Film Photography with Sam Elkins

Welcome to the enchanting world of film photography, where every click of the shutter captures a moment in time with a timeless beauty. In this blog, we delve into the artistry and passion of film photography, led by the renowned photographer, Sam Elkins. With his unique eye and expertise, Sam takes us on a journey through the intricacies of shooting with film. From the anticipation of waiting for the developed prints to the magic of experimenting with different film stocks and techniques, Sam shares his tips, tricks, and behind-the-scenes stories that will inspire and fuel your love for this nostalgic art form. So grab your favorite film camera and embark on a visual feast of analogue photography with Sam Elkins.

Film Photography with Sam Elkins


In the world of photography, there is a certain allure to shooting on film. Sam Elkins, a renowned photographer, has embraced this timeless medium and shares his passion for film photography. With a slower, more intentional approach, shooting on film allows photographers to fully immerse themselves in the process and capture moments with thoughtfulness and precision. In this article, we will delve into Sam Elkins’ perspective on film photography and explore some of the cameras and film stocks he uses.

The In-the-Moment Process

According to Sam Elkins, one of the main reasons he gravitates towards film photography is the immersive and in-the-moment process it offers. Unlike digital photography, where hundreds of shots can be taken in a matter of minutes, shooting film requires slowing down and considering each frame carefully. With film, every shot becomes a calculated decision, encouraging photographers to focus on capturing the perfect moment. This deliberate approach can lead to more meaningful and impactful photographs.

The Cameras

Sam Elkins prefers shooting with three different film cameras: the Pentax 67, Mamiya 7II, and Contax T2. The Pentax and Mamiya shoot medium format 6×7 film, which provides a larger sensor compared to the standard full-frame cameras. This increased resolution allows for incredibly detailed film scans. However, shooting medium format film can be more expensive and is typically reserved for specific purposes, such as portraits or large prints. On the other hand, the Contax T2, known as an everyday walking around camera, combines compactness with convenience. This camera handles various mechanical aspects, allowing photographers to focus solely on composition.

Film Stocks

When it comes to film stocks, Sam Elkins relies on popular choices like Kodak Portra 160, 400, and 800. The Portra series is favored for its forgiving nature, especially when it comes to exposure. This film stock is known to deliver accurate skin tones, making it an ideal choice for portraits. Sam emphasizes the importance of experimenting with different film stocks to find one that complements a photographer’s unique style and vision.

The Skillshare Connection

Sam Elkins highlights Skillshare as a valuable learning resource for photographers and filmmakers. With over 18,000 classes covering various topics like business, software skills, and creative techniques, Skillshare provides a platform to expand one’s knowledge and hone their craft. Sam recommends taking advantage of this opportunity to learn and grow as a photographer or filmmaker.

Affordability and Growth

While some of the cameras Sam Elkins uses may be on the expensive side, he reassures aspiring photographers that starting with a more budget-friendly setup is entirely possible. He, himself, began with an 80-dollar camera and gradually progressed from there. Film photography should be a journey of experimentation and growth, allowing photographers to evolve their skills and explore new perspectives. By testing different film stocks and pushing artistic boundaries, photographers can uncover their preferred style and produce captivating images.


Film photography, as embraced by Sam Elkins, offers a refreshing approach to capturing moments. By slowing down and carefully considering each shot, photographers can immerse themselves in the process and create meaningful images. With the right cameras and film stocks, photographers can unlock the potential of film photography. Whether a beginner or seasoned professional, the journey of film photography is filled with endless possibilities and artistic growth. So, grab a film camera, load it with your preferred film stock, and let your creativity unfold.

FAQ about Film Photography with Sam Elkins

1. What is film photography?

Film photography refers to the process of capturing images using traditional photographic film instead of digital methods. It involves using a camera that exposes light-sensitive film to create photographs.

2. Who is Sam Elkins?

Sam Elkins is a renowned photographer known for his expertise in film photography. He has gained popularity for his captivating and artistic film captures, especially in the genres of travel, adventure, and lifestyle photography.

3. What are the advantages of film photography?

Film photography offers unique advantages such as:

  • Authenticity: Film photographs have a distinct aesthetic and character that many photographers find appealing.
  • Unpredictability: Film often produces unexpected and surprising results, which can enhance the creativity and challenge the photographer’s skills.
  • Tactile Experience: Shooting on film provides a hands-on experience, from loading the film to developing and printing the photographs.

4. What equipment is needed for film photography?

To get started with film photography, you will need:

  • A Film Camera: Choose a camera that suits your style and preferences. There are various options available, including 35mm or medium format cameras.
  • Film: Purchase the appropriate type and format of film for your camera. Experiment with different films to achieve different looks.
  • Development and Scanning: You can choose to develop your film at home or send it to a professional lab. Scanning the negatives will allow you to view and edit the photos digitally.

5. How can I improve my film photography skills?

To enhance your film photography skills:

  • Practice: Shoot regularly to gain a better understanding of your camera, film, and how different lighting conditions affect your photos.
  • Study: Learn from renowned film photographers, like Sam Elkins, by studying their work and techniques.
  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, compositions, and film stocks to push your creative boundaries.
  • Join a Community: Engage with other film photographers through workshops, online forums, or local meet-ups to share knowledge and gain inspiration.

Remember, film photography is about personal expression and experimentation, so enjoy the process and embrace the uniqueness of each photograph.

I hope you find useful my article Film Photography with Sam Elkins, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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