I never thought I would be a film photographer- but I did learn photography in a high school darkroom class where we shot film (but didn’t we all?). A few years ago I started to experiment more with film and it was then that I realized that I really loved the results I got from shooting it. I also began to realize that a lot of photographers whose work I admired were shooting film. 

Shooting film has made me so much happier with my work, when I was purely shooting digital I always felt like something was “missing”. Film has helped to fill that gap for me- and now I can most certainly say that I love the work I produce as a Bay Area Family Photographer. Shooting film has taken the family photos that I shoot to the next level for me and it really has been a game-changer.

A little over a year ago I bought a Contax medium format camera (go big or go home, right?) and made the switch to being a film photographer. I’ve fallen in love with film and it has been one of the best decisions i’ve made for my business. So without further ado, below are 4 ways shooting film has changed my business! 

1. It has caused me to SLOW down when I shoot.. 

Now I really take the time to set my shot up, make sure it looks amazing, that the location is ideal, and make every click of that shutter count. Since I pay for literally every single shot I take I don’t want to waste any clicks on shots that I know aren’t going to make the final cut.

2.It has slowed down my editing process. 

I used to come home from a session or wedding and feel the need to go through the photos as soon as possible- cull them, and start to edit them. Now that I have to wait to ship my film, and get my film scans back from my lab, i’m waiting around a week and a half after my session to even go through my photos. That means less rush and stress for me, (but also more impatiently waiting too..)!

3.It has changed the way I shoot digital too. 

I’ve learned the art of that one good shot, and i’ve taken the concept of making every shot count to digital as well- I used to shoot anywhere from 1500-2500 images on a wedding day, now I aim to shoot less than 1000, but every shot is great, and there are few duplicates. For family sessions I usually only shoot around 60 images or so, and sometimes if the film has everything I need, I won’t even look at my digital backups! 

4. I spend less time editing and sitting in front of a screen. 

My lab (hey there Photovision) knows my preferences for scanning my film images, so when I get them back I spend very little time post processing them- usually I just make a few tweaks here and there and then send off to my clients! This is one of the biggest advantages for me: less photos taken + less time editing = more time to focus my energy on other things!


Rachel Howden Photography is a family photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in family, newborn, baby, motherhood, and maternity photography in the Bay Area. Including Livermore, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, San Jose, Fremont, and Pleasanton. 

These photos help you to have a little sneak peek into what you will receive if you have me as your family, newborn, maternity, or motherhood photographer in San Francisco. If you want to see a full gallery from a session please don’t hesitate to ask- i’d love to share one with you! Are you interested in booking a session or learning more about sessions with Rachel? Contact me HERE.

If you would like to know more about investment for sessions, head to THIS page.