A "not-so-lost-art" part two - Shooting Christmas portraits with film

February 02, 2015  •  2 Comments

Shooting Christmas portraits with film--

Two summers ago, I dug out my old 35mm camera and borrowed another one from my father-in-law to shoot with a bit of film. I wanted to re-embrace my start in this photographic journey and also test my skills without all the auto-features and an LCD screen. After shooting with one malfunctioning camera and a really old roll of black and white film, I wasn't super encouraged by my film test. My exposures were correct, and I really loved some of the photos I made (even though half of the frame was black). But having to pay for each individual click of the shutter can get costly if you're just taking the photos for fun. So I put the film away for a while.

In the fall, I got a second shooting job (assistant photographer) with Christianne Taylor, an incredibly talented wedding and commercial photographer who is from Houston but now lives and works mostly in Santa Barbara, CA. She came back to Houston to photograph a wedding and visit family, and I was blessed to get the job as her assistant upon recommendation from another Houston photographer. 

One thing that makes Christianne's work so unique is that she shoots a lot in film. She has a whole stash of old film cameras. During the wedding, she switched back and forth between digital and film. I bet she shot at least 15 rolls of 35mm on top of hundreds of digital exposures.

After watching her shoot with a little old 35mm she found on eBay and seeing the incredible work on her website, I was inspired to try my hand at film again. I felt like I needed a specific goal for shooting with the film, so I decided to shoot our Christmas portraits for our Christmas cards. I've tried to take our own Christmas portraits a few times in the past, and it didn't go so well. Obviously, it's a much better idea to hire a photographer, but the film project was more of a fun challenge for myself than anything.

This time I borrowed my Dad's Minolta x700. It was a pretty popular 35mm in it's day. This is the camera that he photographed my sister and I with when we were little, and it's also the camera that I used some in high school when I was photographing sports for the yearbook. Luckily this camera was in much better working condition than the one I used on the aforementioned somewhat-failed film test.

The week of the portraits, I picked out coordinating outfits for Roddy and myself, bought a couple of props and made sure I had plenty of film and batteries. The day of the session (aaaaahhhhh...insert majestic sound here) the weather and lighting were amazing! The skies were clear and the temperature was perfect! It was just cool enough that we could wear light winter clothing to better fit a Christmas-card look, but not too cold to be uncomfortable.

Since I'd previously been disappointed when trying to take our own Christmas portraits, I didn't set the bar super high. My plan was to have a good time, not get frustrated if things didn't go well, and to get enough photos to make a Christmas card. And I did it!! We had a great time taking the portraits, all of the equipment functioned properly and we both loved how the portraits turned out.

I hope you enjoy our 2014 Christmas portraits...uh...ahem...2015 New Year portraits ;)

And here are a few for a last laugh...



Sherry Piche(non-registered)
Love this! Thank you Nicki for sharing!
Mom in law(non-registered)
so creative and just adorable!!
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