Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Shooting Film. A Review

Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Shooting Film by Jonathan Canlas is good. It is not perfect. It will not teach you everything you ever wanted to know about film--it will likely create more questions. It will, however, teach you what questions to ask. It will pique your interest in shooting film, and it will help you build a rock-solid foundation in shooting film. Rock-solid.

It's written in Jon's voice. If I didn't know Jon personally, this writing style would probably bother me. A lot. That's the editor in me speaking (I got my editing degree before I became a photographer). The book is colloquial, for better or for worse. It was written that way intentionally, and it definitely sounds like Jon. He often speaks in clich├ęs and colloquialisms, so it is appropriate that the book be filled with them. Some may be off-put by the conversational tone, as it is less "textbook" or "professional" than most photography books. But this is no typical photography book. As I was reading, I could actually hear Jon's intonations, see his crazy facial expressions, and imagine his big, brown hands waving in the air. To that end, Jon, you've achieved your goal. Readers will get to know Jon Canlas in addition to learning how to shoot film. That's a bonus in my book.

From a technical standpoint, it cannot be argued that Jon knows his stuff. And he's sharing it with us! He explains the basic ins and outs of shooting film from why he does it, how he does it, and what he does it with; not only that, but he describes it in a way that is comprehensible to the newest of photographers. So anyone, yes, anyone, can get out there and shoot film!

Typographically speaking, there were some distractions. Not with the design, organization, or flow--it is neat, tidy, and visually appealing. But for me, the use of all caps is obnoxious and does not add positive emphasis, especially when it's used in that scripty title font. That breaks basic design rules. There were also some minor grammatical problems that could have easily been fixed with a quick run-through by a technical editor. But if those are the biggest flaws with the book, I say run with it.

Overall, I give this guide a solid 9.5/10. If you have any interest in shooting film, I highly recommend purchasing this guide. Yes, I get a coupla bucks if you buy it, but I'd be promoting it even if I weren't. This is quality I can stand behind. You won't regret it. You can buy it

Pick it up before February 23rd, when the price increases from $89 to $149! Remember, the first five people to purchase will get a couple rolls of my very favorite film (bw400CN) in 35mm in hand to get them started on their film journey!


On why I shoot film.

Film is not dead. There, I said it.

The digital photography world has exploded the last several years, and it's easy to get your hands on an top-of-the-line digital SLR and make high-quality photos. I still shoot digital. Sometimes it's just easier, and it is definitely cheaper than shooting film. But for me, it's also more frustrating. Yes, I can review my images instantly to check my exposures. I can upload them quickly to my computer and they are immediately accessible. There is a place for digital photography, to be sure. But it does not give me the joy that film does.

I learned photography on film. I learned proper exposure through study and practice, and each click cost me money. I got good at knowing my exposures, my film, my equipment, and how they all interacted with light to make my photographs sing. Then I got my first DSLR, and I got lazy. Frustrated that my images lacked the look of film, I returned to it after just two years of digital. Getting my scanned film back reminded me of the Christmas-like magic of watching my images appear in the darkroom. Finally reminded of the softness and light quality of film, I got re-hooked. I attended Jon's Film is Not Dead workshop back in 2009 and never looked back.

BW 400CN 35mm film

If you've been looking for a way to get back into film, or you're wanting to learn it but are nervous about how to go about it, look no further! Jon's gone and outdone himself yet again by writing a book. A film book. A book on everything you need to know to shoot film. And people, it's good. I've got it, and I am still devouring each page, looking for ways to refine my work and my vision.
A full review of the book will be up tomorrow, but I had to tell you about this amazing deal today! Until February 23rd, Jon is offering the book at the unreal price of $89. After that, the price goes up to $149, which is not as good, but still amazing.

Here's a link to purchase this bad boy. Full disclosure: I get a small percentage of each sale. Incentive to you: a coupla rolls of my all-time favorite film in your mailbox to get you (if you're one of the first 5 to purchase from the link above) started on your film journey. You won't regret it.

Now get out there and shoot some film!