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Film Is Not Dead (FIND) Workshop Review

This is a slightly different Film Fridays post, with a review of a film photography workshop I recently took accompanying some film shots below.

As a wedding photographer, there are a million workshops out there geared towards helping me build my business. I have been hesitant to sign up for every great-sounding one that came along because I was carefully planning the best way to maximize my resources.  I know workshops aren’t magic bullets for instant success, but I was waiting for the perfect one that would include photographers I respected, cover a variety of business topics, and point me in the direction I wanted to go.

I have been shooting film on my own for five years. I started with a 35mm, then added toy cameras, and just recently added a Mamiya medium format to my collection. When it comes to film, I’m an enthusiast but not an expert. I always liked what I saw but was not always sure of how I got there, or how to improve beyond the basic but essential “shoot more.” I started following Jonathan Canlas’ work a few years ago, and devoured his guide to shooting film when it came out. So when FIND Los Angeles was announced, I knew this was the exact workshop I had been waiting for.

The FIND (Film Is Not Dead) workshop not only met but exceeded my expectations. Jon was warm and welcoming and the other attendees all jumped in getting friendly with each other immediately. The workshop was three days long and structured with critiques and Jon’s lectures in the mornings, and then photographing couples, families, and personal work on each afternoon. Throughout the three days of the FIND workshop, Jon demystified shooting with different film stocks and different ways of metering for the best results. The hands-on feedback while shooting couples and families was invaluable towards slowing down to be more intentional with posing and composition. The critiques and business advice were invaluable for helping me be more purposeful with what I offer and why, and how to make that work best for my clients and myself. The personal shooting on the third day was invaluable for getting the confidence to approach strangers with ease and getting more chances to shoot the world (or a small part of it) my own way.

I still have a way to go before I would be all-film photographer, though I am beyond thrilled with many of the images I was able to capture during FIND LA. And I have a way to go towards getting clearer on my own creative voice in my personal work, figuring out what I want to say and how to best say it. But I know the lessons I learned, the people I met, and the ideas that were inspired by Jon and the rest of the FIND workshop will be integral as I move closer to those ideals.

Here are a few of my favorite images of Jon behind the scenes, the other awesome attendees, and the lovely models. Many, many more film images from these shoots will be coming up in the next few weeks. If you have any questions about attending a FIND workshop, please feel free to contact me and I’ll happily elaborate on my ringing endorsement!

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