner will be notified by e-mail or direct message on Instagram within seventy-two (72) hours of the Entry Deadline. The Grand Prize must be claimed within thirty (30) days of first attempted notification or will be forfeited. The Grand Prize winner must provide all information required for tax reporting in order to claim the Grand Prize.  Kodak Alaris makes no warranties with regard to the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize is not transferable and the winner has no right of substitution (in cash or otherwise).  Kodak Alaris reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event of unavailability. You hereby agree to release Kodak Alaris from any liability resulting from, or related to, participation in the sweepstakes.
  7. Announcement of Winner. By registering or submitting an entry, participants grant to Kodak Alaris, its agents and others working on their behalf the right to use the winner’s name for advertising and marketing purposes, without additional compensation, unless otherwise prohibited by law. The name of the Grand Prize winner will be posted for sixty (60) days after the date of the drawing at
  8. Tax Reporting. Unless the Grand Prize is forfeited, the Grand Prize winner will be required to submit an IRS Form 1099 for the total value of the prize when filing taxes for the year.  Kodak Alaris will provide IRS-1099 forms to the Grand Prize winner prior to January 31 of the next year.
  9. Social Media Platforms. By participating in the sweepstakes, you acknowledge that the sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with the various social media platforms used to administer the sweepstakes, and release said platforms from any and all liability arising from or related to the sweepstakes.

Film Is Not Dead. Why I Shoot Film in 2016!

Today’s Film Friday post comes from Jonathan Canlas .

Why film in 2016? It seems every quarter companies are coming out with bigger and better digital cameras that leave the technology of film in the dust. There are even presets that can replicate the look of film to the point that I can’t tell which is which when compared side to side! Also, if you look at the film stock offerings in 2016, it is pretty slim pickings compared to say a decade ago, or even 2 years ago. So you might ask yourself why would one choose to shoot film in 2016 or like me, shoot 100% film like myself?

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Two words: The experience. There is a magic found in shooting film that is uniquely its own.

Nothing slows you down more and causes you to think about exactly what is going to be in your frame than the idea that every time you hit the shutter it is going to cost you money. This may be seen as a limitation to some but personally I find it the most freeing. When I hit the shutter on my camera, it challenges me to make sure I’ve got it right the first time. I need to carefully think about everything in my frame – the lighting, the subject matter, and the story being told. I’m never taking a countless number of photos of one thing.  And, because of choice number of frames, shooting film doesn’t force me to sit later in the editing chair-of-death for hours trying to figure out which one is the best even though they all look the same.

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Shooting film really forces you to think about what you are doing.  Having only really shot film my whole career, I’m not sure I could ever take 5000+ photos at an event unless I literally was not thinking. Call me simple minded, but I don’t have 5000+ ideas, let alone 5000+ good ideas in any given day. So taking that many photos would literally equate to pushing a button without thinking. I find the more I think about what it is that I am going to photograph, the better my photos are versus the “off the hip” random shots or those taken without thinking (on digital). It would be quite a feat if someone invented an SD card that charged you for every actuation. Gone would be the spray and pray mentality and the hours spent behind a computer editing/culling. In exchange, you gain all those hours/days/weeks and this time could be turned into simply anything you wanted.  

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No one who fell in love with art of photography did it with the idea of constantly sitting behind a computer. Yes, we must learn to edit and cull our own work but there is a certain magic found being behind a camera and creating/capturing moments/things/people. This magic, or the fire and drive to create images, I feel, is being snuffed out by the editing chair-of-death. How? The thought of sitting behind a computer causes people to choose to NOT bring their camera with them when they walk out the door.  The thought of picking up said camera makes them cringe – because it only requires more time in said chair-of-death. I have seen that spark of excitement rekindled countless times when photographers put film back in their hands.

When teamed with the right lab, you literally pass that time in a chair onto people whose sole job is to keep you out of it.  They know your preferences, they know your color, they know your contrast and density levels, they are literally your own editing team.  Shooting film and trusting the right lab gives you your life back.  That desire to go out and create grows bigger and bigger with each batch of film back from the lab.

I’ve found that one of the greatest things about shooting film is that regardless of the statement of “everything has been done before” in terms of photography, there is always room for learning, even if it is through mistakes. In the last year alone, I’ve found new ways to expose/develop Kodak Professional Ektar100 Film (rated and metered at a true 400 iso then pushed 2 stops in development) and Kodak Professional Portra 800 Film (rated at 400, metered for the shadows, then pushed 1 stop in the development for extra contrast and pop of color) to achieve a look that I have not been previously been able to achieve. Both methods were actually experiments where I thought the results I’d get were a completely different look from the one I achieved. I’ve been shooting film for almost 20 years and the thought that there is still a ton of room to learn makes it very exciting. I can’t wait to see what I will find.

Capturing images on film is nothing short of magic from the actual act of being limited to 12 to 36 exposures, to exposing celluloid to light and creating a latent image. And, there is something to be said about creating something that is not made of 1’s and 0’s. I’m no doomsday person, but I often get cold sweats thinking about when my hard drives will inevitably go out on me.  I take a lot of comfort in the fact that even as technology changes (how long will flash drives be around until the next new thing comes out?), the over 100-year technology of printing from a negative will continue for decades to come.

Have you lost the capture magic or spark when shooting? Take up your film camera, load up some Kodak Professional film and see how shooting film might change your life. Also, make sure you stop by to hear my presentation “Shooting Film in 2016” at WPPI in the Kodak Alaris booth #1235 on March 7 at 10:30 AM!

On March 1st, I’m releasing FIND in a BOX ( which is the online version of the workshop FILM IS NOT DEAD available on your computer or smart device. For more information, please visit

Jonathan Canlas

Move with your memories! Make your college transition crafty with the new KODAK MOMENTS App

From Summer 2015 intern: Laura Meyers

As the summer winds down the realization that I need to begin preparing to head back to St. Bonaventure University has set in. The summers in between college years can be a difficult time, especially for someone who loves a steady routine like myself. It’s hard to adjust to a completely different lifestyle for a few short months, only to have to move back to your college dormitory or apartment in the fall.

My summer months seemed even more exciting this year than in the past. They were full of concerts, lake days, camping trips and weddings. Having such an eventful time made it that much harder to pack up my shorts and tank tops and begin looking at textbooks online.

Bringing a little piece of home back to college with me has always made the transition easier. I’ve done my best to document my summer fun with photos of my friends and family. However, I always tend to end up with an iPhone camera roll containing 1,000+ pictures, but never actually doing anything with those memories.

Instead of keeping these summer photos trapped in my phone, I decided to use the new KODAK MOMENTS App to bring them to life. I wanted to be able to easily create something to put in my bedroom at school to keep my Rochester friends and family close with me while I’m away.

Simple prints really never go out of style. They add décor to any college bedroom while simultaneously showing off the most important people in your life. I was able to order prints of my summer memories in seconds right from my phone with the KODAK MOMENTS App.

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As sad as it is to say goodbye to the summer, it’s also exciting to see my college friends again. I especially miss my roommates while I’m home, so I wanted to make them a little welcome back present for our house. We aren’t the most creative of girls and we often joke about the lack of decoration in our home. I knew they would love something to spice up our living room and I knew the KODAK MOMENTS App would help make this possible.

Once again, it was incredibly easy to order prints for my project from my phone and I was able to edit my photos right in the app. I’m not a professional photographer by any means, so many of my photos needed to be cropped or have red-eye removed. The new app made this a simple step in the process.

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After selecting my photos and completing my edits, I was even able to use the app to  immediately choose the closest location to pick up my prints!

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Once I had my prints I decided to check out the Kodak Tips & Projects Center for some inspiration. There are so many interesting project ideas to choose from, and they don’t involve a lot of time and effort to complete (even for an uncreative soul like myself).

After looking through hundreds of awesome projects, I found one that seemed perfect to bring back to school with me. I chose to print out a large poster size image of my college house and place it in an old frame. From there I used wire to hang the prints of my roommates over the image of my home. I love this project because it allows me to update the photos easily by swapping them out with new ones my roommates and I take throughout the year.


This process wasn’t time-consuming or expensive at all, and it ended up turning out exactly how I wanted it to!

I can’t wait to show my housemates how crafty I can be, and I know they’ll love the new décor. I’m also excited to hang up the photos I printed of my family and friends from this summer. I’m so glad I was able to use the new KODAK MOMENTS App to make my transition back to college easier and more fun.

You can download KODAK MOMENTS App for iOS or Android.

So Much More Than Survival: Achieving Sustainability in Professional Photography

Guest blog post from Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP

I love the art and business of photography.

Photography was and still is “magical”. Running a business was, is and always will be a challenge. The rewards are both personal and professional, and often extraordinary for those who are serious and diligent.

The digital revolution took its toll on many of us and many studios could not survive because they didn’t adapt quickly enough. I began experimenting with digital a full decade before it really hit our profession even though I was told that digital would never be good enough for anything serious. It was so expensive! Because I wanted my business to have a future, I was willing to work, experiment and invest. Still, there are things I don’t love about digital, but it is the language of our industry, and for the most part, we must accept it.


I say this as a film lover – understanding that many reading this may have never known the excitement and wonder of what can be created on film.

If you’re in Photography now, you’re likely shooting digital and 97% likely to be using a lab to print your orders. This has been one of the industry’s biggest changes and challenges in the last twenty years.

While most don’t print themselves, it’s imperative that the digital photographer understand profiles, color space, and the importance of calibration to produce a decent file for the lab to print. Serious photographers need to stay current with the latest techniques for shooting and handling image files so that we get the best images possible from digital capture. ‘

I’ve been a Kodak Mentor for more than twenty-five years and I’ve witnessed the positive effect that companies who train and educate can have. Largely speaking, our vendors want you to succeed and Kodak Alaris is providing products and software systems that help you get the most for your clients and from your lab. Take advantage of the support they have to offer.

Being the photographer is just one of the hats you wear. If you own your business, a lot more responsibility comes your way and good business practices and policies are just the start. You’ll need to work towards mastering sales and marketing too, another necessary cog in the machine. You’ll need to be the visionary for your company, bringing in new products and services, motivating clients and employees.

I’ve always felt there is a balance between what needs to be done now, and what I want to do next. Everyone’s list is different, but real growth comes from the extra hours you put in proof of the passion that you have for your craft. I hope that if your camera work needs improving, or your retouching skills need work, you’ll put that ahead of buying new studio lights. If your studio lighting or posing could be better, you won’t jump into digital painting just yet. I also hope that you go above and beyond for your clients, always bringing them your very best work. Bring new services and products forward once they are fully tested – once you’ve proven that they work – and when you have your pricing, delivery, and all your other ducks in a row. It’s good for you and good for our industry.

This is a fantastic business, as individual and unique as you want it to be. Take the time to develop as an artist and as a businessperson. Change is constant, adaptability is a must and enthusiasm is the fuel! Photography is equal parts art and science and disregarding either is a mistake.

As a Professional Photographer, I’m always looking for new ideas, things to get excited about, and that’s why I’ve started producing large format film portraits again. This format challenges me, and revisiting film, large format film in particular reminds me why I’m in this business. Learning and growing helps sharpen my skills so I can continue to offer new and fresh ideas to my clients.

In fact, I’d love to get your feedback, meet you and talk about the future of film and digital capture. I’ll be making a special appearance at PPA’s ImagingUSA 2015 in Nashville, and Amherst Publishing will be releasing my new book on B&W portraiture there. I’ll also be sharing ideas from my new book at the Kodak Alaris booth #726.

This is an invitation. Come on by – Kodak Alaris #726.

– Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP


Tori Johnson: DIY Kid’s Magnetic Educational Photo Board

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As a mom of a rambunctious two-year-old I am constantly on the lookout for do-it-yourself ideas that are fun, affordable and educational. When I saw this idea on Pinterest I thought it was the perfect DIY to try out and I immediately had a cool idea on how to make it even better…use PICTURES instead of flashcards! Another bonus, you can do this entire DIY for approximately $30! Can’t beat that!

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  • Variety of Kodak photos
  • Oil Drip Pan (purchase at any auto supply store for approx. $10)
  • (1)  8x11in dry erase magnetic sheet
  • Variety of magnetic photo holders
  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Dry Erase Marker

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 First, I decided what the “categories” were that I wanted to feature on the board. I knew that these would change as my son got older so I decided to go with a magnetic dry erase sheet so that I could easily make adjustments. I then just cut it in to strips to use at my category names.

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After I decided my categories I found some pictures on the Internet and ones that I had taken as well that fit in to my categories. I then dropped them on to a USB and took them to my local Kodak Kiosk which is right down the street at CVS. Within minutes I had all my pictures printed out. What is so great about using pictures is it is much easier for a toddler to understand what you are asking them is in the photo because they are true-to-life unlike cartoons that you see on flashcards. Additionally, you can make basically any category you want vs. being confined to what is available on a flashcard.

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Then you just slide the photos in to their magnetic holders so they are protected from little grubby toddler hands.

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That’s all it takes! Now ask your toddler all sorts of questions to drive their development! Some questions that I ask my son are, “Which photo is a cow?” “How does a pig go?” “Point to the color green.” Among many others! You can also use your extra magnets to hang photos of your family on the board as well!

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 Tori Johnson writes about fashion, mommyhood and everything else in between on her blog The sTORIbook ( You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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ESSENCE Festival™ Photo Booth Powered by Kodak

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The ESSENCE Festival™ kicks off starting on the Fourth of July running unti Sunday, July 7 in New Orleans. Kodak will be adding to the fun at the Festival by powering a photo book where guests can get a photo on an ESSENCE cover or with other cool backgrounds.

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Look for the ESSENCE Festival™ Photo Booth Powered by Kodak  in the Fan Zone and other high-traffic locations in the Convention Center as well as Woldenberg Park during Family Reunion Day and the Superdome for each night of concerts. Photos are $20 each.

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