We’re excited to feature our top 9 images (images that had the most likes for 2016) from our Instagram account! Remember to hashtag #thefindlab in the caption or comments of your images we processed for the chance to get featured on our account. Now go follow these awesome photographers on IG!

Fuji 400H +1

Sweetlife Photography | Fuji 400H +1 | Contax 645

Joshua Kim | Portra 800 | Pentax67II

Alyssa Wallace | Portra 400 | Rollei

Paul Krol | Portra 400 | Contax G2

Winsome + Wright | Portra 400 | Contax 645

Kimberly Barnes | Fuji 400H | Mamiya 645 AFD

Laura Sponaugle | Portra 400 | Contax 645

Travis J Photography | Portra 800 | Mamiya 67 Proii

Justine Knight | Fuji 400H | Pentax 645n

   

When people hear that I shoot film on old cameras for all my family sessions I get a lotta raised eyebrows, mostly from digital shooters who come home from family sessions with hundreds, if not thousands of images. Let’s talk about the things peeps are thinking behind those sky-high brows and my top tips for successfully shooting families on film.

1. Stopping down isn’t gonna look hideous
Coming from a digital background, my first instinct with film was to shoot wide open alllll the time as much as humanly possible. My main concern was stopping down to f4 or 5…because let’s face it–portraits at f4 or 5.6 on a digital body look like pure garbage. Not so on a medium format camera! Lovely bokeh is easily achieved at f4 AND subjects are in focus! Stopping down to f4, especially when shooting manually, could save many a money shot. My rule of thumb: You’ve got two or more people who are on an even slightly different plane, f4 it is. Of course, for big group shots you’ll need to stop down even more, but the bottom line is to get unscared of numbers higher than 2.8.

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2. Don’t worry about “missing” the moment
The biggest fear I hear among photographers who balk at the fact that I shoot film for family work is that they’ll miss the shot. Kids move fast, and they are treasure troves of authenticity, fun, humor, and sweetness–so it makes sense that we would want to use gear that’s even faster than they are to truly capture all of those things. But. If you’re a digital family shooter you’ve had the experience of shooting an entire gigantic memory card of photos at a family session and delivering maybe 40-100 final images. What was going on with those hundreds and hundreds of rejects? Weren’t there “moments” happening?

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Film forces you to tell a selective story, instead of trying to capture it all and then piecing “the story” together after the fact. Film forces you to wait, to watch, and to find the one shot you want to take of a particular moment. Do I “miss” moments? Absolutely. Cuteness happens while I’m loading and unloading film every time. But letting go of the moments I’ll inevitably miss allows me to focus on the core of what I really want to say through my photos, instead of culling through images realizing that all I got was a bunch of fluff that was half-mindlessly shot and no meat. This means I’m directing more, not following kids around and waiting for them to give me what I want. This means more tricks, games, and yes, candy bribes, but it’s incredibly freeing to know what you want to say as a photographer and find ways to accomplish it instead of passively letting a shoot happen to you.

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3. I’m a slaaave…to the light
I shoot families in their homes, and the number one thing I’m looking for is great light. I’ve shot entire sessions scrunched up next to one window, and while I’ll admit that’s not ideal, the biggest tip for shooting families on film indoors is to let yourself be a slave to the light. I’ve moved furniture, cropped things out of backgrounds, shot on front porches and floors and through windows for the sole purpose of utilizing the available light. With digital you can get away with positioning a family away from a window, but with film, I’m snuggling them together next to the light source and side or front lighting the subjects when possible. Digital is so versatile that it runs the risk of making us lazy with light use, so if you’re not willing to choose light first over any other factor, shooting film in a family’s home might not be the best fit for you.

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To make the most of the glory of family and the beauty of film, the best thing you can do is get crystal clear on your vision of what you want to create during a family photo session. When you take the reins and make the magic happen instead of waiting for the stars to align, kids to listen and wind to die down, you’ll be free to make the photos your heart really longs to make.

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Brooke Schultz is hosting a workshop sponsored by the FIND Lab in southern california on November 5th! It’s one jam packed day focused on creating non-cheesy family photos that feel like you, with a slew of games, endlessly variable poses, and tips for dealing with nightmare situations like a boss while nurturing your creativity. Then, you’ll rewrite your entire website (yup!) with Brooke’s easy-to-follow recipe so your website attracts dream clients and makes it easy for them to hire you. The icing on this cake is 2 rolls of film and basic + processing from the lab, so go check out the details and reserve your spot here: http://brookeschultzphotography.com/heartful-a-family-photography-workshop-website-makeover/

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Spring is here and the weather is finally warming up! We’ve been seeing more and more film come through the lab as everyone is getting outside to shoot. Here are just a few of our favorite images from the month of March!

Wedding | Trish Barker | Portra 160 | Nikon F5

Black & White | Nicole Young | T-Max 400 | Nikon F100

Travel | Studio Finch | Portra 160 | Contax 645

Editorial | Whitney at Jessica Janae Photography | Portra 400 | Hasselblad500C

Landscape | Paul Krol | Portra 800 | Contax G2

Family | Amber Vongsamphanh | Kodak Gold 200 | Nikon F100

   

With all this talk about turnaround time, theFINDlab will still be honoring our seasonal changes. As of today, April 1st, Basic and Basic+ orders will be sent out in five business days instead of four. Our premium turnaround time will stay the same at seven business days.

What?? Why’s this, do you ask? Well, there’s a couple reasons, the first of which is to maintain our commitment of delivering consistent and quality images to you, ON TIME. This means we’ve dedicated ourselves to getting orders out on time, every time, with no guesses of when to expect your scans. Oftentimes this means orders are even sent out early. It’s the perfect way to manage client expectations, on our side and on yours.

We were remembering back to last summer to the first instance when turnaround times was a hot topic…but for much different reasons. It was taking some labs up to four weeks to get images out to clients. We noticed this and put in the hours and set our standards accordingly. It’s no fun to receive orders late in any way, but it sure is great when they come a day or two early.

It’s important to our team here at theFINDlab to deliver the best possible quality in the most reasonable time. And stay tuned for some exciting news about an update on our 1for1 film purchasing program. Have a great weekend!!

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Sara Johansen | Portra 400 | Minolta Maxxum 7000

   

When shooting indoors, we gravitate towards our only source of natural daylight, windows!  Shooting with window light is a great way to keep yourself shooting all year round, even during rainy weather. However, the way you position your subject can play a major role on the outcome of an image.

Wide Shot

The images below are shot using the same window. The image on the left is back lit, and the image on the right is side lit. Just a simple angle change will reflect a nice, even light on your subject, opening up the shadows on their face. When we move our subjects or camera angle instead of changing camera settings, we’ll get a more consistent look from image to image. It’s all about seeing how the light is going to fall.

Image 1

Another way of utilizing window light is by angling our subject straight on. This may seem contrary to the photographer who loves to shoot soft, diffused backlit light.  The image below to the left is window light reflecting onto our subject.  The image on the right is with the window behind her.  However, because the window is our only light source and is right behind our subject, the light will be interpreted on film much darker than if we were outside because you don’t have light coming from 360 degrees around your subject. When backlighting, our subject will naturally be darker, not to mention have warmer color reflections bouncing up onto their face. Instead we recommend turning your subject around to face the window, but position them far enough to get a nice even light. If your subject is too close to the window, you will have more intense light and really high contrast.  By turning the angle you’re shooting the reflection won’t be as warm and your shadows will open up.

Image 2

Everything is easier said then done, so we encourage you to go find some window light and practice!

photos by Heather Moore | Fuji 400H | Contax 645